The Donner Party is mostly myth. There was an excellent story in the New Yorker recently (I think April) about how hard the Donner party tried not to revert to cannabalism. I tried to get you a link but they want money. The animals were totally eaten first-- the oxen, the cows, the horses, the dogs. They were also hunting and ate wild game when it could be found. Bones found at the site by anthropologists were only crushed slivers which had been mechanically ground and boiled over and over to get anything out of them, and of all the genetic material recovered, none was human-- They consider this form of mechanical re-using of waste material a proof of the level of desparation. Someone might have resorted to canibalism, but it was not the majority of the survivors, and the majority of the "survivors" in the camp were children, by the way-- they were large families and the men left to get help. They ate bark, pine needles and anything else they could find-- This is also about half a year's time, not a few weeks. Also, the person who wrote the book, a journalist of the Tabloid variety that this information came from got the information from a woman who was desparately in need of money, and who was all of three years old when the actual event happened. Even her sisters who were older, denied her claims-- she even apologised many years later, I believe-- And yet the lurid details are far more interesting than finding out how these brave people actually did survive. Folks, it wasn't a bunch of cannibals with their teeth filed down, belching. The parents were terrified their kids would not survive-- that's all-- now, so here is a better question: if you had small children in a survival situation, would you let them die rather than eat meat? These were people who would give up their seat on the lifeboat to save their children-- and they did.