A heated meeting of students and campus groupies discussing direct political action is attended by Mark (Mark Frechette) who openly declares his willingness to die for the cause while simultaneously alienating himself from the other young radicals. He and a roommate buy hand guns.
Later Mark, gun in boot, watches as a Los Angeles policeman is fatally shot by another protester who has been tear-gassed. Mark is seen on television and without apparent premeditation steals a small plane and flies into the desert where he encounters free-loving and tolerant hippie Daria (Daria Halprin).
Daria is unexpectedly driving to Phoenix to rendezvous with her boss/lover Lee Allen (Rod Taylor). Before she meets Mark she is looking for a specific, albeit non disclosed, place and person but instead encounters a group of young boys who taunt her with sexual cat calls and deviant provocations. After she escapes the boys she is spied from the air by Mark as she fills water for the car radiator. Mark proceeds to buzz her car at one point flying only three feet over Daria as she lies face down in the desert sand.
They eventually meet at the desert shack of an old prospector-type man and then the two new lovers wander the valley, philosophize and make love at Zabriskie Point as the unusual Zabriskie formations erupt in an orgy performed by The Open Theatre (Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead provided the music for this scene).
The couple then paint Mark's plane in psychedelic colors in preparation for him to return the plane and resume life in Los Angeles. Daria pleads with Mark to remain a fugitive, travel with her and forget about returning the plane. Mark, believing that he can return the plane and evade the law successfully, flies back to Los Angeles only to be killed on the runway by a policeman after landing.
Daria learns about Marks death on the car radio, drives to Phoenix to the lavish desert home of her boss where she grieves for Mark by leaning into a drenching waterfall. A brief encounter with the Mexican maid in the home crystallizes in Daria's mind the social inequalities Mark had apparently died for. Without hesitation or goodbyes Daria leaves. But as she is driving away she stops to look back and visualize the home exploding in slow motion to the screeching sounds of Pink Floyd. The explosion apparently represents her psychological separation from corporate greed, superficiality, and racial injustice.
Only 1 word 4 this film: BEAUTIFUL.