Billy Jack Story-of-the-Week Contest: Week 2

Thanks to all of you that participated in our very first week!

Fully Restored

Inaugural winner:

Laurie Gaucher from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Congratulations, Laurie! And thank you for the wonderful story. Your new copy of the fully-restored ‘Billy Jack’ is on its way to you.

How can folks win this week’s contest? Submit your story in the comments section below. The story with the most votes (yes, you can tell your family and friends to vote for you, but each person can vote only onece) at the end of the week wins. It’s pretty simple.

The winners of the weekly contest are automatically entered into finals where stories will be chosen to include in the documentary*.

Story Suggestions:

  • something that moved you from the film
  • something in your life that echoed a scene or message from the film
  • how the film impacted you or someone you know
  • a lesson you learned from watching the film
  • a funny story surrounding going to or watching the film
  • your memory of how widespread conversation about the film was at the time
  • anything that comes to mind when you think of ‘Billy Jack’

We want to hear them all. No story too simple. No story too complex.

Post your story now (below) and tell your family and friends to vote. Next Monday we could be shipping a brand-new ‘Billy Jack’ Blu-ray to you!

*In case you haven’t noticed elsewhere on the site, we’re producing a documentary about the making of ‘Billy Jack‘, and the insane story behind how it came to be. Part of the documentary will feature folks who saw the movie, and their stories of how the film impacted them. In order to begin the process of gathering those stories, we’re running a contest here on the site. To enter, simply post your story in the comment section below.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS:

  1. BY POSTING YOUR STORY, YOU AGREE TO ALLOW BILLY JACK RIGHTS, LLC., TO USE YOUR STORY IN WHOLE OR IN PART IN ANY MEDIA, IN ANY WAY, WITHOUT COMPENSATION.
  2. Billy Jack Rights, LLC., reserves the right to select stories that do not win a weekly or year-end contest. So we will be reading all the submissions. Just because you don’t get the most votes doesn’t mean your story is out.
21 Responses to Billy Jack Story-of-the-Week Contest: Week 2
  1. Billy Jack was one of the most profound films for me growing up & still is, to this day. I am glad I am able to share this amazing film with my daughter. We just watched it yesterday, before I knew the news of Tom’s passing. I wish I could have told him just how strongly I feel about this film & Trial. Perhaps Delores will see this & know at least. I am so grateful they made these films. I even wanted to go to the Freedom School as a kid. Goodbye Billy… You will forever live on in our hearts!

    Current score: 0

  2. As a young boy I saw Billy Jack and was captivated by the martial arts in the movie. Being small of stature I was often times the target of bullies and gangs. I took up the study of martial arts when I was 13 in 1972. It wasn’t until 1977 that I was able to find a Hapkido Master Moo Young Kang. Little did I know that my master was a fellow Hapkido student where Bong Soo Han studied. He was the choreographer and stunt double for Billy Jack and I have read Mr. Laughlin was also his student.I always fashioned myself after the Billy Jack character standing up for the underdog.I have studied Hapkido with the same Master every since. I opened my own school in 1991 and have had thousands of students pass through and many have become Black Belts. I now have 26 active Black Belts and every student who has come through the doors owes a debt of gratitude to Tom Laughlin and Billy Jack. Those movies set me on my path. Billys standing up for those who could not stand on their own accounts for the 9th Code of ethics(from the 10 Martial Arts Code Of Ethics) at our school ” Be Helpful To The Weak”. I constantly hear back from students who leave to find their path and they give constant affirmations that Billy Jacks values will live forever. My condolences to the Laughlin family. How lucky you were to live beside such a great man.
    Grandmaster Daniel J. Black
    7th Degree Black Belt Hapkido
    World Martial Arts Academy
    Westerville Ohio.
    http://www.kickhigh.org
    PS Visit our site and look at the pictures of the students and imagine them with Billys hat. Its in their hearts!!!!

    Current score: 0

  3. Bob Handegan

    I first saw billy Jack in the theaters when I was 11. My Grandfather was the ticket taker at the theater and I went with him every friday and sat night. I watched Billy Jack well over 200 times as a child and bought a copy on VHS when first released for 79.95.
    Billy Jack CHANGED my life….I began studing the Martial Arts and have continued for 40 years. It has made me the man I am and my sons the men they are…Taught me that winning and laosing was not the important thing. It was STANDING up for whats right that made you a man !
    On a side note, I made a western called ‘The Showdown” that was released in 2009….I normally talk really fast…The director would repeatedly say ” Billy Jack voice Bob” because he had heard me recite the lines so many times and I always slowed down and said them clearly
    Would LOVE to do a REMAKE of The Born Losers !!

    Current score: 1

  4. Luiz Mendes

    Gostaria de adquirir o DVD dos filmes : Billy Jack e O Julgamento de Billy Jack, dublado em português ou legendado.

