‘Walking Tall’ Sheriff Pusser 

Sheriff Buford Pusser 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.

‘Walking Tall’ Sheriff Pusser 


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.

‘Walking Tall’ Sheriff Pusser 
Pauline Pusser


Pusser’s wife Pauline was shot to death on August 12, 1967, at the age 35 in a driveby assassination that was intended to kill 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.

‘Walking Tall’ Sheriff Pusser 

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 in the movie with Brenda Benet as a super cool prostitute. 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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5 thoughts on “Sheriff Buford Pusser too tough to kill so they shot his wife to death

  1. Brenda Benet’s story is one of the saddest out of Hollywood. 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, her bit in ‘Walking Tall’ is a scene stealer. Thanks for reading my posts.

  2. The author seemed to miss a lot of fact as he wrote his story. Most people are not aware that Buford and Pauline were having marital problems at the time of her death, mostly from his womanizing. Buford was not a faithful husband to his wife as he was having multiple affairs. Pauline was overheard threatening to expose the fact that he was taking payoffs if he didn’t stop seeing one woman in particular. Buford responded to his wife saying , if she did she wouldn’t live to see the light of day. She died a few hours later, just as Buford said she would. Most people are not aware that Pauline and Buford were separated at that time and she was living in a motel in Savannah, a few miles away from Adamsville.

  3. Mike, thanks for the input. There seems to be two perspectives on Pusser — one of popular legend and the one you write about in your book, ‘Buford Pusser: The Other Story.’ I was more interested in his crime fighting than his marital problems.