Colorado Experience: Pleasant Hill Bus Tragedy

Colorado Experience: Pleasant Hill Bus Tragedy


[music playing] DARELL SPEER: March 26, 1931,
the Pleasant Hill School bus became trapped in a blizzard. There were 20 children in a
space the size of a minivan. The children were
crammed in, which may have saved those
who made it out alive. It was the biggest
disaster that ever happened between Towner and Holly. It made a great impact,
not just Colorado, but the whole country. [music playing] ANNOUNCER: This program was
funded by the History Colorado State Historical fund. Supporting projects
throughout the state to preserve, protect,
and interpret Colorado’s architectural and
archaeological treasures. History Colorado State
Historical Fund– create the future,
honor the past. With support from the Denver
Public Library and History Colorado, with additional
funding and support from these fine organizations
and viewers like you. Thank you. [music playing] JESSE H. MELTON: They called
it the Towner Bus Tragedy, because it was only 14 miles
from Towner and 70 miles to Holly DARELL SPEER: The area
was farming community. In those days, the farm was
more than just a certain kind of crop being grown. It involved people
having cattle. They had pigs and chickens and
raised several different kinds of crops. All of the kids that went
to school knew each other. Everybody just
helped everybody. And just like if
we butchered a pig, Daddy got a fourth and the
neighbors got a fourth. And they had a cellar. You didn’t have deep freezers
or refrigerators to put anything in. All the children who went to
school there were farm kids. They were going out to
pump water every morning. There was no electricity
in any of their homes. There was one home
that had a telephone. And one telephone exchange
about 10 miles away. Communications, especially
on the plains in 1931, were primitive at best. There were no satellites. There were no radar systems
that could predict the weather. Very spotty radio service. Certainly no television,
certainly no Weather Channel to help farmers and to
help school districts predict what was
going to happen. DARELL SPEER: And the
people that lived in there were very resilient. They survived on very little. And they asked for very little. They helped each other out. MICHAEL UNTIEDT:
Eastern Colorado, it’s a place where the long light is. Because when the
sun’s going down, your shadows can just
stretch out forever. It’s rough country but,
oh man, if the evening’s calm across that prairie
when it’s midsummer, it’s the most beautiful
place on the earth. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
1931 is the beginning of the Great Depression. Although farmers
don’t know it yet, they’re about to endure year
after year of extreme weather events. So terrible winters and
devastating summertime droughts. MICHAEL UNTIEDT: They
remember the bus tragedy because they
remembered the storm. Their attics blew full of
snow, the wind was so hard. And then when it melted,
it made a big mess inside. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
The wind never stops blowing in
eastern Colorado. Never– summer,
winter, day or night. Oh, the wind is furious,
when it was happening. It was just cold and windy. WILLIAM J. CONVERY: The
blizzard of March 26, 1931, was the very beginning of the
devastating weather events that would mark the ’30s
as the Dirty ’30s for the rest of our history. But what sort of tricked
people on March 26, 1931, is, when they woke up,
it was a warm spring day. And although snow was
predicted for later in the day, nobody thought that
the weather conditions could change so drastically. Everything looked
fine March the 26th, except that the clouds just kept
building faster and faster up. Several children, in
fact, said, I don’t really want to wear a coat today. It’s finally starting
to become spring. It’s beautiful out. Carl Miller, the bus
driver, was a local farmer who, in the summertime,
used his truck to carry hay, but in the wintertime
converted his truck into a makeshift school bus. And he supplemented his
farm income with the $100 a month that he received
from the school district. It was a 1929 Chevy. And this is 1931, so
it’s relatively new. My mom said the bus
was painted blue. ARIANA HARNER: It was about
the size of a minivan. There were two
parallel wooden kind of like picnic benches
lining the bus, so it was a pretty tight space. And there were 20
children on it. MICHAEL UNTIEDT: And
they rode the bus. And it was a nice
morning, although windy. I remember my dad saying
that they could see something brewing in the north. There was three
different types of storms. You had an even snowstorm,
where the snow would accumulate, a nice little snowfall. Then there was another one,
you had some wind with it, but you could see a distance. But this storm here, it
was just blasting snow. They called it the norther. They came out of the northwest. You just couldn’t see nothing. And those types of
storms, the farmers used to run a rope from
the house to the outhouse and to the barn. They would hold onto the rope
because they couldn’t see. But when that wind hit,
that’s what did it. LUELLA LEACH: My
sister was supposed to go to school that day. And my older brother,
