Arthur Kopit has described 'Indians' as 'a combination of Wild West Show, vaudeville, and circus. There are dances; phony horses; things go wrong all the time--mock murders turn into real murders, there are conversations with the dead. It's a hallucinatory mosaic; a nightmare panorama of Buffalo Bill reliving his life and trying to work out where he went wrong.'
The action takes place in the center ring of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. The performers include Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Ned Buntline, Wild Bill Hickok, and assorted politicians and their victims--Geronimo, Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, and other Plains Indians. As they re-enact their parts in the conquest of the West, the legend of the Western hero bravely taming a savage land is shown to be a fraudulent mythologizing of greed and stupidity -- just as the Wild West Show itself was.
When 'Indians' made its American debut at the Arena Stage in Washington, D. C., the National Observer said, "...Arthur Kopit's 'Indians' ... is a great play. More than that: It may well be the Great American Play that everyone has been waiting for-- the one that captures, in broad perspective, some substantial part of our common experience." [via]