Billy Jack, a half-breed American Indian who preaches peace but is skilled at using martial arts for violence, goes on trial for involuntary manslaughter because he accidentally killed a redneck while protecting Freedom School. He offers a rambling indictment of local officials, racism, and Nixon from the stand and gets a 5-to-15 year sentence. While he's in prison, the school gets increased funding and grows into a complex that includes a TV station, newspaper, expanded class curriculum, and a child abuse center. One of the children helped at the center is a boy whose father cut off his hand in a rage. Free again after four years, Billy Jack has some wild spirit visions, but runs into more trouble with the local townspeople and cops, who hate freedom-loving hippies and Indians. The pressure builds to a violent
climax. Writer, director, and actor Tom Laughlin first introduced his oddball character in the 1967 film "Born Losers," brought him to the fore in 1971's "Billy Jack" (which cost $800,000 to make and grossed $65 million), and pulled out all the stops with this 1974 sequel, cowritten with his costar and wife, Delores Taylor. It lasts more than three hours, and has some lovely location shooting in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, but indulges in much heart-on-sleeve silliness.
This report prepared by David Loftus