Oregon Trail [1945]

Genre: Western
Why did a half-million Americans walk from Missouri to Oregon? Were they escaping malaria? Seizing land from the British? Seeking out a better life? Classroom-friendly, The Oregon Trail is an easy-to-digest introduction to this historic route, to those who blazed and followed it, and to its pivotal impact on the shape of North America. Although the two-hour series is inefficiently divided between four separate cassettes, each half-hour program is conveniently divided into short two- to four-minute chapters, each focusing on a specific aspect of the journey, perfect for fourth- to eighth-grade classroom viewing and discussion. Excerpts from men and women's diaries, archival photos, and reenactments help the viewer feel what life must have been like on the trail, capturing the fear, heartbreak, and breathtaking sights early pioneers experienced. The videos dispel myths of Native American violence, explaining that the Cheyenne and Pawnee people were far more likely to offer assistance or trade with the pioneers than to attack them. The series avoids in-depth discussion of politics or placing the trail in a larger historical context, focusing instead on the elements that will be most interesting to students: Did more pioneers die from gunshot wounds or being run over by wagon wheels? Why were oxen better than horses? Why did kids walk instead of ride in the wagons? For anyone curious about what life was like on the Oregon Trail, this is a great, easy-to-follow introduction. --Tara Chace

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"Oregon Trail Quotes." Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 22 Dec. 2014. <http://www.quotes.net/movies/Oregon Trail>.

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