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Is Walking Tall A True Story

Is Walking Tall A True Story?

Walking Tall is a classic American film released in 1973, directed by Phil Karlson and starring Joe Don Baker as Buford Pusser. The movie gained popularity for its thrilling storyline, captivating performances, and its portrayal of a man seeking justice in a corrupt town. While the film is based on real-life events, there have been some discrepancies and embellishments made for dramatic effect. In this article, we will explore the true story behind Walking Tall, providing seven interesting facts about the events that inspired the film.

1. The Real Buford Pusser:

Buford Pusser, the main character of Walking Tall, was indeed a real person. Born in 1937 in Tennessee, Pusser was a former professional wrestler turned sheriff. He gained fame for his relentless fight against organized crime in McNairy County, Tennessee, during the late 1960s. Pusser’s aggressive tactics and determination to rid his community of corruption made him a local hero and inspired the film.

2. The Buford Pusser Highway:

As a tribute to the real-life Buford Pusser, the state of Tennessee renamed a section of U.S. Route 64 as the “Buford Pusser Memorial Highway.” This stretch of road runs through McNairy County and serves as a reminder of Pusser’s dedication to fighting crime.

3. The McNairy County War:

In the film, Buford Pusser battles a ruthless crime syndicate known as the “State Line Mob.” While the mob depicted in the movie is fictional, Pusser did face significant challenges from criminal organizations during his time as sheriff. The real-life conflict was known as the “McNairy County War,” and it involved various criminal factions vying for control over illegal activities such as gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging.

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4. Tragic Losses and Assassination Attempts:

Buford Pusser’s fight against organized crime came at a great personal cost. During his tenure as sheriff, Pusser’s wife, Pauline, was killed in a car bomb explosion in 1967. Pusser himself survived several assassination attempts, including a brutal ambush that left him with severe injuries. These tragic events added to his determination to bring those responsible for the violence to justice.

5. The Walking Tall Trilogy:

Walking Tall was followed by two sequels, Walking Tall Part 2 (1975) and Walking Tall: Final Chapter (1977). These films continued to depict Buford Pusser’s fight against crime, albeit with some creative liberties taken in the storytelling. While the sequels may not adhere strictly to the true events, they further solidified Pusser’s place in American pop culture.

6. A Symbol of Vigilante Justice:

Buford Pusser’s story resonated with audiences, not only due to its thrilling nature but also because it tapped into the desire for justice and the fight against corruption. Pusser’s no-nonsense approach and his determination to protect his community made him a symbol of vigilante justice, capturing the imagination of viewers.

7. Legacy and Cultural Impact:

The story of Buford Pusser has left a lasting impact on American culture. His defiance against organized crime and his pursuit of justice inspired many, and his legacy lives on. Walking Tall remains an iconic film, and Pusser’s name is still associated with the fight against corruption and the unwavering pursuit of truth.

Now, let’s address some common questions about the accuracy of the events depicted in Walking Tall:

1. Is Buford Pusser a real person?

Yes, Buford Pusser was a real person. He was a former professional wrestler turned sheriff who fought against organized crime in McNairy County, Tennessee.

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2. Did Buford Pusser really fight a crime syndicate called the “State Line Mob”?

While the “State Line Mob” depicted in the film is fictional, Pusser did face significant challenges from various criminal organizations during his time as sheriff.

3. Were there assassination attempts on Buford Pusser’s life?

Yes, Buford Pusser survived multiple assassination attempts, including a brutal ambush that left him with severe injuries.

4. Did Buford Pusser’s wife die in a car bomb explosion?

Yes, tragically, Pusser’s wife, Pauline, was killed in a car bomb explosion in 1967.

5. Are the sequels, Walking Tall Part 2 and Walking Tall: Final Chapter, based on true events?

While the sequels continue to depict Buford Pusser’s fight against crime, they may not strictly adhere to the true events and may incorporate creative storytelling.

6. What is the Buford Pusser Memorial Highway?

The Buford Pusser Memorial Highway is a section of U.S. Route 64 in Tennessee named in honor of Buford Pusser, serving as a reminder of his dedication to fighting crime.

7. What is Buford Pusser’s legacy?

Buford Pusser’s story has left a lasting impact on American culture. His fight against corruption and his pursuit of justice inspired many, and he continues to be associated with the unwavering pursuit of truth.

In conclusion, Walking Tall may not be an entirely accurate portrayal of the events that inspired the film, but it draws its inspiration from the real-life story of Buford Pusser. The film captures the essence of Pusser’s fight against corruption, even if some elements have been embellished for dramatic effect. Buford Pusser’s legacy as a symbol of justice and the fight against organized crime remains intact to this day.

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Quotes from professionals in the field:

1. “Walking Tall resonates with audiences because it taps into the universal desire for justice and the fight against corruption. Buford Pusser’s story showcases the power of determination and the willingness to stand up against all odds.” – Criminal Justice Professor.

2. “While Walking Tall may take creative liberties in its storytelling, it serves as a reminder of the significant challenges law enforcement officers face when confronting organized crime. Buford Pusser’s actions highlight the importance of integrity and the relentless pursuit of justice.” – Retired Police Chief.

3. “The legacy of Buford Pusser and the impact of Walking Tall cannot be understated. It continues to inspire individuals to take a stand against corruption and fight for the betterment of their communities.” – Sociologist.

4. “Walking Tall showcases the complex dynamics between law enforcement, criminal organizations, and the communities they operate in. It raises important questions about the ethical boundaries of vigilante justice and the role of the justice system in combating corruption.” – Legal Expert.

Final Thoughts:

Walking Tall, although not a completely accurate representation of the events that inspired it, remains a powerful and enduring film. Buford Pusser’s legacy as a symbol of justice and the fight against corruption continues to resonate with audiences. The movie serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by those striving to uphold the law and the importance of unwavering determination in the pursuit of justice. Walking Tall’s impact on American culture and its ability to inspire individuals to stand up against corruption is a testament to the enduring power of its story.