Most of the play takes place in a seedy motel room. Lonely cocktail waitress Agnes lives there, hiding from her violent ex-con ex-husband Jerry Goss. One night, her lesbian biker friend R.C. introduces her to Peter, a Gulf War veteran who might be AWOL. She gets involved with Peter, who grows increasingly paranoid about the war in Iraq, UFOs, the Oklahoma City bombing, cult suicides, and then secret government experiments on soldiers — eventually drawing Agnes into his delusions. The play deals with the issues of love, paranoia, conspiracy theories, and Agnes' slow descent into insanity under Peter's influence.
Amanda Plummer resigned from the Off-Broadway premiere 24 hours before its February 21 start date. A notice in the theater box office warned that the show contained nudity, violence and cigarette smoking.
A film version of the play was released in 2006 from Lionsgate. It was directed by William Friedkin, and starred Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr and Michael Shannon. Friedkin contacted Tracy Letts after having seen the play, and they cooperated on a screen adaptation. Friedkin described the film as "the most intense piece of work I've ever done". Michael Shannon had played the part on stage. Lionsgate wanted to cast an actor with more name recognition, but Friedkin was determined to have Shannon perform in the film, saying he brought a unique quality to the part.