The scene is a bar in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, where Wild Bill Hickok, now aging and growing blind, holds court. Despite his failing powers, Bill is respected and feared by the colorful habitues of the "Number Ten" saloon, and even the suggestion that he was a ruthless, cowardly killer who shot his victims in the back cannot dispel the aura of invincibility which surrounds him. But his confidence is shaken by the arrival of Jack McCall, a fiery tempered young desperado who vows to kill him and who claims to be Bill's illegitimate son. Taunted by Calamity Jane, McCall pours out the bitterness he feels at Bill's abandonment and humiliation of himself and his mother and, as the tension mounts, it is clear that, this time, Bill will not resist the inevitable. His death is, in a sense, an expiation, and for his killer, a desperate attempt at communication with the man he both loves and hates and cannot reach in any other way.
Successfully produced in New York (at the Public Theater) and Los Angeles. Once again the author is concerned with the mythic element in American life, this time centering on the dramatic events which may, or may not, have marked the final days in the life of the legendary Wild Bill Hickok. "Thomas Babe is one of the most imaginative and indigenous of young American playwrights." —NY Times. "…a play of remarkable evocation and feeling." —NY Post. "It's a classic situation combined with a classic tale of the Old West, which results in a fresh view of the American dream-versus-reality. It is also a highly theatrical work in which Babe displays a magnificent sense of language and a keen talent for character." —The Hollywood Reporter.