"The Indian in the Cupboard" tells the story of Omri, a 9-year-old boy who discovers that a cupboard has the magical power to bring his plastic toys to life. Slowly, Omri befriends Little Bear, a Native American warrior who demands food, shelter and company.
The plot is complicated by Omri's friend Patrick, who gifts him with a plastic cowboy figurine. Omri realizes that the two would fight and declines the gift, eventually leading to his reveal of the cupboard's magical properties. Patrick wants the cowboy brought to life as well and, as Omri knew, the two fight. However, eventually they befriend each other.
In 1995, Sony Pictures adapted the novel into a movie. While minor details changed and were edited for a younger audience, the movie's producers and directors sought to explore the same themes as the novel, focusing on adolescence, change and growth. While Omri exerts absolute power over Little Bear, he is similarly powerless in his own world because of his youth; both he and Little Bear struggle to assert themselves as "small people in a big world." Both the book and the film emphasize how Omri and Little Bear learn from each other and grow to care for each other, despite the differences in their backgrounds.