my mother told him to go out and saddle
and bridle her horse. He went out and saddled it, and
come back in and he told Momma, I don’t think Opal ought
to go to school today. There’s a terrible storm coming. And he finally persuaded
her to go out and look. She come back in, and she said,
take the horse back to the barn and unbridle it. So he did. By the time he got that done,
he couldn’t even see the house, it was snowing so bad. MICHAEL UNTIEDT: By the
time they’d made the circuit and picked up the kids,
it was pretty overcast. The teacher was Mrs. Moser. She had the grades
from one to six. And Mr. Freiday, he had the
classes from seven to six. ARIANA HARNER: What do we do? What’s the safest
way to make sure that these kids are able
to ride out this storm? It will probably only last a
few hours, but we don’t know. There was a little bit
of wood, but not much. There was no food. There were no blankets, nothing
really to keep them warm. They concluded that
the school was not a place for the children
to stay overnight. And they felt that
the children would be better off going back home. Or in a worst-case scenario,
staying at a local farmhouse. Some say it was the bus
driver that made the decision. And some say that
it was the teachers. They both, especially
Mr. Freiday, said, well, just take them home. Well, if he’d have kept them
there, they’d have been alive. There was a bus for the
eastern portion of the district and a bus for the western
portion of the district. And those two buses
and their children, passengers, experienced
very different fates. The children from the
western part of the district, when they were sent
home, they didn’t make it all the way to their own homes,
but they made it far enough to reach a local farmhouse. They were just an n-th of
a degree more fortunate. And it was the difference
between surviving and tragedy. JESSE H. MELTON: So they put
the kids, all 20 children, back on the bus. Mr. Miller looked
at the weather, and he said, I think
what I want to do is I’m gonna take the
cutoff to the Untiedts, and we’ll make it there. Then we’ll stay there. ARIANA HARNER: So the bus
driver set out with the kids around 9:00 AM that
morning of March 26. The wind had picked
up significantly just in the last half hour. And he was immediately lost. WILLIAM J. CONVERY: Within
15 minutes of his departure, the weather conditions
completely disintegrated. It went from a sunny
spring day to a whiteout. He couldn’t see past the
radiator of his own bus. There wasn’t an
enormous amount of snow, but the wind was vicious. This absolutely
featureless plain, you can’t see 10
feet in front of you. ARIANA HARNER: He
drove around and around trying to get across the field
that led to the nearest home. DARELL SPEER: From
that point, he was trying to have
the kids look out the windows that were
covered with ice to see where they were at. In a blizzard in
Southeastern Colorado, it doesn’t take a whole
lot of snow, especially when the wind is blowing. And it did that most of the
first day and all night. And still the wind was
blowing the next morning. One of the windows, the
back window, was broke out. So they had just
a cardboard in it, just going around and around in
a circle for about 45 minutes. But he’d stop, and
the bus would die. And he’d stop, and then
finally get started again. Then they’d go a ways,
then they’d stop. Then they’d put the
cardboard back in. But the kids was all happy. They was singing. They got a day off from school. And when the bus finally
hit Towner and Holly Road, it was, well, one mile
from the schoolhouse. But they was only a half a
mile from the Reinert house. And the bus went down in
the ditch and got stuck. ARIANA HARNER: And
then it stalled. He couldn’t get the motor back. They couldn’t get the
bus out of the ditch. The bus landed with the back
wheels in the [inaudible] pit and headed east and
provided almost a snow cave. The temperature, even
though very cold outside, probably was maintained around
zero or just a little bit above zero. That windchill
index was minus 35. The wind was probably blowing
close to 40 mile an hour. The back windows are only
covered with cardboard. This frail, little
shell is stuck in the middle of an immense
prairie in a howling storm, 20 children and one adult in
a little, unheated bus. ARIANA HARNER: And the
children were there for the next 33 hours. MICHAEL UNTIEDT: My dad’s oldest
brother Bryan, his older sister Evelyn, my father Ome,
and his younger brother Arlo– those were the Untiedt
children that were on the bus. DARELL SPEER: My mom, Clara,
was the oldest child on the bus. She was 15 years old. In the beginning,
they had high spirits and probably thought
that they were going to be found within
a few hours or so. And that just didn’t happen. It went on and on. These kids were all between
the ages of six or seven and maybe 15 years old. And the older ones began
to realize very quickly that they might be in danger. ARIANA HARNER: Their lunches,
which were in lunch pails that they brought, they’d
stowed underneath the seats that they were sitting on. They froze before lunch
time to the floor. So they weren’t
even able to eat. They had no water. They had no food. They said later it was
probably a good thing, because with the cold food,