    Current score: 0

  5. Jim

    Is it just me or was that Tom Laughlin on the horse next to Ken Tobey when they corraled the wild horses at the beginning of the movie? This is when Posner was trying to get Bernard to shoot. Take a good look

    Current score: 0

  6. brenda faye Locklear

    Wish I could meet all y’all in person Billy I’m natvie American still today we are threat to the nation I’m proud of who I am I was 10 living at a iphange when I first saw the movie love Evert bit of it u changed my life I wanted to kill myself back than cause it hurt the children telling me I will never be lived cause I was a savage than I meet u that night on that wide screen a art of u became my gaurdung angle now I know it wasn’t nothing bout me being which I am it was bout people couldn’t face the fact that we are human just like them no matter what we are here to stay and we will all ways be here so thanks Billy treasea and tour daughter I’m alive cause of y’all have a wonderful family grand children my love goes out to y’all thanks from the bottom of my heart

    Current score: 1

  7. brenda faye Locklear

    I just love the movie trail of Billy Jack also can’t get enough of it

    Current score: 1

  8. Kathryn Goldsmith

    Omg

    Current score: 0

  9. In 1972 I was in 6th grade in Detroit and saw Billy Jack for the first time. I was being bullied at school by a kid twice my size who would threaten to kill me every day, so I would have to find new ways to leave school and sneak home. It was terrifying. After seeing the movie I gained a new confidence and decided I was done being hassled by the kid. He cornered me after school and said “I’m going to kick your ass”. I looked him right in the eye just like Billy Jack would have and said “Let’s do it”. I dropped my books and just stood there, half ready to throw up but burning with rage inside. The kid’s threats turned out to be just that and he backed away saying “he was just kidding”. Billy Jack made me believe in the underdog and the little guy and I share that philosophy to this day in the films I work on. I was also greatly moved by the song “One Tin Solder” and remember having a lump in my throat and tears coming down my face as the song lifted and the kids stood tall for their hero Billy Jack. It was a pivotal influence on how music can impact film and set the standard to the this day. I work in the film and music business now and have referenced this film several times. I hope to see it again one day in a theater.
    Sincerely,

    Lindsay

    Current score: 1

  10. Mike Meehan

    I was flipping through the TV channels on Sunday up here in Canada (350 channels and nothing on as usual) and what do I find, Billy Jack. I went are you kidding me!! This movie was my coming of age film, it made me think. I was 15 when I saw it the first time, hell we must have gone back 3 or 4 times to see it. We all went to see it as a group, basicaly because it was going to be this “kick ass Kung Fu movie”, but when it was over, and we talked about it on the way home, everyone I was with had comments like ‘WOW, did you see Billy Jack kick all those guys a@#$s, and I said yea but did you see that cute girl playing the guitar (yea I was 15 and had a crush on Carol just like every boy under 16 did). Seriously though, for me that movie will always represent standing up for the little guy, fighting for what was right. In Alices Restraunt, Arlo Guthrie said, “if you wanna end war and stuff you gotta sing loud”. That’s what Billy Jack did for me, made me speak out loud. I’m 55 now, a child of the 60′s and 70′s. I’m a father, and grandfather’ if my wife of 29 years (yea we made it), and I taught our son anything, it was the lessons learned from one simple low budget film. Watch out for those who can’t watch out for themselves, those who may be afraid to speack out. Stand up for them, we did, and my son has, and his son will, because the message has been passed on. If everyone “sings loud enough”, people will start to listen again. I hadn’t seen Billy Jack in probably 30 or more years, it touched me the same way it did way back in 1971, and made me say to myself “yea we did it right, and we’re ok”. Seeing the movie again sent me right to the computer, which is how I found this sight, so thanks for the memories, thanks for the great photos (yea we really did dress like that, and back then I did have hair), and most of al thanks for keeping the message alive.

    Current score: 1

  11. BEth

    I was 17 and basically a runaway in new orleans (lived in columbus ohio)when the movie came out. some friends took me to see it and i can’t express how it touched me….got me fired up and emotional…for the next 3 nights i went back again and again taking different people with me each time…to date i have seen the movie over 25 times….i could probably repeat most of it verbatim…loved it then and will always love it

