The Master Gunfighter (1975)
Tagline: One of the Most Beautiful Westerns Ever
"This western depicting the genocide of the peaceful Chumash Indians in California, starring Tom Laughlin in his only non-Billy Jack role after making Billy Jack, will be available for the first time ever on home video" from the official Billy Jack website www.BillyJack.com
Leonard Maltin says this story of "an intense gunfighter who hates to kill but does it just the same" is based on the Japanese samuri film "Goyokin" (1969). As with most of Laughlin's film, the distribution of "Master Gunfighter" was not without its problems.
The Hollywood Hall of Shame by Harry & Michael Medved says:
Billy Jack's off his normal winning form in Tom Laughlin's absurdly indulgent paean to himself. Ron O'Neal (Superfly) turns up during our hero's Mexican wanderings to provide spiritual enlightenment on the nature of violence and the meaning of life. Laughlin spent $3,500,000 of his own money to produce this horrible home movie, then blew another $3,750,000 on a series of angry ads attacking critics (who unanimously hated his film) as "frustrated writers who failed to make it in show business. This was just 3 years after Billy Jack, which the Medveds described as First of the celebrated Tom Laughlin ego trips, in which he creates the enduring character of a karate-kicking, bone crunching, pacifist Indian. (I guess they didn't see the preceeding Born Losers)
* SCRIPT: Tom Laughlin
* PRODUCER: Joe Cramer, DIRECTOR: Frank Laughlin
* CAST: Tom Laughlin, Ron O'Neil, Barbara Carrera, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Geo Anne Sosa, Victor Campos.
* Filmed on location along the California coast. 121 minutes, Rated PG
"Master Gunfighter" availability on video and on DVD from Amazon.com
Additional information on this & all the Billy Jack movies can be seen at the official website: BillyJack.com
© Bill Laidlaw. All Rights Reserved. Plagerized stuff clearly marked