the temperature of the body would probably have went down. Mr. Miller took the
benches and tipped them up so they’d have
more room in there. He instructed the
children to jump and run and dance in place and
shadowbox with each other and keep moving. And it’s not long
before the wind blows out the cardboard
in the back windows. And now snow is beginning
to drift into the bus. And the wind is
blowing into the bus. Mr. Miller decided they had
to get some heat in there. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
He took a milk can that was tied to the outside
of the bus and removed its lid. DARELL SPEER: And they tore
up some of their books, and eventually his
matches got too wet, and he couldn’t get
the fire burning. And some of the children
have winter coats. Some of them are wearing
spring sweaters and jackets. One of the girls had
an extra pair of gloves, and they gave her
a pair of gloves. There were many small
things like that. And they were really big
things for kids that age. LOIS REINERT MCCRACKEN: My aunt
and uncle and several cousins were on that bus. They had these warm socks on. Their mother made them
wear the dirty brown socks. And they kept them
fastened with garter belts. But we had to wear them until
the bad weather was done. Well, they all had them on. Bryan Untiedt and
my mother Clara walked a ways from
the bus, and they decided it was just way
too cold and turned around and walked back to the bus. And they fell down
several times. And my mom had to go
back and help Bryan up. And when they reached
the bus, my mom said they clawed the window in
the bus with their icy hands till the other kids
let them in the bus. And when they got in the
bus, they were so cold and felt like they
wanted to go to sleep. The other kids slapped them
and kept moving them around. And eventually they
got to feeling better. After my mom and Bryan
got out and walked a ways, Rosemary Brown and Alice
Huffaker got out of the bus, and they couldn’t
recognize where they were. So they returned
to the bus also. Carl does everything he
can to keep the spirits up of the children and, more
importantly, to keep them moving and keep them awake. Because he knows
it’s not going to be long before their
little body temperatures are going to start dropping. And they had boxed each other
around and played and sang and did their level best to
keep everybody moving around. Because they knew that
they were in dire trouble, and if they took time to
rest, they’d just die. DARELL SPEER: During
that night, each one had to holler their
name, and they would wait until whoever was
next hollered their name. They would get up and exercise
and just didn’t set still. Even after it got
dark, they still went around calling
each other’s name out. But they did manage to
make it through the night. It was a long drawed-out night. Carl at that point realized
that it was up to him to go out and find help. So he brought the oldest
children together, and he said to them, it’s
up to you to keep as many of these children
as you can alive. I’m going to go find help. Told the three older
kids, keep moving. Nobody goes to sleep. So they tried their best. Some of then were dressed
right, and some weren’t. The ones that was dressed
the warmer did survive. So Mr. Miller got his coat
back from the little boy that he had put it on, and
put his hat on, his gloves. He says, I’m going for
help, and I’ll be back. And when I get back, we’ll
have pancakes for breakfast. And he stepped out of
the bus, and nobody ever saw him alive again. So what’s left now? You have a few older children,
Clara Smith, Bryan Untiedt, who are watching the
younger children become more lethargic, less interested
in moving around and staying awake. They’re all miserable. They’re all freezing. And then one of
the children dies. Little Brown boy, his
sister’s seed his eyes is glassy-looking. And it just didn’t look right. Pretty soon he just
collapsed there in the floor. One of the girls picked
him up and took him to the back of the bus. Bobby Brown had– had passed. And Mary Louise Stonebraker– She’d just had a birthday,
and she’d got a new sweater. And she wanted to wear
that sweater to school. She’d gone through the day
with just a light sweater. She was just staring
off in space. And then she would just
take a short breath. My mom picked her up and carried
her to the back of the bus. And they would see that she
would take just a short breath and– and then wouldn’t
breathe for a long time. And eventually the snow
covered her face, her eyes, so they didn’t have
to look at her. They’re all alone. There are no adults now. They don’t know when or how or
even whether Carl Miller will come back with help. And the older kids do
everything they can. They slap the kids. They shake them. They keep them moving. One of the first children to
pass away was Kenneth Johnson. He kept saying his
legs were frozen. He continued to say his
father would come find him. He knew he would,
because he’d always told him that if
he got stranded, he would come find them. And Clara looked down to see
why some of the other kids were stepping on him. And she knew right then
that he had passed away. So she picked him up
and took him to the back with the other two back there. They were so worn
