Stories of sheriffs in the wild west had their heyday in the early 1900s. Tales of men bringing the law to lawless lands, good-hearted rogues, and mad killers alike, all touting guns and riding on horseback for fortune and fame.
But real-life law stories hit harder. Buford Pusser was the sheriff of Tennessee during one of its most lawless and dangerous periods, the 1960s.
From the Dixie Mafia to state-fleeing long-distance criminals, he stopped them all and shot a few. He was the best sheriff Tennessee ever had. And the criminals wanted him dead.
One day his life was thrown for a loop. A shooter pulled up to his car and shot through the window, leaving Buford with holes through his jaw, miraculously surviving, and his wife Pauline dead.
That spurred a fit of rage and vengeance so great that it mirrors the silver screen’s Wild West tales. Buford would go rogue from the law and hunt for the killers himself in an inspiring tirade of a man gone wild.
10 Buford The Bull
Buford Pusser was born in 1937. He grew through high school to a whopping 6 foot 6 inches and joined the Marines, though he was discharged due to asthma.
Undeterred, he moved to Chicago at 20 and became a local wrestler named Buford The Bull for his colossal frame and red freckles.
Eventually, home called to him, and he moved back with his wife Pauline to take over his father’s position as the Adamsville police chief.
9 The War On Southern Crime
The Dixie Mafia, a remnant of the bootlegger era in the deep south, was one of Buford’s primary targets.
He promptly arrested and led the elimination of many of their members and members of the State Line Mob that controlled the flow of illegal goods and traffic between Mississippi and Tennessee. He became renowned as a hero at a young age for his relentless war against crime.