Knowing that time was now critical, they made a swift dash across Nevada, but with no rest the stock could not make the pull over the Sierras before early snows blocked the high passes in late October. Of the eighty-two, forty-seven survived the starvation and cannabalism to be rescued by parties coming east from Sutter's Fort in February and March, 1847. Thirty-five perished in the snow and cold of the Sierra Nevadas, while five died before they reached the mountains. Two Indians also lost their lives in the rescue attempts. The Donner Party's fate insured that the Hastings cutoff would not be used by later wagon trains. However the trail they cut through the Wasatch Mountains was the main road into Utah for a decade.
See: Charles F. McGlashan, History of the Donner Party, (1907, 1947); George R. Stewart, Ordeal by Hunger: Story of the Donner Party, (1960); and The California Trail, (1962).