Long before the white people migrated to the vast lands across the wide Missouri—and added a new dimension to the struggle for supremacy, native tribes battled continuously for the most desirable lands.
As a rule, three things could happen to a weaker tribe and all were bad. At worst they were exterminated. If they escaped that, assimilation might occur or, as was often the case, they were driven to some less desirable area such as the arid, inhospitable deserts of the Great Basin and the Southwest. Many times, tribes were able to adapt to the harsh lands, turning a disadvantageous situation into a positive one, and gaining their greatest glory as warriors. The Apaches are a classic example. Driven into the barren deserts and brawny mountains of Arizona, New Mexico and the Mexican Republic by more powerful Plains tribes during the 1300s, they became masters in guerrilla warfare.