The title The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven demonstrates that, despite the amicable depiction of the famous white lawman and his Indian sidekick, relationships between the two races are not that way in real life at all. Enotes explains,
"The Lone Ranger and Tonto are symbols for white and native-American identity, respectively. Their names are taken from a popular radio and television show of the 1950s in which a white man, the Lone Ranger, teams up with an Indian, Tonto, to battle evil in the old West".
In this and many images from popular culture, the white man and the Indian are represented as living and working side by side in harmony, with the white man the leader and more individually capable of the two, the Indian his inferior. In reality, the white man came to America as an imperialistic conqueror, taking over land the Indians had occupied first, and leaving them disenfranchised and oppressed. The stories in the book focus on a group of varied native-American characters who, with a sense of steadfast endurance and ironic humor, show what it is like to live, mired in poverty and alcoholism, stripped of their identity and "larger social purpose", yet unable and unwilling to adopt the culture of the imperialistic majority.
How is Manhood defined in "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" short story?