Buford Hayse Pusser (Buford Hayse Pusser)

Buford Hayse Pusser

Folk Figure. He was the Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, and subject of the movie “Walking Tall” (1973), in which his unusual methods of law enforcement brought him popular renown. Born in McNairy County, Tennessee, his father was the Adamsville, Tennessee Chief of Police. In 1956, he graduated from Adamsville High School, where he excelled on the school’s football and basketball varsity teams. Shortly after graduating from high school, he enlisted into the United States Marine Corps, and was later discharged due to asthma. In 1962, his father retired as Adamsville Chief of Police due to health problems, and Buford was hired as constable for the Adamsville Police. Two years later, he was elected Sheriff of McNairy County. Discovering that organized crime was running prostitution, illegal alcohol and corruption throughout the county, he determined to eliminate it. This resulted in several attempts on his life, and he reacted by enacting more strict measures than the men sent against him. He was shot eight times, knifed seven times, and once fought off six men trying to kill him, sending three to the hospital and jailing the other three. In 1965, he destroyed 87 whiskey stills alone. On August 12, 1967, he and his wife, Pauline, were ambushed while driving on the local New Hope Road; Pauline was killed, and Buford had his jaw shot off; the assailants were never discovered. Buford Pusser retired as Sheriff in 1970, and he became famous with the movie “Walking Tall” (1973), which highlighted his efforts to eliminate crime and corruption in the county. On August 21, 1974, he attended the McNairy County Fair, and while returning home to Adamsville, his car suddenly shot off the road where it crashed and burned, killing him instantly. Since his death, several additional movies have been made, highlighting Pusser’s career, including “Walking Tall, Part 2” (1975), “Walking Tall, The Final Chapter” (1977), and “Walking Tall” (1981). In 2000, Highway 64 was named the Buford Pusser Highway, in his honor. A memorial was erected to him on the spot where he had his fatal accident. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)  Family links:  Parents:  Carl Ulysses Pusser (1906 – 1978)  Helen Pusser (1908 – 1987)  Spouse:  Pauline Mullins Pusser (1932 – 1967)  Children:  Diane Vance Mullins (1950 – 2010)*  Siblings:  John Howard Pusser (1929 – 1994)*  Gailya Pusser Davis (1933 – 2004)*  Buford Hayse Pusser (1937 – 1974) *Calculated relationshipCause of death: Auto accident


  • December, 12, 1937
  • USA


  • August, 08, 1974
  • USA

Cause of Death

  • Auto accident


  • Adamsville War Memorial Park
  • Tennessee
  • USA

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