In The Indian in the Cupboard, a young boy named Omri finds out that he can bring plastic figurines to life using a magic key and cupboard. At first, Omri thinks that it is magic and that the figure isn’t real, but he soon finds out that he is transporting the character from an actual historical event.
The central conflict in the story is Omri and his friend Patrick recognizing the severity of the situation they are participating in—the figurines they play with are real people that can be hurt or even killed. Omri learns the danger of bringing the figurines to life, but Patrick doesn’t really trust him until he brings back a cowboy, and the two figures—the cowboy and the Indian—fight.
Omri and Patrick have to learn the power they are meddling with the hard way when Boone, the cowboy, is shot by Little Bear, the Indian. They have to work to solve the problem by bringing back other figures to help cure them, but the reality of the situation is impressed on them the hard way. After their ordeal, they resolve not to use the magic of the cupboard again.