    Current score: 0

  12. Bill Kutz

    As a young man, I came back from Vietnam very jaded. I was in the 76th Ranger Battalion attached to the 101st Airborne out of Khe Sanh.
    I went to the movie because a friend of mine said she really enjoyed it and wanted to see it again. She knew I had always called myself a Lakota, and she said it actually did justice to the ways the American Indians have been treated. You have to remember that some of my friends thought the movie “A man called horse”, that came out the year before, was a good movie. To me the horse movie was funny. I was raised by my Grandmother who was full Lakota, and was 5 years old when the battle of Custer took place. She brought me up speaking Lakota and English, so when in that movie people were saying the Indians were singing a sacred song, and I knew it was a song that was taught to children as a lullaby, I had to laugh.
    Well I let her talk me into going, I ended up going 12 times so I could remember it almost word for word. It changed my way of looking at the Whites. At one point Billy said “Being an Indian isn’t a matter of blood, but a way of life” it hit me that the main reason I couldn’t get pass my past, was because I was stopping me. I would sneer at the Whites because of what was done to my ancestors. I had to climb above it. In the scene where he was speaking about the thin veil that separates the ones who have passed from us, were my Grandmother’s exact words. It hit me in the head like a brick. I had to open myself up, and accept the past cannot be changed, but the future can.
    I found that a Sundance was going to be held in Montana, and had to hitch-hike to get there, but I made it. It was funny that the county Sheriff was letting us use his land, even though the Sundance was an illegal act at that time. He didn’t think we should be barred from worshiping as we wanted. He was White.
    If I never saw this movie, I never would have went to Sundance, and I never would have had the honor to dance for my tribe. I never would have meant some people that became good friends, and close to me.
    I know I am only one man, but even one man can make a difference. I heard that before I watch Billy Jack, but I did not know the true meaning of that saying. I will say because of this movie, I am a better friend, husband and father, and still I earn from the movie and book everyday.
    Now, the drugs I must take for neuropathy seem to rob me of some of my memories. It would be nice to see the movie again, but I do have the book of the movie, that I read to keep the memories in my mind.
    Smiles
    Mitakuye Oyasin,
    Bill

    Current score: 4

  13. Jerry Butler

    When I was a kid, about 8 or 9 I think, my cousin Timmy was babysitting me on a Saturday night. To my surprise, he asked me if I wanted to go to a movie. DUH! It was at night, my parents weren’t home, and this sounded like something I couldn’t pass up. I had no idea what movie we were going to as I sat on the handlebars of my Huffy while Tim peddaled. It was totally dark and we were going across town but I didn’t care. I was on an adventure that little did I know would change my life forever.
    As we locked up my bike, I couldn’t help but notice a line for the movie. I still hadn’t asked what we were seeing and now I didn’t care. There was a line to get in so this HAD to be good. We stood in line for what seemed like eternity (it always does when you’re a kid)and were finally inside. Grabbing our popcorn and soda we went to sit down…in a TOTALLY packed theater. Just what exactly had Tim gotten me into? The only movies I saw in packed theaters at this age were Disney films. What was going on here…?
    Some 90 minutes later my life had been changed. I had just seen the greatest movie in the WORLD!! I couldn’t believe it! This Billy Jack guy blew me away with what he could do! Living in North Dakota had always enlightened me to some aspects of Native American culture, but the Snake dance was something new to me.
    The following Monday, I told my friends what had happened over the weekend. Saturday couldn’t come fast enough for us. We headed to the theater, paid our admission, and sat there all afternoon watching BILLY JACK over and over again. Then, on the following weekend, we all headed to the theater, paid our admission, and sat there all afternoon watching BILLY JACK over and over again….I can’t tell you how many times we had done this, just that it was the same every Saturday for as long as the movie was in town.
    To this day this movie still affects me. I think back upon it and have some very fond memories of my childhood. I collected everything I could related to BILLY JACK and still have most of it. If ever a movie needed to be remade for the newer generation, BILLY JACK is the one. Why do they insist on remaking movies that aren’t that old so they don’t need to be redone? But in this day and age if ever we needed BILLY JACK back on the big screen, this would be it.

    Current score: 1

  14. The Movie Billy Jack completely changed my life. I actually snuck in to the drive in theatre taht I saw it at. But I was a young scrawny nerd who was the official poster boy for being beat up by the bullies once a week. I became very shy and introverted with no friends.

    I was amazed at the strength and courage of Billy Jack, his patriotism to the origianl founders of this country and his belief in freedom and justice for all and how fearless he was to his enemies. I was changed after that day and sought a great martial arts school and began to rebuild my life. I still credit much of my success today to that movie touching me so deeply.

    I think the movie is more relevant today than when it was originally released and a new generation really needs the message of Billy Jack.

    Much love to Tom and Delores for making these movies.

    Current score: 1

  15. margarita

    Hello there … Hmm … I just wanted to say that I was an exchange student from Colombia in 1971 and I got to see Billiy Jack in Columbus, Ohio. I remember that my english was not very good then, yet I totally understood the movie and was very moved by it … the song was amazing … I’m glad to have the lyrics and sing it now … so a few days ago we got to see the movie through netflix and it was incredible to see it … thanks for doing it and for the message that you have been putting out there … I however have a question I kind of remember the snake ceremony and somehow there are some images of more people dancing with the snakes … as if it was a snake ceremony from native america … am I remembering correctly? Thank you for your time to answer …
    with honor from Apache territory
    Margarita acosta

    Current score: 0

  16. I have been a part of the entertainment business myself for more than 35 years, as an award-winning singer/songwriter who has enjoyed more than my share of TV and stage time with some of the top names in the music world. One of them – Kenny Rogers – who would present me with an award almost 20 years later, first crossed my path as a guest in a movie theater where I worked as a doorman. It was during that same time that the film “The Trial of Billy Jack” was one of four screens on the side that I worked.

