NYRB: Girls and Indians

by Thomas Powers

It was in the Great Depression years of the mid-1930s that American boys
of impressionable age began a final romance with the Old West. There is
little mystery in it. Real life was pinched, mothers fretted and
fathers spoke sharply, everyone counted pennies. But in the Old West of
romance a boy had his own horse, the stagecoach carried gold, a
rancher’s fortune was made if he could get his cattle across the river,
and the cavalry always came over the hill with a moment to spare. When
they appeared the Indians ran or were shot in profusion from their

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