THE HISTORY OF THE OREGON TRAIL AND THE PONY EXPRESS DVD
2 PROGAMS ON 1 DVD!
Breathtaking photography, live re-enactments, illustrated maps and rare photographs make these award-winning historical adventures come to life and ones that will entertain and educate all age groups for many years to come.
THE OREGON TRAIL –
The reasons for going…the hauntingly beautiful landscape…the rivers they followed and crossed…the joys and hardships…and the elation and the dissension as described in immigrants diaries…all come to life in this detailed account of Americas longest and most famous trail.
Approx. 35 Minutes
THE PONY EXPRESS –
Glossed over by all of the adventure and romance attached to it, most people dont realize the Pony Express lasted only 19 months. It was a grand gamble that eventually led to the bankruptcy of the three men who started it. Yet, during its brief life span it caught the attention of Americans, made a legend of the riders and provided a vital link between California and the Northern states at the onset of the Civil War.
Approx. 16 Minutes
KVFD-109 © 2009 Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc. A Kaw Valley Films Production ISBN 978-1-9636134-07-6 UPC 894190001899
Subject Areas: U.S. History, U.S. Geography Grade Level: 4th Grade through Adult
Brief Summary The Oregon Trail: a 2,000 mile path through prairie, desert, and rugged mountains, from the jumping-off places on the Missouri River, Independence, Westport, Weston, St. Joseph, and Council bluffs; to the Valley of Willamette River in Oregon. During its 50 to 60 year life span more than 300,000 emigrants traveled the trail, and 90% of them made it!
Beginning with the first wagons in the 1830’s to the formation of the U.S. Territorial government in 1848, the Oregon Trail was a vital link to the west. It was the first wagon road to span the continent. Fur trappers were followed by missionaries. Sod busters came in larger numbers. The Mormons in 1947 were followed by the gold seekers in 1949. After the transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869 the trail was used sparingly until about 1900.
In the beautiful and awesome scenery of the Oregon Trail, this film travels the route of the 19th Century emigrants.
Discussion Questions 1. What are the reasons the emigrants moved west? 2. What is significant about the names people gave to landmarks and points of interest along the trail? How many of these places exist today? 3. Define “Manifest Destiny”. Who used it and why? 4. How was the buffalo important to the emigrants and to the American Indians? 5. How were members of a wagon train dependent upon each other? How were leaders on some of the early wagon trains selected?
Suggestions for Enrichment Before Viewing: 1. Divide students into groups of three. Have each group mark on a raised relief map a possible trail from Missouri to Oregon. 2. Ask each group to role play an 1841 family group and discuss: a. Pro’s and con’s of “going west”. b. What belongings to take, how to outfit, sign-up with a wagon train, when to pack, etc.
After viewing: 1. Have the students compare their routes with the actual route. 2. Have the students choose a landmark on the trail and write a diary excerpt. Some of the following might be included: weather, travel conditions, hardships, feelings and hopes they are experiencing, games and social activities, rumors and gossip.
Research Questions 1. Who said “Fifty-four Forty or Fight”? Why did they say it? What did it mean? 2. What types of “emigration companies or societies” were formed? 3. Obtain some diaries written along the trail. Get the earliest copy possible. 4. Make a short biographical sketch on the following: Jim Bridger John McLaughlin Jesse Applegate Kit Carson John Fremont Thomas Hart Benton Steven Kearney Brigham Young Francis Parkman Narcissa Whitman Hudson’s Bay Company Father Pierre-Jean Desmet 5. Trace the relationship between the pioneers and the Indians from the beginning to the end of the trail, chronologically and geographically.