Oregon Trail was designed as an educational kids’ game, and a generation of students learned about the settling of the western United States by playing it. There were many ways to die, but it was still rated for general audiences, meaning kids. There was a lot of not-so-pleasant parts of life on the trail that were completely left out- because otherwise there would have been trauma, nightmares, and maybe even lawsuits.
Phil Edwards did the research, which couldn’t have been all that fun, to give us the rest of the story. A list of resources for further reading can be found at Vox. The video is safe for work. -Thanks, Phil!