out, and really being in some stage of
hypothermia, that they all decided that they
would do what they’d been fighting this whole
time, which was just relax and go to sleep. I’m so tired. If I relax, I get
really warm, which is a symptom of hypothermia, is
when you’re freezing to death, you get very warm. Many of the kids
started taking off their coats and their
gloves and their hats because they were so warm. They laid them on the
floor of the bus, which was full of snow, and
got down on the pile. And the older ones said, we’ll
keep the younger ones warm, and we’ll all be able to give
into this wonderful, warm, sleepy sensation. WILLIAM J. CONVERY: By
the end of the second day, the parents of those
children knew that their kids were in trouble. They hadn’t reported back home. And finally after waiting a day
and a night and most of a day, some of the fathers of the
children load up their wagons, they hitch up their horses,
and they go out into the storm to try and find their children. Kenneth Johnson’s
dad and his wife decided that they should take
some food over to the school. So Mr. Johnson was
probably the first one to realize they weren’t
in the schoolhouse. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
The school is empty. The windows have been
blown out, and the school is full of ice and snow. And somewhere out in that
great big, white world, their children were
safe, in danger? They didn’t know. Then they panicked. Because where were
their children? So they drove around and
around, and by that time, the storm had let up
enough that they could see where they were going. And these are wagons
led by horses. My mom heard the
crunching of the wheels on the snow and the horses
just before they were rescued. The door broke open,
and it was Mr. Untiedt, and he said, oh, what a sight. ARIANA HARNER: If the
fathers had been any later, they would have found
an entire busload of kids who were not alive. The children were discovered
at around 5 o’clock Friday, March 27, after they’d
been there for 33 hours. Pushing aside their grief of
that moment, and especially for Dave Stonebraker, who
had lost his daughter, Louise, Dave Stonebraker
and Bud Untiedt began piling the living
children under blankets inside of Untiedt’s wagon. Mary Louise Miller was one of
the younger students on the bus and also the daughter
of the bus driver. The little Miller
girl was probably– was almost gone when
they rescued her. My grandfather found the bus. His son Arlo appeared to be
in really good condition. Arlo seemed to be a
little more alert. They were all
semi-conscious when they found them in the bus. So they loaded all
the live kids up. And they had three
that were dead, and they just left
them because there wasn’t any need bringing in with
the live ones just right then. And they drove those
horses just as fast as they could get to
the Reinert ranch. They come busting in the
door, and one of them says, Andy, we’re in bad trouble. We’ve get frozen kids. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
And in come two farmers with 17 frozen
children, children who are on the edge of
death, children whose limbs, their fingertips are
black with frostbite, children who are in hypothermic
comas, whose hearts are barely beating, who were
barely breathing. ARIANA HARNER: Took
off their wet clothes, were able to put on dry, warmer
clothes, wrapped in blankets. MICHAEL UNTIEDT: My grandfather
wrapped Arlo in a blanket and put him in the
corner and then went to deal with the other kids. Because Arlo seemed so good. When he went back
later, Arlo was dead. And so my father and my
uncle and their sister and my grandfather always blamed
themselves for Arlo’s death. They start soaking their arms
and their legs in diesel fuel or ice water so that they
didn’t thaw out too fast. None of them lost
fingers or toes or arms. They all kept their limbs,
despite the extreme frostbite and hypothermia that
they had experienced. Seven people, men from Holly,
tied their cars together in a chain with the
doctor, and they used that as a
push-and-pull deal to get through the drifts of snow. ARIANA HARNER: They all ended
up in the Maxwell Hospital by Sunday. DARELL SPEER: My mom
stayed the longest. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
The first few nights were punctuated with
the agonized screams of these children. ARIANA HARNER: One of
the girls remembers watching her outer layer of
skin on her foot just peel off in sheets. Psychologically,
they weren’t being talked to by any counselors. DARELL SPEER: They were
still in the hospital when they had the service
for the other students that hadn’t survived. So none of them got
to go to the services. JESSE H. MELTON: Saturday
morning, the searchers started looking for Mr. Miller. He was laying with
his back to the ground and his arms outspread. JESSE H. MELTON: And his gloves
was torn because evidently he’d come to get holding on
that barbed-wire fence. DARELL SPEER: He
followed a fence line. He went right by a corner
where there was a house. And where they found him, he’d
walked at least three miles, maybe three and a half miles. ARIANA HARNER: It was
clear that the barbed wire had cut through his
gloves and his flesh. He had given his life trying to
