The action takes place at Sutter's Fort, in northern California, in 1847. Lewis Keseberg, a German emigrant and survivor of the tragic Donner Party expedition, has brought a suit for slander against several other survivors, who have accused him of being a grave robber and murderer. As the trial testimony proceeds the awful facts of the expedition's demise are revealed—the heavy snows which trapped them in the mountains; the starvation and death of women and children; the desperation which drove the few survivors to cannibalize the corpses of the dead. Keseberg does not deny the horror of what occurred, or the madness which made him a party to it, but he cannot live with the accusation that he deliberately killed for food and that he robbed the graves of the deceased. Ultimately he wins his case, but not before it is made eloquently clear that all involved will be burdened until the end of their lives with the terrible, numbing anguish of what they went through.
A riveting courtroom drama drawn from the harrowing saga of the ill-fated Donner Party, some of whose members perished (and were cannibalized by the others) while snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Presented to great critical and popular acclaim by New York's noted Hudson Guild Theatre. "…a powerful piece of theater." —NY Post. "Polsky has written powerful dramatic scenes of confrontation…" —The Hollywood Reporter. "…an undeniable dramatic fascination." —NY Times.