Two-act play. Cody is a sleeping psychic for gamblers who earns his miserable keep while chained to a hotel bed, predicting winners during fitful snoozes. His jailers are jumpy tough guy Santee and softie sidekick Beaujo, who pace the hotel room arguing about horse-dreamer productivity philosophy. Theyíve moved the REM operation from the States to the UK and fear the arrival of their English boss, Fingers. Thatís where geography comes in: When he isnít channeling an Irish greyhound guru, Cody, who has no clue where he is, pines for his native Wyoming.

Performance History

First performed at the Royal Court Theater in London on February 13, 1974. It was directed by Shepard and starred Stephen Rea and Bob Hoskins.

The first American production was staged at the Yale Repertory Theater on March 7, 1974. It was directed by David Schweizer.

The first NY production was staged at the Manhattan Theater on December 4, 1975. It was directed by Jacques Levy.

It was later revived in 1981 at the Ensemble Studio Theater and in 1985 at La Mama.

Yale Performance:
Mel Gussow, NY Times (03/18/74):
The best way to meet Mr. Shepard is on his own terms - to relax and enjoy his abrupt changes of mood, jump-cut action and free-hand humor. His hero, as usual, is a cowboy... The tale of Cody's mad ride through the night is the comic geography of the new Shepard. It is a high-spirited comedy-melodrama that lashes away at profiteers, bettors and brainwashers. It ends, as one might expect, with the violent reassertion of pioneer values - a shootout between the cowboys and the crooks.
Manhattan Theater performance:
Mel Gussow, NY Times (12/13/75):
This is one of the author's most accessible works, but it operates on several levels at once. Cody is not just a horse dreamer, he is an archtypical Western hero and he is also the artist who has been bought and packaged by society. In "Horse Dreamer", as in his other plays, Mr. Shepard has a passionate, almost patriotic, longing for a sensibility that has disappeared. It is not nostalgia, but a search for forgotten values. That search and his landscape make Mr. Shepard one of the most indigenously American of playwrights.
Edith Oliver, The New Yorker magazine (December 22, 1975):
"Geography of a Horse Dreamer," yet one more work of Sam Shepard's incomparable dramatic imagination,Ö is edged with mystery, satire, fantasy, parody, and tongue-not-quite-in-cheek nostalgia for the Old West and for old Westerns. In other words, we are in Shepard country - a poet's country. There is much action; there is a lot of comedy and suffering, too; and many thoughts - witty and serious - are expressed.
Harold Clurman, The Nation, (January 6, 1976):
Shepard is one of the better of our young free-wheeling playwrights. His writing is vernacularly colorful, at moments even eloquent; he possesses an extravagant imagination. There is in him an old-time American saltiness, a quasi-mysticism mixed with a present-day metropolitan vulgarity that manages to be rather sympathetic. He has little discipline, a certain wildness is inherent in his dramatic behavior and very few of his plays hold together. "Geography of a Horse Dreamer" is not his best work, but there is a personal authenticity in it.