the article didn't mention Joan Didion, which prompted me to wonder how exactly is she a descendant of a Donner Party member. Per a 1979 New York Times profile, https://www.nytimes.com/1979/06/10/books/didion-calif.html
Didion descended from a member of the luckier half of the group, which took the northern route, thus missing out on the Donner buffet:
"Joan's great-great-great-grandmother, Nancy Hardin Cornwall, was a member of the original Donner party, but she had left the ill-fated group at Humboldt Sink in Nevada to cut north through Oregon."
Two things you might not know about Joan Didion (three if we include the Donner Party), in the 1950s and 1960s she wrote for National Review and she was a John Wayne fan. Here is her review of The Al... more
Joan Didion wrote about Wayne more than once; she was a true fan. Her review of The Alamo was spot on. What she really liked a out the film was Wayne. Which is fair enough, I guess, although she short... more
Dan, thanks for posting her review. Joan confirmed her nearly life long love affair with John Wayne in the magazine article JOHN WAYNE: A LOVE STORY, which is reprinted in her book SLOUCHING TOWARDS B... more
Thanks. Joan Didion and John Wayne, quite a combo. Aside from being a cold-eyed observer of the human race, she had provocatively contrarian instincts. She once wrote for the New York Review ... more