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Escape From Death Valley

  • Kit Tyler, Director/Producer

A desert sky at sunset with mountains in the distance. The title "Escape from Death Valley" floats over this vista.

About the Project

In the winter of 1849 a wagon train was lost in an unknown American desert. A “cursed hole” – the doomed immigrants soon named it, “Death Valley.” No water, no food, no way out. Two men volunteered to find an escape route, get help, and then, go all the way back again to rescue the marooned group before they starved to death.

This is the story of how the cruelest of overland journeys came to define a true American hero and the forging of community in the most adverse circumstances.

Escape From Death Valley is a historical documentary program, shot and edited in high definition video for national PBS broadcast. The program follows the memoir, Death Valley in ’49, considered by western historians as one of the greatest tales of Western expansion ever written. The 60-minute program will take viewers on the ill-fated journey of The Sand Walking Company, their entrapment, desperate rescue, and ultimately, their successful escape.