As a kid in Indiana, the state with a somewhat misleading name since even in the 1940s there were no tribes of the noble indigenous to be seen, most of the play time was spent recreating World War II over the hillocks and kid-dug caves of the vacant land across from the tank factory.
We fought Germans and Japanese soldiers with stick rifles and machine guns, not to mention an occasional grenade-like rock.
But sometimes we would switch off to the older, more exotic experience of Cowboys and Indians. In my neighborhood in Kokomo, most of the kids wanted to be cowboys -- mostly Gene Autry or Lash LaRue with an occasional Roy Rogers thrown in. The cowboys would gallop around, shooting at the Indians. The better-off ones with shiny cap guns and the rest with any piece of wood that could emulate a six gun.
The Indians mostly would use home-made bows and arrows and spend most of the game improving their representation of dying from cowboy bullets.
The Indians, just as the Germans and Japanese, were always the losers. What's right is right.
Nowadays, it is different. For the past few years the tables have been turned.
Today, the old Cowboy and Indian game has a new wrinkle. The Indians have casinos and instead of bows and arrows, they use slot machines and card tables to take on the cowboys.
And unlike the games of my youth, the Indians almost always win.
And the cowboys just keep coming back.