Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in GREAT PLAINS QUARTERLY 26:2 (Spring 2006). Copyright © 2006 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


This is a well-researched and well-written study of a handful of Indian captivities on the Texas frontier in the 1870s. Its author was motivated by the desire to know more about the life of Adolph Korn (1859-1895), his distant relative, who was captured at the age of ten by Comanche Indians. The Indian captivity tale has been a staple of the literature of the Americas since the publication of Mary Rowlandson's account from Puritan New England in 1682. Hundreds of accounts - factual, fictional, and fictionalized - have told the tale of the innocent abducted and carried off to the world of the alien other. Yet the tale has been told to very different effect, ranging from accounts of divine providence to racist diatribes against "blood-thirsty savages" and from sexually titillating accounts to romantic tales of the the return to nature.