The Oatman massacre is among the most famous and dramatic captivity stories in the history of the Southwest. In this riveting account, Brian McGinty explores the background, development, and aftermath of the tragedy.
Roys Oatman, a dissident Mormon, led his family of nine and a few other families from their homes in Illinois on a journey west, believing a prophecy that they would find the fertile “Land of Bashan” at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers. On February 18, 1851, a band of southwestern Indians attacked the family on a cliff overlooking the Gila River in present-day Arizona. All but three members of the family were killed. The attackers took thirteen-year-old Olive and eight-year-old Mary Ann captive and left their wounded fourteen-year-old brother Lorenzo for dead.
Although Mary Ann did not survive, Olive lived to be rescued and reunited with her brother at Fort Yuma.
On Olive’s return to white society in 1857, Royal B. Stratton published a book that sensationalized the story, and Olive herself went on lecture tours, telling of her experiences and thrilling audiences with her Mohave chin tattoos.
Ridding the legendary tale of its anti-Indian bias and questioning the historic notion that the Oatmans’ attackers were Apaches, McGinty explores the extent to which Mary Ann and Olive may have adapted to life among the Mohaves and charts Olive’s eight years of touring and talking about her ordeal.
|Publisher:||University of Oklahoma Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This should be required reading in High Schools - definetly real American history, and very interesting - never boring.
Olive Oatman was a tortured soul. From what we now know about the trauma and ptsd suffered by children kidnapped and held captive for years, I don't believe for one minute they preferred their captors world, but merely did what was needed to survive. Sure, she made a few friends, but she was a captive slave. It's time for readers of this type of history to start to acknowledge this and treat the captives, especially the young girls, not the indians, as the victims they were. Her behavior to me pointed more towards the shame and guilt as a victim, not a willing participant in her captivity.