During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, General Leslie Groves and Colonel Lomax of the United States Army wanted to recruit a scientist to build a time machine, to prevent the crisis from ever happening. After they rejected their first choice, Doctor Emmett Brown, believing that he was an insurance thief after his his mansion burned down, they hired Professor Marcus Irving and set him up with a laboratory at Oak Ridge.
Marcus Irving worked tirelessly to build a time machine, but was never able to solve the problem with excess flux energy. After twenty two years of working alone at his Oak Ridge lab, Irving never was able to develop more than a partially working prototype. In January 1984 his temporal research program was terminated. He researched the project and discovered that he wasn't the first choice. He became jealous and angry at Doc Brown, as he felt that he wasted decades of his life by not taking the project. Thus, he went to Hill Valley, California with a partially working Yugo time machine, to confront Doc.