The Donner Party Story. The Donner Party (also known as the Donner–Reed Party) were a group of American settlers who in 1846 migrated by wagon from the Midwest to what was then the Mexican province of California. Delayed by a series of mishaps, they reached the Sierra Nevada by November, but became trapped by heavy snowfall near what are now Donner Lake and the town of Truckee, CA. Their food supplies quickly ran dangerously low, and in mid-December some of the group set out on foot to obtain help, but the first relief party did not arrive until the middle of February. Despite the arrival of some supplies, most of the party members remained stranded throughout the winter and the last survivor was not rescued until April. Of the 87 members of the party, only 48 survived. Their story became one of the most spectacular tragedies in the history of America's westward migration, both then and till this day, in large part because of evidence that members of the group resorted to cannibalism in their attempts to survive. The Donner Party story is commemorated at Donner Memorial State Park, located at the site of some of the Party's makeshift cabins used during the ordeal.