A snake crawling through the desert is caught by a longhaired hippie with a radio. A young woman in yellow pants walks through Craters of the Moon, Idaho, descending into a vented metal chamber buried in the rock. Inside, she removes her boots and yellow pants and places them along with a clipboard into a metal box beneath a machine with glowing colored buttons, teleporting herself into a large, clinical room where she puts her yellow pants back on, throws her boots in the corner and exits to have a muted water-cooler conversation about the poor quality of chocolate milk with Keith Carradine.
So begins Idaho Transfer (1973), Peter Fonda's second directorial effort, a science-fiction story about a group of twentysomething scientists who travel to the future to repopulate the earth after a catastrophe kills all human life, but find themselves overcome by mounting entropy from all corners. The cast are almost all non-actors and their muted, minimalist performances make even the naturalistic acting in the films of Larry Clark and later Gus Van Sant seem extravagant. Despite the beautiful Southwestern scenery, the tone is so bleak and hopeless and the ending so black it trumps even L.Q. Jones' A Boy And His Dog (1975).
Fonda seems to have taken to heart his character's cryptic summation at the end of Easy Rider (1969) -- “We blew it." Idaho Transfer approaches existential doom not with Hollywood-style heroism but with a (however understated) mess of desperation, confusion and madness, a point of view that Fonda seems to maintain to this day, given his recent comments to the press. It's not for nothing the UK edition of the film (presented in the link above) was retitled Deranged.