save his busload of children. But once the word gets out
to a house with a telephone, almost instantly the
whole country knows. The first part of
the story is really about those terrible
hours on the bus. The second half of the
story is about what the media in 1931, specifically
“The Denver Post,” run by Fred Bonfils at that time,
what the media did with that first story. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
And the story becomes a national sensation. Suddenly, the whole
world wants to know about the fate of
these children. Bonfils hired a
charter plane, which he called “The Ship of
Mercy” to bring doctors and supplies to the children. Of course, that made the front
page of “The Denver Post.” There was a moment where this
story was the leading news story in the country. Newspapers all over the region
and ultimately the country sent reporters to this little
town of Lamar to get the scoop. And the children were
treated as celebrities. Particularly “The
Denver Post” wanted to identify heroes and
villains in the story. LOIS REINERT MCCRACKEN:
“Denver Post” was there. And they wanted a hero. They picked Bryan Untiedt. Less than two weeks
after this tragedy, “The Denver Post” organized
a junket for the survivors to come to Denver. ARIANA HARNER: All
of the children were invited by
“The Denver Post” to spend a week
sightseeing in Denver. This was the first time to
a big city for any of them. They stayed at the
Brown Palace Hotel. Their parents came
with them on this trip. They got to go to the
upscale department store and get new outfits and
have their hair done. Many of them thought this
was a really fun trip. It was exciting. It was a good distraction. And some of them thought
this was really kind of not about us. Blanche Stonebraker, who
had had severe frostbite, wasn’t able to walk for several
months after this incident. She had one of the
“Post’s” chauffeurs for this trip carry
her everywhere. Bryan was invited to the
White House by Herbert Hoover. This was pure exploitation on
the Hoover administration’s part. FAYE UNTIEDT: A circus. They kept trying to get
Bryan to join the circus. His dad had a fit. What happened on the bus, they
just never talked about it. But nobody talked about it. And I know Clara
wouldn’t talk about it. If you had a burden
to bear, it was yours. In the climate of the day,
it was considered normal after a tragedy to
just not talk about it. Long after the
children had recovered from their physical scars,
they carried with them the psychological
scars of this event in the form of
nightmares and flashbacks and post-traumatic stress
and feelings of guilt of having survived when other
children, their own playmates, had died. For Bryan Untiedt, the so-called
hero, in his whole life, he felt that he
hadn’t done anything more than any of the rest
of the children had done. He had a lot of
hardships along with it. The least little thing went
wrong, it’d make the papers. And I think that
bothered him a lot. JESSE H. MELTON: It was a
wake-up call for everybody. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
Colorado made changes that improved the
safety of children who lived in these extreme environments. Not long after the tragedy,
the Colorado State Legislature mandated that all schools
should have a telephone. School districts began adopting
inclement weather policies, passing a series of
local and national laws to make school buses safer. Within a few years, it was
mandated that all school buses be painted a bright
yellow in order to increase their visibility. This event is still used by
some schools in the preparation of their school bus drivers. It’s still a danger
that a bus today could get stranded in a blizzard. MICHAEL UNTIEDT: My
father was Ome Untiedt. And he was 10 when
he was on the bus. He was very sick when he died. And I picked him up,
and I carried him into the emergency room. And when I picked him
up out of the car, he thought I was his father,
and he thought he was on the bus again. My Uncle Bryan, he
was almost larger than life in that he had a
real charismatic personality. Uncle Bryan was picked as
the hero of the bus tragedy. But Bryan had to bear that
burden his whole life, and it really made
Bryan uncomfortable. In my opinion, everyone
on that bus was one. They had to all be a hero. DARELL SPEER: In 1962,
Service Club located a marker at the site of the bus tragedy. LOIS REINERT MCCRACKEN: It’s
out there, a lonely little piece of ground. So we will never forget. WILLIAM J. CONVERY: All
told, five children died. 15 more were injured. The bus driver, Carl
Miller, died in the storm. We can never conquer nature. We can only negotiate with it. And sometimes, nature, no
matter how well prepared we are, will prove us wrong. MICHAEL UNTIEDT: When
people suffer tragedy, their bodies aren’t the
only thing that suffer. PTSD is not a modern invention. We saw it affect our
parents their entire lives. ARIANA HARNER: There was
something about that community. It speaks about the resilience
of the human spirit. WILLIAM J. CONVERY:
These people could come together around a tragedy
and help each other out. We survive here and
we thrive here only when we work together. And maybe that’s the big
lesson of the Pleasant Hill Bus Tragedy. [music playing]