    I was immediately riveted by the story, despite its 3 hour length, and because I worked for UA Four Theatre, I was able to do what few people were able to do in the 1970s – I saw the film more than nine times from beginning to end. It was one of the most powerful cinematic experiences I had ever had at the time, as I began to explore my own Native American heritage through my great-grandfather, Milton Leroy Tripp. I was also on a spiritual journey of my own then, seeking some of the same answers to the purpose of my life that Tom’s “Billy Jack” was seeking in the film.

    As a musician, the music and songs in the film immediately captured my attention, and I spent weeks unable to think about anything else except “The Trial of Billy Jack.” To this day, I still have the soundtrack album in my extensive collection. No film I had ever seen back then had the same effect on me, touching me on so many different levels. In part because of the story in this film, and the spirit it inspired in me, I went on to participate in Werner Erhard’s est Training, which was a life-altering experience that I would equate to Billy Jack’s snake ceremony in the second film.

    The timing of these events surrounding the restoration and acknowledgement of these films could not be more perfect for me. I have just learned that my great-great-grandfather – who was listed with the European name Milton Adam Tripp – was in fact a full-blooded Cherokee man who took the name after marrying an English woman to keep from losing his land. The government would have taken it from him otherwise, a frequent problem for Cherokees trying to live new lives in the late 19th century. My search for his tribal name continues.

    But now I know my heritage. I am Cherokee. So when I get to see the newly released Billy Jack films again, I will feel a special connection to these gripping stories. And when I recall those days as a movie theater doorman, watching “The Trial of Billy Jack” for hours on end….I will feel young again.

    Current score: 2

  17. Just a little matter to clear up …. Laurie Gaucher is a “MAN” ! Thank you.

    Mr. Laurie Gaucher

    Current score: 1

  18. As a young man born and beginning my life in the mid 1970′s, I was profoundly impacted by Billy Jack. In my family, children were very limited on the media we were allowed to view.

    I remember, even as a very young boy sneaking away and watching Billy Jack and being enamored by it.

    I am a multi-generation native of Arizona from a family of people whom had some integral roles in combating bigotry and inequities in the state. It was very cool to have our (at the time) small state to be included in an iconic film.

    These were things I learned as an adult which, ironically was when I was re-introduced to Billy Jack via DVD. I’m sure that “the air” of my families attitudes is what attracted me to Billy Jack in the first place. I’m sure that Billy Jack was an instrumental in helping form the person I am today and how I view the world.

    The fact that its good to hold onto what’s important and not let go, even in the face of adversity. That discipline and purpose outweighs the minor fulfillment of a “lemming” type lifestyle really gripped me early on.

    Currently, I am encouraging many suto-adopted children of mine and the one I have biologically to follow the paths that are good for the world and that interest them. Along with many lessons in tolerance.

    Also, I am building a mini-ranch with much the same purpose as the one depicted in the movie. Its slow going as many dreams are.

    I can’t give all the credit to Billy Jack, in all fairness to the many wonderful people, nature and things that have inspired my life thus far yet, Billy Jack was a major influence on me from the time I was a toddler. It will always have a fond place in my heart along with my love of the arts, sciences and true justice!

    Current score: 3

    • admin

      Thank you, Christopher. And big kudos on your efforts.

      Current score: 0

  19. Also, when I went to Texas Tech I had a lot of friends that were American Indian. One friend was Yaqui and related that she lived in Prescott (Arizona) when they were filming Billy Jack. She said that there were opportunities to become extra’s on the set, but that she couldn’t due to attending college.

    Current score: 0

  20. Carlton

    I used to see The Born Losers and Billy Jack quite a bit when I was growing up in Dallas. One time I came home late from work on the weekend (while in high school in the 80′s) and got to see The Trial of Billy Jack. That was really exciting because it was hardly ever on. They always just played the first two. Also, I used to go to the library and read the book about Billy Jack. So, when it went back into production a few years back I remembered quite a bit about it. Don’t worry I’m not a fanatic about the movie anymore; but it was some of the lines in the movie helped that helped me out and kept me interested…like about mental toughness. It is interesting to see more info on you all (Frank, Theresa, and Christy). I’m the same age as the youngest.Hope Tom and Delores are doing good. Have a great week. Except I think it is really hot in California right now. Stay cool.

    Current score: 0

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