Previous to our arrival in the waters of San Francisco, a frightful incident transpired amidst the California mountains, which goes far to surpass an event of the kind heard or seen…it relates to a party of emigrants, whose shocking inhuman cannibalisms and seeings exceed all belief…the number of emigrants were originally eighty; through a culpable combination of ignorance and folly, they loitered many weeks on the route, when upon gaining the sierra, the snows set in, the trails became blocked up and impassable, and they were obliged to encamp for the winter…hunger came upon them, gaunt and terrible, station at last – men, women, and children starved to death, and were eaten by their fellow men, insanity followed.
“Unfortunate Emigrants”: Names of the Donner Party, Logan: Utah State University Press, 1996, pp. 134-135.
What roles to ethics and morals play when you are fighting for your life? How do you judge the Donner Party?