In the spring of 1851, nine members of the Oatman family set out for California on the old Santa Fe Trail. Seventy miles from the California border they were attacked by Indians, who massacred the entire family, except a boy, Lorenzo (mistakenly left for dead), and two girls, Ann and Olive. The girls were taken into captivity, soon to be sold to other Indians farther west. Lorenzo, though badly wounded, found his way back to civilization. As soon as he was able, he began to search for his sisters. R. B. Stratton's narrative is based upon interviews with the Oatmans themselves. It vividly describes the Oatman family, their fateful journey, the massacre, captivity, and search. Olive Oatman's account of her captivity provided one of the earliest descriptions of life in Indian villages of the Southwest. When first published in 1857, Captivity of the Oatman Girls was a sensational bestseller, encouraging Stratton to enlarge the book for later editions. The Bison Books edition reprints in its entirety the text of the enlarged third edition.