Idaho Transfer

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Idaho Transfer
Karen at the transfer station;
Cover of the Dutch VHS release
Directed byPeter Fonda
Produced byWilliam Hayward
Anthony Mazzola
Written byThomas Matthiesen
StarringKelley Bohanon
Kevin Hearst
Dale Hopkins
Keith Carradine
Music byBruce Langhorne
CinematographyBruce Logan
Edited byChuck McClelland
Distributed byCinemation Industries
Release date
  • June 15, 1973 (1973-06-15)
Running time
86 mins
CountryUnited States

Idaho Transfer is a 1973 science fiction film directed by Peter Fonda. It stars Kelley Bohanon,[1] Kevin Hearst, Dale Hopkins, and Keith Carradine.

It is the only film Fonda directed in which he did not appear.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Teenager Karen Braden (Kelley Bohanon) is a troubled mental hospital outpatient who is taken by her father George and sister Isa to a government facility near the Craters of the Moon lava fields in Idaho. The project there was commissioned to develop matter transference, but made a different discovery: time travel. They also discovered that a mysterious ecological catastrophe will soon wipe out civilization.

The time travel process has negative health effects, though. Adults "not much older than 20" are unable to survive for long, as their kidneys hemorrhage shortly after the experience. So the scientists decide to only send young people 56 years into the future so they can build a new civilization.

After the government takes over the project, the transfer machines are turned off, trapping a large number of project members in the future. Now trapped, they begin exploring the future world. The last survivor from the project is picked up by a family dressed in futuristic clothing. She is placed alive in the trunk of their car, ostensibly to be used as fuel. The small girl in the back seat asks what will happen when they run out of them (people from the past), "Will we have to use each other, then?"


Most of the cast were unknowns who did not go further in the motion picture industry.

  • Kelley Bohanon as Karen Braden
  • Kevin Hearst as Ronald
  • Caroline Hildebrand as Isa Braden
  • Keith Carradine as Arthur
  • Ted D'Arms as George Braden
  • Judy Motulsky as Judy (as Judy Motolsky)
  • Dale Hopkins as Leslie
  • Fred Seagraves as Dr. Lewis
  • Joe Newman as Cleve
  • Susan Kelly as Nurse Nora
  • Meridith Hull as Jennifer
  • Roy B. Ayers as Elgin (as Roy Ayers)
  • Kim Casper as Anne
  • Debbie Scott as Joanna
  • Devin Burke as Michael
  • Earl Crabb as Evans


The film was produced by Peter Fonda's Pando Company,[3] in association with Marrianne Santas; it was copyrighted to Kathleen Film Production Company in 1973. Principal shooting took place in Arco, Idaho, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, and Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park.[4] Castmember Earl Crabb also cites Bellevue, Washington as a location.[5]

The end credits conclude with the Latin phrase "Esto Perpetua". Translated, it means "Let it be perpetual" or "It is forever"; appropriate for a time travel film, it is also the motto of the state of Idaho.[6] Fonda either neglected, or did not wish to renew his rights on this film, and according to several sources, the movie passed into Public Domain.


Fonda said "The film was in release for only three weeks when the distributor (Cinemation) went bankrupt. The banks had the film for years. Luckily, I was able to retain the rights."[7]

Reception of Idaho Transfer has been mixed. Time described it as a "very deliberate and closely controlled film graced with a slow, severe beauty that makes its quiet edge of panic all the more chilling",[8] whereas Jay Robert Nash in The Motion Picture Guide declares it a "useless piece of drivel about an obnoxious group of teens".[4]

While the film's unprofessional acting is pointed out by nearly all critics, its overall naturalist technique was praised at the time.[citation needed]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Kelly Bohanon". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-02-29. The IMDb lists her first name with the spelling "Kelly". It is spelled "Kelley" in the credits of the film.
  2. ^ Vagg, Stephen (October 26, 2019). "Peter Fonda – 10 Phases of Acting". Filmink.
  3. ^ "Idaho Transfer". Retrieved 2008-02-28.[dead link]
  4. ^ a b Tom Trusky, Director (11 January 2008). "Howard Anderson Idaho Film Archive". Hemingway Western Studies Center, Boise State University. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  5. ^ Earl Crabb. "The Great Humbead - odds and ends". Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  6. ^ "Idaho State Motto". June 10, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  7. ^ Goldman, Lowell (Fall 1990). "Peter Fonda: I Know What It's Like to Be Dead". Psychotronic Video. No. 7. p. 35.
  8. ^ Jay Cocks (December 3, 1973). "Terminal Station". Time: 75–76.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]