"With only a 10-foot gap between wagons, we're basically invincible."
And all of this has to be true; we know that horrific numbers of people died when settlers expanded West. Those frontiersmen must have been firing bullets and dodging arrows on a daily basis, right?
Well, not really. Granted, between the United States cavalry and, uh, pretty much every tribe you can name, things certainly got good and massacre-y. But skirmishes between Native Americans and the typical American settler trundling along in his covered wagon hardly ever happened. Of the hundreds of thousands of pioneers who willingly trudged all the way through Nebraska, only a few hundred died in clashes with Native Americans.
More settlers died from totem pole collapses.
We repeat: not tens of thousands, not even thousands. About 300 to 400. To put that number in perspective, the total number of pioneer deaths on the Oregon Trail from all causes (including disease) numbered 10,000 to 30,000, which means only 1 to 4 percent of all trail fatalities can be attributed to Native Americans. Hell, we bet more settlers were accidentally trampled by their own cows.