Graphic Novel Reveals Real Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail: The Road to Destiny by Frank Young and David Lasky

If you grew up in the ’80s, you probably died of dysentery at least once.

Most people around my age remember that old computer game The Oregon Trail. Our school library had a few computers set up with the game just ready to go. The game has found new life in the Facebook and iPhone age.

A new graphic novel brings that historic emigrant route to life. Oregon Trial: The Road to Destiny by Frank Young and David Lasky is targeted to preteens but it’s smart enough for older readers. The authors have done extensive research into personal accounts and other historic documents to get as accurate as possible. They tell an engaging story from the perspective of a fictional 11-year-old girl whose family makes the trek from Baltimore, Maryland, to Oregon in 1848.

Young and Lasky have also begun a blog that offers great bonus material, such as photos of filthy 1848 Baltimore and how Hollywood altered history by using horses instead of oxen to pull emigrant carriages in movies about the Oregon Trail. has a healthy preview of the book.

The pair is also back to work on The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, a biography of the legendary country music group. The graphic novel was held up for about a year during complicated negotiations with Peermusic, the current (but apparently disputed) copyright holder of most of A.P. Carter’s song lyrics. The creators finally decided to move on without lyrics, overhauled the script, and are back at their drawing boards. But while things were tied up, they whipped up Oregon Trail. Now that’s multi-tasking.


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