The world has been devastated by a nuclear holocaust, causing the Earth to tilt on its axis bringing vast meteorological chaos. As the weather stabilises, mutated insects start to emerge, preying on the survivors.
Luckily, the remaining crew at a US Air Force bomb shelter in the Mojave Desert picks up radio signals coming from Albany, New York.
The crew’s commander, Major Eugene Denton (George Peppard) unveils two armoured vehicles he has constructed and announces a plan to cross “Damnation Alley”, the hundred-mile-wide strip between areas of radiation hazard, to join the other survivors.
They set off, taking on two civilians – a novice singer they find in the ruins of Las Vegas and a wild teenager (Jackie Earle Haley) – along the way.
Hopefully, their specially built vehicles will protect them against the freakish weather, mutated plant and animal life, giant cockroaches, crazed survivalists, and other dangers.
Arguably the biggest star of the movie is the specially constructed masterpiece of futuristic vehicular design, the Land Master – designed by Academy Award-winning production designer Preston Ames and Dean Jeffries of Jeffries Automotive Styling.
The 35-foot long Land Master weighed 21,800 pounds and was over 12 feet tall. Powered by a 391 Ford truck industrial engine, the vehicle had 12 wheels in 4 triangle-shaped clusters of 3 wheels each, making it capable of traversing the most difficult of terrains.
Divided into a front and rear unit, the vehicle turned from its midsection using two hydraulic cylinders and, on uneven ground, the two units rolled and twisted independently.
20th Century Fox lavished $17 million on the film, which was loosely based on a 1969 Roger Zelazny novel.
Major Eugene Denton
Jackie Earle Haley
Mark L. Taylor