About the Author: Michael Flood

98 Comments

  1. I am a native of So. Colorado and now live in western KS. Weather like this happens every spring. The prairie is a tough beautiful land, home to tough beautiful people. Thank you for honoring their memory.

  2. I remember riding to school in the bus out there in the early '70's with snow so high you couldn't see out the windows. They would plow and the wind would fill it back in and then they'd plow again….

  3. It stands a testimate to the harshness that the midwest even faces to this day. Every year there is always one or 2 snow storms that shut down the schools, and be it all they can the DOT can only do so much to keep just the highways safe, it was a lesson to be learned and it's sad that the lesson had to come at the expense of such young lives being lost. I live in tribune which is east of Towner, and we are educated in the 5th grade about this event. I have yet to find the marker but I know now where it is.

  4. Kind of a weird coincidence but I randomly came across and watched this less than 24 hours before the Humbolt bus accident in Saskatchewan.

  5. It's interesting how they dealt with this. "If you had a burden to bear, you just kept quiet." I was raised to do this by parents who could have been on this bus had they lived in eastern Colorado. To this day, I just don't talk about 911. I could, but I would break down and be incapacitated to do what I need to do. For a long time, I had nightmares and panic attacks, but they got less and less until now, only occasionally. This and other things are kept on a shelf in my mind. I really don't care to take them down and inspect their contents. To what purpose? Life goes on.

  6. Great documentary…except the girl that kept saying the bus was the size of a mini van. We've all seen similar rigs in person. Way bigger than a mini van.

  7. I have seen the monument where it happened. They are buried in one section of the cemetery in Holly, Co when some of the parents passed away years later, they were buried side by side with there children. The child that was considered the hero, met President Hoover.

  8. I just learned about this since I'm related to Clara Smith (one of the survivors) it is really an amazing story

  9. My whole family lives in North Texas. My grandparents actually own and farm a little under 700 acres of wheat fields in Colorado and Kansas! They have property in Towner that holds all the equipment and housing for the harvesting! Towner is REALLY SMALL!! I remember my first time going out there my grandparents told me this story and took us to the memorial. Such a SAD story but that bus driver is a damn fine man!! A saint!!!!

  10. A sad tragic story but with a positive ending, changes, reforms, progress towards improving school bus safety were made. Such as yellow school buses. So why can't we make any progress today regarding the far more often and more deadly tragedies of school shootings? Because the NRA makes a lot of money promoting the sales of guns to lunatics. The NRA bribes politicians to oppose any improvements in gun safety, you name it, the NRA pays a politician to oppose it. NRA has blood on its hands, as does any one who supports the NRA. How would this bus documentary be presented today? The NRA would promote stories that the "Bus never got stuck in the snow, the frozen dead children were fake, never existed and the survivors were crisis actors". And the parents of the dead frozen children would be vilified as communists, traitors to America and not Christian. This is how the NRA treats the parents of children murdered in school shootings today. Sorry if that offends you. I do respect this video, the tragic story and the heart felt memories of those who lost their loved ones. That is the difference between myself and those who support the NRA. I care about human life and grieve when it is lost. The NRA cares only about making money, no one's life matters to them.

  11. Holy Cow 🐮 at 14:50 Mary Louise Stonebraker is mentioned. Obviously I had to look into that. I’m a distant relative, Wow!

  12. PBS.

    They took what use to be a great PUBLIC broadcasting service and whore'd it out to private "donors". they 're now using COPY WRITE power to stop
    alt media from using their (originally) TAX PAYER funded footage for educational purposes. the snakes are as bad as the kosher media now.

  13. Thawed them out with Diesel fuel??? That's hard core. Kids now days complain about their battery dieing. We have weak pansies today as kids

  14. A lesson to be learned from 1931 falls on deaf ears today. How many times do you see adults and children dressed in shorts or maybe pajamas getting out of vehicles at stores or gas stations in the middle of a blizzard. They assume technology will save them. There is no guarantee a cell phone will work, or that you can even reach it in the event of an accident. Vehicle can slide off the road and become completely hidden with no trace that anything happened. Anticipate any abnormally clear warm day in late fall to late spring will most likely be followed by a strong storm.

  15. Every one of those kids are adorable. I see what my grandmother ment when she used to say "kids today are soooooo ugly". Kids today are ugly as sin

  16. Living in Colorado one should learn to carry what will be needed for any type weather-things to stay warm and things to stay cooler and never drive in snowy weather out of city limits.

  17. America use to have a different breed of people. Now it’s filled with snowflakes who want people to go to jail if they call them a bitch or say anything that hurts there feelings

  18. Now our buses are on truck chassis and have big diesels. With chains on the duel wheels on the back they almost never get stuck. Besides theres a million guys like me that have lifted diesel pick up trucks to pull the bus home.

