The action takes place before a sod hut in the Kansas wilderness of the 1870s, where four frontier women wrest a living from the stubborn soil. The matriarch of the group is Ma, a feisty, resourceful survivor whose wanderlust is still strong and who inspires the others with her homespun wisdom and strength. With her are her daughter-in-law Sara, a hardworking young wife and mother who is content with life as she knows it; Etta, a young girl suffering the trauma of having been abducted by Cheyenne yet still optimistic that marriage and happiness may yet await; and Mrs. Nichols, a fastidious and refined Eastern lady forced to seek shelter with the others while her husband recovers from a critical illness. As they cope with wolf attacks, the constant fear of Indians, and the dismal isolation of the prairie, they talk of "going to see the elephant" —crossing the next hill to see what lies on the other side—and it is this sense of striving to achieve all that life can offer that gives the play its power and beauty—and makes it clear that the wilderness was not tamed by men alone.
A vivid, stirring and richly imaginative study of four pioneer women dealing with the harsh realities of life on America's frontier. A critical and popular success in its long-run production by the Los Angeles Repertory Company. "…it is a fine work, teeming with curiosity about life, courage, resignation to 'God's will,' enduring strength and the ability to take small joys wherever they can be found." —Drama-Logue. "…we find ourselves in the presence of dimensional creations, sharing their moments of sadness and joy, uplifted by their raw-boned dignity." —Los Angeles Magazine. "It is inspiring and it is inspired by four beautiful performances." —LA Times.