This is the true story of twelve-year-old Virginia Reed, who, along with her family, faced and survived incredible hardships on an overland journey to California.
In the spring of 1846, the Reed and Donner families left Springfield, Illinois, traveling by ox-drawn wagon. Along the way, they joined with other caravans bound for Oregon and California and were midway through their journey when they learned of another route; a shorter, better route, they were told. But what they were told wasn’t exactly the truth.
After much discussion, most of the wagons went on, keeping to the old, established road. Twenty wagons, including the Reed and Donner wagons, turned off onto the new road. Almost from the beginning they ran into trouble. First they literally had to chop their way through a densely forested range of mountains. Then they crossed a desert where many oxen and several wagons were lost, and as they traveled, summer slipped away into fall. It was late October when they began climbing the last obstacle before them—the high Sierra Mountains. Winter had set in early in the Sierras that year and soon deep snow made further travel impossible.
Exhausted, frightened, and discouraged, they erected crude shelters and spent the winter in the mountains. This story chronicles the events as they happened.
Only the dialogue has been invented. This is a girls’ true-adventure story of survival against the forces of Nature. The author’s research led her along the trail of the Reeds and Donners from Springfield, Illinois, to the monument erected in their memory in the Sierras, and on into California.