He wrestled and defeated a live grizzly bear. He led a violent but successful campaign against moonshiners, gamblers, prostitutes and organized crime figures. His unusual methods of law enforcement earned him notoriety. He became a local legend for his heroics and at the same time gained dangerous enemies.

This was the man - Buford Pusser the man who became the target of many assassination attempts - one of which took the life of his wife and left him emotionally and physically scarred. The man who eventually became the subject of three major motion pictures telling about his intriguing life and tragic death.

  • Born: December 12, 1937 at finger in Mcairy County, Tennessee
  • Family: Parents - Carl and Helen Pusser, Brother - John Howard Pusser, Sister Gaylia Pusser Davis; Daughter - Dwana.
  • Graduated: Adamsville High School in 1956, excelling in football and basketball.
  • Enlisted: Marine Corps but was discharged because of asthma.
  • Extra Schooling: Attended morticians school in Chicago.
  • Hobby: Wrestled professionally.
  • Married: In 1959 met and married Pauline Vance, a young, attractive divorcee with two children, Diane and Mike.

  • The Buford Pusser Home and Museum is the real home, furnishings, and memorabilia of the late Buford Pusser. It is located at 342 Pusser Street, Adamsville, McNairy County, Tennessee. It is filled with items depicting the life of Buford Pusser from young childhood to young adult to lawman to fame. Near the Museum you will find the Buford Pusser Park and playground.


    Meanwhile, back in Adamsville, Buford's father as Chief of Police, was having health problems. At the same time, Buford began to feel a 'tug at his heart' to return to the slower pace of life of McNairy County. So Buford packed up his family, which had now grown to include a new baby girl, Dwana, and moved back to Adamsville. Health problems continued to plague Carl and he was forced to resign as Chief of Police. The town council hired Buford and thus began his law enforcement career.
  • 1962 elected constable.
  • 1964 elected Sheriff of McNairy County.
  • Shot eight times.
  • Knifed seven times.
  • Fought off six men at once, sending three to jail and three to the hospital.
  • Destroyed 87 whiskey stills in 1965 alone.
  • Killed two people in self-defense.
  • Hopped on the hood of a speeding car, smashed the window and subdued the man who had tried to run over him.
  • Served three consecutive terms as McNairy Sheriff.

  • -

    It was after these events that Buford's life story reads like a story from a horror magazine. On August 12, 1967, when receiving a call at 4:30 a.m. about some disturbance at the state line, his wife Pauline insisted on accompanying him that morning and when they reached New Hope road, a black car pulled out behind them at the New Hope Church. Suddenly the car was beside them, Pauline was shot in the head, in trying to escape, Buford drove two miles down the road and stopped. Here, while attending to his wife, the car approached and began firing again. Pauline was hit in the head again and Buford had his jaw shot off. With the initial shots Buford sank to the floorboard. Probably the move that saved his life. The assailants were never known except to Buford.

    Buford left the Sheriff's post in 1970. By then his career was skyrocketing with WALKING TALL, WALKING TALL, PART II and WALKING TALL, FINAL CHAPTER, still to be filmed. A television documentary "The Great American Hero" was yet to come, as well as a television series.

    In 1966 the celebrity was named Outstanding Young Man by the local Jaycees. In 1970 he was named one of Tennessee's Outstanding three young men.
    Early in the night of August 21, 1974, Buford attended a press conference in Memphis. Announcement was made that he would play himself in a movie, "Buford". It was never to be. He attended the McNairy County Fair and Livestock show later that night and signed autographs. He chatted with Dwana, his daughter, and later passed her and friends on the way home. On a long stretch of road between Selmer and Adamsville his Corvette veered off Highway 64, then shot across the road into an embankment where it crashed and burned. Among the first to the crash scene was his daughter. It was too late. The man who had accomplished so much in law enforcement was dead. From 1964 to 1974, a string of violent events had cast him into the world's spotlight. Then, as if by some mysterious stroke of fate, it was over. His memory still lingers with those who knew him best. They remember his shyness, politeness and the strength and vigor with which he administered law enforcement.

    Eddie Bond to Release New Single, "Ode to Buford Pusser
    NASHVILLE, TN, September 23, 1999 - Eddie Bond will release a new single the first of October, entitled "Ode to Buford Pusser." Since the early 50's at the historic Sun Records at 706 Union in Memphis, TN, Eddie Bond has been one of the most legendary names in the Memphis recording, publishing, and songwriting industry. Eddie has teamed up with Nashville songwriter, producer and promoter, Chuck Dixon, who has written hit songs for Eddie Bond, Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe, Johnny Paycheck and Waylon Jennings, to pen his greatest and best Buford Pusser song, "Ode to Buford Pusser." Eddie has toured with such famous stars as Elvis, Johnny Cash, Warren Smith, Webb Pierce, Roy Orbinson and Carl Perkins. Eddie spent many years with Buford Pusser and it inspired him to do the theme song "The Legend of Buford Pusser" in the Movie "Walking Tall."
           Since this is the 25th anniversary of the legendary Tennessee lawman's death, Buford Pusser was voted the Top 100 Tennessean for the Year 2000 and the legislature named the new Highway 64, the Buford Pusser Highway in honor of him, Dixon and Bond hope this will be a fitting tribute to a man that not only claimed fame in McNairy County but is recognized by lawmen and fans worldwide. The record and CD, "Ode to Buford Pusser," will be released in early October, and Eddie Bond will be singing it on his t.v. show that airs on WHBQ (Fox) CH 13, WJJB CH 7(ABC) Jackson, TN and the Lou Hobbs syndicated show that airs in 185 markets in the USA and England. Chuck Dixon plans to send copies of the CD to all radio stations across the USA and around the world. The Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Burns, TN where Eddie Bond was inducted on July 30, 1999, is setting up a Buford Pusser Museum page on the internet. The song can be downloaded and heard in 100 plus countries over the 2000 MPS site. Eddie Bond's artist web page can be viewed by clicking Bond.html. Both Chuck and Eddie have said, "There are not enough heroes, so let's keep Buford Pusser's name and legend alive forever."

    (courtesy: Burl Boykin)




    Citizens of McNairy County honor the famous sheriff of their area with an annual Buford Pusser Festival. The three-day event is held over the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend in Adamsville and features a host of family activities.

    A focus of the festival is the presentation of the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award and Memorial Awards.

    Other events include an antique car show, arts and crafts exhibits and sales, concessions, a Lawn Mower-Tractor Pull sponsored by the Middle Tennessee Lawn & Garden Tractor Pullers, a softball tournament and a Carnival offering swings, a fun house, moonwalk, kiddy bikes, and games.

    Live entertainment features gospel, country, and southern rock bands and the presentation of the Buford Pusser Beauty Pageants contestants.