Olive Oatman (1837-1903) was a woman from Illinois who was famously abducted by a Native American tribe (likely the Yavapai people), then sold to another (the Mohave people). She ultimately regained her freedom five years later. The story resonated in the media, partly owing to the prominent blue tattooing of Oatman's face by her captors. In subsequent years, the tale of Olive Oatman came to be retold with dramatic license in novels, plays, and poetry.
Born into the family of Royce and Mary Ann Oatman, Olive was one of ten siblings. She grew up in the Mormon faith.
In 1850 the Oatman family joined a wagon train led by James C. Brewster, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), whose attacks on, and disagreements with, the church leadership in Salt Lake City, Utah, had caused him to break with the followers of Brigham Young in Utah and lead his followers — Brewsterites — to California, which he claimed was the "intended place of gathering" for the Mormons.
The Brewsterite emigrants, numbering 52, left Independence, Missouri, August 9, 1850. Dissension caused the group to split near Santa Fe, with Brewster following the northern route.