Alfred Chamberlain (Elliot Gould) used to be a successful photographer, but a habit of doctoring photographs to remove people from them has led him to be out of work and down on his luck. His passion for life is gone. He then meets Patsy Newquist (Marcia Rodd), who decides that it's her mission to turn him around and mold him into, as she puts it, "a strong, vital, self-assured man, that I can protect and take care of." When she takes him home to meet her parents (Vincent Gardenia and Elizabeth Wilson), things go awry. It is New York in the early 1970s and an epidemic of random shootings and violence is sweeping the city. Eventually, Alfred realizes that the only sane response to an insane world is to go insane yourself.