In 1851 the Oatman family set out alone in covered wagons along the Santa Fe trail to California. The family was attacked by Indians, and all but three members were killed. Lorenzo, a young boy, was left for dead but painfully made his way to a settlement and was saved. Two girls, Ann and Olive, were taken captives.
This is the story of the family's massacre and of the captivity of the two girls, who lived among two different Indian tribes and served as slaves. The girls experience both kindness and cruelty, and see the treatment of the Indians to one another and to their Indian captives from other tribes. From war parties to the torture of runaway slaves, from famine to mandatory tatooing, the narrator describes the girls' suffering and attempts at escape.
For five years Lorenzo sought to locate his sisters, and a subplot involves his efforts to rescue the girls.
This report prepared by Anne-Louise Bennett