Tom Laughlin is
Billy Jack in the 1971
movie of the same name. Laughlin also wrote and directed this tale of the conflict between the intolerant
, horse-killing redneck
s of a small town
and the beautiful peace
students of the nearby free school. Into this fray steps Billy Jack: a half-Indian
former Green Beret
and martial artist
who constantly struggles to overcome his violent
The result is a surreal and schizophrenic viewing experience as painfully heavy-handed messages of peace and love suddenly give way to outbursts of brutal violence as Billy Jack beats nearly everyone in town unconscious with his feet. In the end Billy Jack cannot escape the Man, but he returned in The Trial of Billy Jack and again in Billy Jack Goes To Washington - a film that was so abysmally bad that it was never released in theaters, and only recently became available on video.
The character first appeared in Laughlin's Born Losers. The main title theme of Billy Jack, "One Tin Soldier (The Legend Of Billy Jack)", was a hit for Coven.