In 1836 California, a landowner’s son (Ron O’Neal) plots to pinch a gold shipment to pay exorbitant taxes owed to the government. But the plan’s success involves slaughtering a village of Indians … which his brother-in-law, Finley (Tom Laughlin), won’t stand for. When he tries and fails to prevent the massacre, Finley ends up framed for the theft in this 1975 Western penned by Laughlin (who took a page from the Japanese samurai film Goyokin).
In the late ‘60s, former bit player and juvenile actor Tom Laughlin created a new kind of antihero and launched three low-budget films featuring Billy Jack, an enigmatic Anglo-Native American, ex-Green Beret/biker loner who used considerable martial arts skills to pound his pacifistic principles into the skulls of his adversaries. Laughlin made his screen debut in 1956, playing small parts first in These Wilder Years and then in Tea and Sympathy. The first leg of Laughlin’s career lasted through the early ‘60s, when he left Hollywood to run a Montessori preschool. He returned to movies in 1965, this time as a director, cinematographer, editor, writer, and an actor. Working on a low-budget independently of major studios and utilizing several pseudonyms on the credits — including T.C. Frank, Donald Henderson, Lloyd E. James, and Frank Laughlin — he made The Young Sinner (1965).
His alter ego, Billy Jack, made his debut in the exploitation biker pic Born Losers. In 1971, Laughlin released… read more