There have been many stories told about Olive Oatman and much has been written. Some of the stories are exaggerated and some are totally invented. Margot Mifflin attempts to set the record straight, examining Olive's engrossing story from her childhood to her death at 65. The book is well written and interesting, full of details about the times and places and people in Olive Oatman's life.
What makes Olive's story so engrossing? Olive was 13 when her family and others broke from the Utah Mormons and set out to find their own Zion in California. Through a series of disagreements the group broke up into several smaller groups and went their separate ways. Olive's family were killed on the trail by a band of Yavapai Indians and Olive and one sister were taken as slaves. About a year later they were sold to a Mohaves tribe. Her face was tattooed in a traditional manner which suggests she was more a member of the tribe than a slave. She was "rescued" when she was 19. Her sister did not survive.