Billy Jack is a half-Indian ex-Green Beret veteran and karate expert. Damaged by the Vietnam War he now spends his time roaming the Arizona desert.
Circumstances lead to him helping the local Freedom School – a multi-racial halfway house and haven for runaways, orphans, and disturbed or abused kids – which is suffering antagonism from local citizens.
The town is a haven for some pretty ugly citizens. When the daughter of the deputy sheriff tells him she’s pregnant, he beats her up. She runs away and is taken by Billy Jack to the school. One of the town’s leading citizens, his reprobate son, the girl’s father and several cohorts then take to violence to get the girl back.
Directing himself (under the name of TC Frank), Tom Laughlin also starred in what was very much a family affair (co-star and co-scriptwriter Delores Taylor was Laughlin’s wife).
Billy Jack achieved a surprisingly good return at the box office in spite of its humble origins and its perverted approach of preaching peace through violence. The film began life at AIP but was moved to Fox and then to Warner. Laughlin took it back from Warner in 1973 and made it a very profitable cult hit.
Deputy Sheriff Mike
TC Frank (Tom Laughlin)