It Happened on the Oregon Trail - 20 specific chapter questions:

  1. Do you think the experience of the young sentry shooting and killing his father affected the prejudicial views that the caravan had towards the Indians? The young man himself? How so? 
    CH. 28 “Clouded Vision” 
    p. 149
  2. Though Elizabeth Simpson Haigh Bradshaw’s intentions were pure, was she reckless to take her five children on a transatlantic sea voyage as well as a 1,300-mile trek in a foreign country as a single mother? What was her motivation to do so? 
    CH. 24 “Push Me, Pull Me”  
  3. What would be more difficult for you personally, to be on Tate’s jury, or to see that Tate’s punishment was carried out? 
    CH. 16 “You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide” 
    p. 90
  4. What do you think the emotional toll would be if your best friend and his/her family chose to take a different route and head to California if you were continuing on to Oregon? Does this give you any insight into just what the men/women/children on the trail went through? 
    CH. 18 “Bubble Up” 
    p. 100
  5. Would you have made the same choice as Tamsen Donner did to stay with your husband and send your young children ahead with the rescue party? Why or why not? What does either decision say about love and prioritizing? 
    CH. 7 “Just One More Day” 
    p. 35
  6. What do you think happened to Tamsen Donner’s body? Why do you think that it was never recovered? 
    CH. 7 “Just One More Day” 
    p. 35
  7. Did you feel empathy or contempt for Elizabeth Markham when she “lost it” on the trail? Why or why not? What is your opinion about “temporary insanity”? 
    CH. 10 “Patience of a Saint” 
    p. 55
  8. When Samuel Markham was consumed with anger (p. 57, first paragraph) do you think that it was as far as his anger took him, or do you think that he laid a hand on his wife? 
    CH. 10 “Patience of a Saint” 
    p. 55
  9. What strikes you most about the saga about Rebecca Winters? Is it possible for one person to continue to affect generations of descendants? 
    CH. 31 “Right of Way” 
    p. 168
  10. At which time would you have preferred to travel over the Oregon Trail? In the early years when the trail was less defined, but the Indians were helpful, or the later years when supply stations were available on a more defined route, yet altercations with the Indians were more likely? 
    CH. 9 “Turnarounds” 
    p. 49
  11. How unsettling do you think it was for the emigrants to encounter the “turnarounds” heading back east? What effect would that have upon their psyche? If you had been one of those pioneers how would such an encounter have affected you? 
    CH. 9 “Turnarounds” 
    p. 49
  12. What effect did Hiram Young’s master have upon his life when he raised the price of Hiram’s freedom? How would you best describe Young’s character? 
    CH. 13 “Against All Odds” 
    p. 72
  13. Abigail Scott said that her mother’s life was that of “a general pioneer drudge.” How did the life and death of her mother affect Abigail’s life? 
    CH. 15 “Etched in Stone” 
    p. 83
  14. Which section of the Oregon Trail would you have found more challenging? The first third had the easiest terrain, but was more disease ridden. The last third had the more physically challenging terrain, but the most beautiful scenery. 
    CH. 20 “Just Around the River Bend” 
    p. 112
  15. How did men and women differ in how they faced physical challenges or emotional challenges on the trail? What about children? 
    CH. 21 “Then and Now” 
    p. 116
  16. Do visiting historical sites move you in any way? Do you feel a connection to the people who once stood on the very soil you stand? 
    CH. 21 “Then and Now” 
    p. 116
  17. To what extent, if any, do you think Hals, Larson, and Monson took responsibility for the massacre that ensued over the altercation of the cows? 
    CH. 22 “The High Price of Steaks” 
    p. 120
  18. Do you think Emily Fisher ever saw Adam Fisher as her father rather than the man who fathered her? What was her greatest strength? 
    CH. 26 “A Clean Bed and a Good Meal” 
    p. 140
  19. How incomprehensible do you think it was for Ezra Meeker to fly over the Oregon Trail at 100 mph compared to previously lumbering in a covered wagon at 2 mph? Do you think that today’s “technological age” is as mind boggling compared to how life was just fifty years ago? Why or why not? 
    CH. 30 “Stuck in a Rut” 
    p. 161
  20. What is the significance of the author ending the story of the Indian brave so abruptly? 
    CH. 1 “Scaling the Great Landmark” 
    p. 1