Revenge is a strong emotion. It makes ordinary people turn obsessive and destroys their peace. Buford Pusser was a brilliant cop and a hero to his people. However, just one second of hate and bullets upended his life.
When Buford Pusser lost his wife in a car shooting, he swore not to rest till he brought justice to his late spouse. His life's sole mission shifted. This heart-wrenching story of an innocent, good person made hundreds sympathize with him.
He was a man who is still walking tall and whose legacy lives on. Are you ready to dive into this bone-chilling story? Well, we are too.
What Do We Know About Buford Pusser?
Buford Pusser was a well-respected person. He lived his entire childhood in McNairy County, Tennessee, where he was born and raised. He thrived at football and basketball in school, owing to his 6-foot 6-inch stature.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school. However, he was medically discharged due to asthma. He then relocated to Chicago and began working as a neighborhood wrestler.
Pusser's bulk and power gave him the moniker "Buford the Bull." His accomplishments garnered him popularity in the community. Pusser fell in love with his future wife, Pauline, in Chicago. They married in late 1959 and relocated to Pusser's boyhood residence two years later.
What Kind Of A Man Was Buford Pusser?
When Buford Pusser got appointed as Sheriff of McNairy County in 1964, he had no idea that he would go down in history as a hero and a legend for the underdogs. He was only 26 years old at the time.
He was described as a gent by old friends. Pusser was a big guy who was over 6-feet tall and weighed over 250 pounds. His hair was sandy red, and his face sported freckles all over. Throughout his work-life, he dressed in button-up shirts and khakis.
He was devoted to his household and his work. He was a man of steel determination and always seemed justice. A brilliant sheriff, Bufford Pusser, made McNairy County a better place.
This immense determination for justice and love for his wife later made him a revenge-hungry man. This man stopped at nothing till he brought justice to his wife's murderers.
The Horrific Disaster That Changed Buford Pusser's Life
No amount of us talking about Buford's family life gives justice to the immense amount of dedication he had for his loved ones. He was devoted to his wife and loved her with all his heart. Thus, imagine his grief when his wife Pauline was assassinated in cold blood.
On August 12, 1967, well before daybreak, Pusser received a phone call about a stir on a side road just outside of town. Even though it was still early, his spouse Pauline chose to join him on his investigation.
An automobile drew up beside theirs as they passed through the tiny Tennessee hamlet toward the scene of the commotion. The passengers of the car began firing on Pusser's vehicle, murdering Pauline and injuring Pusser.
Pusser was left to die after being hit by two shots on his jaw's left side. It needed 18 days and numerous procedures for him to recuperate, but he made it. He had just one thought when he went home with his broken jaw and a dead wife: vengeance.
Many felt the hit had been an attempted attack on Buford Pusser. His wife happened to be in the wrong place and became an unintentional victim. Even if it was the last deed he performed on earth, Buford Pusser pledged to bring justice to his deceased lover.
What Happened To The Assassins?
Pusser's sorrow over his wife's murder was overpowering, driving him to cold-blooded revenge. Soon after the assassination, he identified his four slayers. He also understood that Kirksey McCord Nix Jr., the Dixie Mafia's head, was the mastermind behind the ambush.
Pusser couldn't bring Nix down. Nonetheless, he made sure that others were held accountable. Later, he cracked down on illegal activity in the area more than ever. Carl "Towhead" White, one of the hitmen, was shot and killed by another hitman a few years later.
Although the rumors were never proved, many people assumed Pusser recruited the assassin to kill his wife's shooters. Two other killers were discovered shot dead in Texas another couple of years later.
Pusser was accused of killing them both, although he was never found guilty. Nix was soon imprisoned for a different murder and was ultimately sentenced to life in confinement.
What Happened To Buford Pusser?
Though Pusser would've thought Nix's isolation was justified, he didn't get to see it happening. He died in a car crash in 1974. Buford Pusser was killed after being catapulted from his car after hitting a barrier on his way back home from the local county fair.
Pusser's family members believed he was murdered. It was because Nix could organize multiple unrelated hits while sitting in prison. The allegations, though, were never examined. Pusser's lengthy quest for justice appeared to be coming to an end.
Buford Pusser's Legacy Continues
A memorial now sits in McNairy County, in the home where Buford Pusser was born and raised. Several films based on his life have been released, including Walking Tall.
The movie had two remakes, while another film, A Real American Hero, was also based on him. All these movies still go on to provide viewers with motivation and optimism. It recounts the guy who tidied up a village and was caught in the middle of an assassination attempt.
This man went on to spend the remaining years hell-bent on retribution for the people who had wronged his family. Pusser's house in Adamsville is still visited today, as it was turned into a museum full of history of pain and deep respect.
Pusser's daughter, Dwana, has been informed by contemporary law enforcement authorities how much her father meant to them. Dwana Pusser said:
"It's amazing, the number of people that come out here…They want to pay tribute, even after all these years."
Visitors are invited to sign a guest book with their name and location when they enter the front door. The "Buford Pusser Home and Museum," opened in 1988, keeps his memory alive by displaying photographs and memorabilia.
There are images of the entire family on display. Newspaper cuttings are also displayed in a frame on the wall.
Pusser's couch is untouched, with a rope separating it from the rest of the house. In front of a television, brown leather and metal seats are arranged further to the left. Visitors can view an eight-minute video about Pusser's life before leaving.