The Donner party was a group of 19th century American settlers heading west to California. The party left Springfield, Illinois, in April 1846 led by two brothers, Jacob and George Donner. The settlers followed the California Trail to Fort Bridger, Wyoming. From there, they left the trail to take an uncertain, but reportedly shorter, route to California. There was much hardship and suffering on this route. They wasted 18 precious days. On October 28, heavy snows trapped the settlers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They were reduced to cannibalism to survive. Only 45 of the original 89 settlers reached California the following year.