In the fall of 1849 a mighty wagon train set off from the Utah territory for the gold fields of California.
A risky shortcut led them deep into an unknown American desert. A “cursed hole,” “desolation beyond conception.” The doomed fortune seekers would soon name it “Death Valley.”
No water.  No food.  No way out.   Two men volunteered to find an escape route, get help, and rescue the marooned group before they starved to death.
This is the story of how the cruelest of overland journeys came to define American heroism.