  19. I’ve been a trucker for 38 years now. I’m a local oilfield driver now but back when I was driving across the country many years ago during the winter months I always kept my big coat and blankets at the front of my bed in my sleeper just in case I rolled the truck over. The blankets and coat would be within my reach if I was hurt or maybe they would even fall on me. I only had one bad scare
    near Pierre, SD about 18 years ago when my fuel gelled up and my truck stopped running in a terrible blizzard. The interstate was shut down in both directions and I was all alone out there in the night.
    I was already terribly sick with the flu and couldn’t stop coughing. I’m still here thanks to the good Lord above. At least we all know those kids are in Heaven with the Lord and their parents are with them now. Nature will always rule over our lives and we’ll just have to adjust to it.

  20. THANKS FOR POSTING THIS!
    I NEVVER HEARD OF THIS EVENT BEFORE!
    I HAVE HOWEVER DROVE TRUCKS THROUGH THIS AREA OCCASIONALLY IN WINTER!
    I THINK THAT WHAT THEY CALL SNOW HERE IS WHAT WE CALL HEAVY FROZEN SLEET HERE IN EASTERN KANSAS!
    WHEN I WAS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL I WAS ON A SCHOOL BUS THAT GOT STUCK IN THE SNOW NORTHWEST OF GARDNER KS!
    IF I HAD HEARD THIS STORY IN MY VERY YOUNGER DAYS IT WOULD HAVE REALLY SCARED ME!
    AS IT WAS WE WERE DELAYED ABOUT AN HOUR GETTING HOME!
    MR WESTHOFF THE BUS DRIVER HIKED TO A NEARBY FARM HOME
    AND GOT HELP!
    AFTER A BIT HE RETURNED WITH THE FARMER DRIVING A FARMALL M TRACTOR AND FLAT BED WAGON AND TOOK US TO THE FARM HOUSE!
    SOON AFTER ARRIVING ANOTHER SCHOOL BUS ARRIVED ACCOMPANIED WITH A TOW TRUCK FROM TUNISON GARAGE
    IN GARDNER!
    THE BUS TOOK US THE REST OF THE WAY HOME FOLLOWED BY THE TOW TRUCK.
    THE TOWNSHIP ROAD GRADER LATER PLOWED OUT THE ROAD AND THE BUS WAS PULLED OUT OF THE DITCH BY THE TOW TRUCK!
    MY DAD TOLD ME IN CASE OF POSSIBLE BLIZZARDS TO STAY AT THE SCHOOL AND THEY WOULD COME GET US!
    WE WERE LUCKY BEYOND BELIEF
    AND DIDNT REALIZE IT AT THE TIME!!

  21. In 1931, almost 90 years ago, Five children and a bus driver freeze to death because their school bus was not adequately equipped for extreme cold weather. Some will suggest that this video is not the right time or place to talk about school shootings. So when is the right time, where is the right place? I expressed sadness at this and expressed that because of this event, which made national news at the time, changes were made to improve the safety of children riding school buses. Because of this I have been called a “Raving lunatic”, “Nazi”, and a host of other insults including “Tuna” (whatever that means). All because I have suggested that unlike the tragedy in this video the almost countless school shooting of our time where far more children die there are no laws or regulations passed to even reduce the occurrence of gun massacres in schools, churches, malls, movie theaters and so on. And all of this lack of change is due to the millions of dollars the NRA gives to corrupt politicians in order to continue a system where guns are sold to lunatics who go out and murder children. Then those who fear gun control laws go out and buy tens of millions of dollars of more guns. Then the cycle continues. I don’t think that caring about the sad deaths of children 90 years ago and pointing out reasons why I care about the deaths of children today makes me a Raving Lunatic. I never said I would ban guns. But I do support requiring gun owners to pass a background check, be not mentally ill, not a felon, not under a restraining order. I support requiring guns owners to pass a course and be licensed. I support gun registration, restrictions on private sales, restrictions on the types of guns and accessories and perhaps most important, mandatory gun liability insurance. When the children of this video died their silent voices were heard across America. Changes were made to protect future children from a similar tragedy. But today the silent voices of our children murdered by lunatics with guns are kept silent by the NRA. In 1931 the parents of that time had the sense to take responsibility for a problem and work to solve it. But today the parents of our dead children are not allowed the same right. Instead these parents are threatened, intimidated, harassed. Dead children are said to be fake, never existed, “False flag victims”. Surviving children are not called heroes instead they are called “Crisis actors”, there stories of survival diminished and their character questioned. And for sharing my deeply held belief that we should learn the lesson of this video and do something to protect the children of today I am called a raving lunatic and a Nazi? Fine. What do you call anyone who says “Nobody is gunning kids down enough to justify a total firearms ban”. What do you call that person? I suggest that person is a typical NRA supporter who accepts the NRA claim that EVERYONE has a right to have a gun in America (no regulations) and NO ONE in America has a right to feel safe. (Better go out and buy guns $$ NRA $$ ). Obviously I disagree with the NRA and with those who support the NRA. I think as a nation and as a society we can and should do better.

