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Film / Walking Tall (1973)

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A 1973 pulp action flick starring Joe Don Baker, loosely based on the story of Buford Pusser, the Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee from 1964 to 1970. Later remade into a 2004 movie starring Dwayne Johnson.

The 1973 original provides examples of:

  • Boom, Headshot!: Pauline is killed this way, and the effect is surprisingly graphic for a low-budget 70's movie.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Buford metes out some good old fashioned, bone-breakin' justice with a massive homemade shillelagh.
  • Dirty Cop: The former Sheriff, along with one deputy we later discover to be on the take.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Sheriff Pusser at first refuses to carry a gun because his wife doesn't approve.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The old Sheriff's car a'splodes from under the hood simply by running off the road into a river bank. Before it crashes, even!
  • Freakier Than Fiction: From the photo of the two of them standing together, tall and muscular Joe Don Baker is clearly dwarfed by the real Buford Pusser.
  • Good Policing, Evil Policing: Bufford Pusser catches the dealers cheating at a casino called The Lucky Spot, and the proprietors cut him up with a knife and leave him for dead. After he complains to the Sheriff, and nothing is done, he learns of the rampant corruption in his hometown, which, eventually, prompts Pusser to run for Sheriff, himself. His opponent dies trying to run Pusser off the road.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The bad guys offer Deputy Grady more than his lifetime salary to turn on Buford, but he flatly refuses.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Mrs. Pusser agrees to let her husband start packing heat, it is on.
  • Noble Bigot: Subverted, Buford has no reservations about referring to the eight innocents poisoned by tainted moonshine as "niggers," but he only does so to incite friend and deputy Obra Eaker into taking action. Buford is determined to punish those responsible for their deaths just the same, something he notes the old Sheriff would have let slide for the victims "not being his favorite color."