"It’s quiet out there — too quiet."

That line appeared again and again in 1950s horse operas, and we Western kids practiced daily the eye-squinted and growled delivery. We also worked at whistling the call of the meadowlark, the way the Native Americans in those oaters signaled each other before their attacks. In our games, the short straws were the cowboys; our Sioux and Cheyenne always won in thrilling slaughter.

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