  22. Very very sad story. The only good thing that came out of this was that they stiffened up the provisions. Which is a huge Miracle. These lives were sacrificed to save others.

  23. So many boomers here to hate on the soft children of the new century. Too bad your parents didn't raise you to keep your mouth shut if you can't be nice. (Probably bc they were lazy sluts and entitled assholes too, judging by the way you conduct yourselves.)

  24. People back when had a lot more fortitude than the past few generations.
    Our ancestors would be ashamed of what we have allowed ourselves to become.

  25. I wish every state did this kind of series—I have a graduate degree in history, and I had never heard of this tragedy.

  26. What a horrific thing for children to experience firsthand…but people were alot tougher then…things like morality, religion,family, and community meant something.

  27. Yep. I know this area. A little town NW of Holly is where my father and grandmother lived and where I went to school for several years. Both used to tell me stories about the 1930's in that area. I think my family missed out on this tragedy by being in OK for 1928-9.

  28. I see teachers are just as dumb now as they were back then. What kind of idiot would send children out in a blizzard. The bus drivers are also at fault, they should have refused. you can always count on the government to really screw things up.

  29. The bus driver was getting a hundred bucks a month to keep the bus maintained didn't even have a damn window in it. That's the equivalent of getting several thousand dollars a month in today's dollars. Typical example of someone going to the government trough for a free ride.

  30. Leaving your children in the care of government employee idiots can get them killed. It's a good reason to homeschool.

  31. 23:10 stupid liberal bitch. this is a ridiculous and completely unnecessary statement from a dumb liberal. It’s an honor to meet the president and be invited to the White House. Why didn’t she say that? Because Hoover is republican. Evil stupid ignorant bitch.

  32. They never mention who the fifth child was. Three died on the bus and then Arlo died at the farmhouse. There was a fifth child who died after the rescue. Unless I missed it?

  33. By the end of the second day???? lwtf

    PS I use to carry a tin tabaco can and a roll of toilet paper will cram in there and I would soak it with gas line antifreeze or methanol, which burns clean and if you get stranded take the lid off and light it. No fumes, the toilet paper wont burn because its too tight but the methanol will save your life.

  34. It is sad that the children and their bus driver endured such a tragedy and had no mental health at the time. Everyone on the bus fighting to keep each other awake and moving are heros.

  35. Interesting documentary. I cannot imagine what their young minds endured. I pray the Lord blessed them. My thoughts go to the families affected. 🙏💕

  36. There are some damn foolish comments here. None of you were there, none of you know the size of the ‘bus’ and know only what the creators have told you. Do a little research. A ‘29 Chevy truck was much smaller than what is depicted in this video. The man used it to haul hay and farm so it was likely a flat bed with a temporary box fashioned into a crude people carrier at best. You cannot compare rural 1931 life to what rural life is today. I guess such short sightedness is to be expected.

  37. 4:00 Yes It's Colorado, Anyone who's lives ther for a while KNOWS It can be bright and sunny from sun up till noon then a Blizzard Roles in..Pretty much something to be prepared for. It happened to me and I was Stuck on Highway; Bumper to Bumper from 11:30 a.m from Dillon Eisenhower Tunnel all the way to Golden. didnt make it home until 3 am. turned out TWO semi trucks Jack-knifed next to each other , Blocking both sides of the highway Really Sucked for everyone.
    Couldnt imagine what these kids went through..

  38. I love finding this history but it makes me sad I can’t always find more, it makes it worse when stories are forgotten

  39. I’m reminded of another school bus tragedy – during the surprise devastating hurricanes of 1938. Seven children in Rhode Island as their bus was swamped and swept away. Several had held on right to the foundering bus. The father of four of the children from the bus, and the bus driver himself, watched in horror as they went under. I’m haunted by that story.

  40. I moved to Colorado in January of 2017. After 6 months of living in this beautiful state I learned quickly to keep a blanket, hat, gloves, hoodie and a gallon of Eldorado spring water in the vehicle from Oct to May. I have seen these types of storms happen here. That wind is no joke when it gets going!

  41. If a Democrat Administration had invited those kids to the White House, would that be seen as exploitative? Partisan hypocrites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *