Karen Braden (Kelley Bohanon) is a troubled teen — an outpatient at mental health clinics — who is suddenly brought by her father George and her sister Isa into a government project stationed near the Craters of the Moon lava fields in Idaho. The project has been commissioned to develop matter transference, but has made a greater leap: the scientists have developed a pair of time machines, and have discovered that a mysterious impending ecological catastrophe will wipe out civilization. Other government entities seek to shut down the project as the idealistic scientists attempt to keep the nature of their discovery a secret.
The use of the transfer devices has deleterious effects upon the health of the travelers. Adults “not much older than 20″ are unable to survive the journey for long, as apparently their kidneys will begin to hemorrhage. Thus, the scientists have decided to send young people 56 years into the future in order to build a new civilization.
On the return trip from her orientation transfer, Karen accidentally kills her sister. Unable to find immediate help, she flees to the future again, where she becomes withdrawn despite the sympathies of the arriving young researchers.
After the time machines are taken offline by the government, the young researchers hike toward Portland, Oregon, but certain revelations do not bode well for the project’s goals. Increasingly disheartened, Karen hikes back to the transfer station, where she is attacked by another researcher who has been driven mad by what she has discovered. Karen uses the time machine to escape and returns to a point farther in the future, where she encounters the residents of that time.
Most of the cast were unknowns who did not not go further in the motion picture industry. The exceptions are noted.
- Kelley Bohanon as Karen Braden
- Bohanon’s only other screen role was a bit part in the 1971 film The Christian Licorice Store.
- Kevin Hearst as Ronald
- Caroline Hildebrand as Isa Braden
- Keith Carradine as Arthur
- Carradine had already appeared in three films, McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), A Gunfight (1971), and Emperor of the North Pole (1973). He has gone on to appear in dozens of other films and television productions.
- Ted D’Arms as George Braden
- D’Arms would go on to appear in a dozen other films over the next thirty years, perform voice work for video games, and work as a photographer.
- Judy Motulsky as Judy (as Judy Motolsky)
- Motulsky would go on to appear in The Big Bus (1976), Spawn of the Slithis (1978) and an episode of the The Waltons.
- Idaho Transfer at the Internet Movie Database
- Idaho Transfer at Allmovie
- “Terminal Station” Time review by Jay Cocks (December 3, 1973)
- Idaho Transfer in-depth review at Million Monkey Theater
- Unknownmovies.com review