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A South Road to Oregon

The History of the Applegate Trail

Early settlers coming to Oregon crossed vast plains, foreboding mountains, and hot deserts, only to find their biggest challenge — navigating the dangerous Columbia River. Inspired to find an alternative route, immigrants founded the Applegate Trail in 1846. A SOUTH ROAD TO OREGON: The History of the Applegate Trail traces the construction and controversy surrounding this long, treacherous southern branch of the Oregon Trail from Fort Hall, Idaho through parts of Nevada, California, and southern Oregon into the settlements of the lush Willamette Valley.

The story is told through historically accurate reenactments based on diaries, journals, and letters of the principle historic figures and interviews from immigrants’ descendants.

Narrated by well-known historian and columnist Russell Sadler.


  • Platinum Award, MarCom Creative Awards
  • Silver Award, Davey Awards

Funding for A SOUTH ROAD TO OREGON provided by:

  • Oregon Heritage Commission
  • Heritage Conservation Division
  • Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
  • Oregon Historic Trails Fund
  • Oregon Community Foundation
  • Ralph L. Smith Foundation

Special thanks to

  • Sunny Valley Applegate Trail Society


  • Executive Producer: Greg Frederick, Brad Fay
  • Producer/Writer: Cynthia Salbato
  • Producer/Editor: Peter Bedell
  • Music: Dirk Price
  • Narrator: Russell Sadler
  • Graphic Design: Vickie Killion



To order the DVD, call 541-779-0808 x 241
$19.95 + $5 Shipping & Handling

A production of Southern Oregon Public Television
Copyright 2006