Sheriff too tough to kill, so they shot his wife to death


‘Walking Tall’ Sheriff Buford Pusser survived eight shootings and seven stabbings while singlehandedly battling crime in 1960s Tennessee.

As the sheriff of McNairy County from 1964 to 1970, Pusser became famous for his one-man war on moonshiners, illegal gamblers, prostitutes and related vice crime along the Mississippi–Tennessee state line.

He is now the legendary, larger-than-life lawman of movies, songs and books.

Pauline Pusser

He suffered the worst tragedy of his life when his wife Pauline was shot to death on August 12, 1967, at the age 35 in a driveby assassination that targeted Pusser. Pusser was shot multiple times but survived.

The car crash that finally killed Pusser, on August 21, 1974, was believed by many to be another murder attempt — one that succeeded this time.


Tragic scene from the 1973 movie ‘Walking Tall’ with Jo Don Baker as Buford Pusser, where Pauline Pusser, played by Elizabeth Hartman, is shot to death by outlaws.

Great scene here with Brenda Benet as a super cool prostitute in the movie. She was best known for playing the scheming villainess Lee Dumonde on the daytime serial ‘Days of Our Lives,’ but this minute-long bit in my opinion is a classic example of masterful acting without saying a word.


The actress never recovered from the death of her six-year-old son Christopher (an only son with ex-husband Bill Bixby) in March 1981 while they were on a weekend ski trip at Mammoth Lakes in California. The boy had an attack of acute epiglottitis, (inflammation of the flap at the base of the tongue that prevents food entering the windpipe) and suffered a cardiac arrest.

A year later, on April 7, 1982, Brenda Benet shot herself in the head at her home in Los Angeles. She was 36.

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2 thoughts on “Sheriff too tough to kill, so they shot his wife to death

  1. Yeah, Brenda Benet’s story is one of the saddest out of Hollywood. I must write more about her. She was hugely popular in Days of Our Lives — actually unpopular in that she broke up a marriage to the chagrin of fans. I never watched the show, but as I say, this bit in Walking Tall is a scene stealer. Thanks for reading my posts.