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Small-Town Tyrant
aka: Corrupt Hick

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"I've seen enough movies to know the way it works down here. Your killer is either the corrupt sheriff, the corrupt mayor, or a crazy hillbilly."
Stroker, Stroker and Hoop

The rural southern U.S., and indeed, the rural north of England, are apparently full of small towns run by evil hicks of some sort. His control over the town may be political, economic, religious, or purely criminal, but in most cases it gradually expands to "all of the above".


One of the most obvious hallmarks of a town run by a Tyrant is the apparent lack of a judicial system, oftentimes because they’re the local sheriff and take this role to mean Judge, Jury, and Executioner. It seems the Tyrant can just go around arresting whomever he wants for no reason without them ever getting a trial. If there's a courthouse in town, it's certainly not being used. (On the rare occasion there is a trial, it will have a Hanging Judge who will be on the payroll.) In all these respects, this trope is effectively a modern-day version of the Feudal Overlord of yore. The fact that he was probably elected due to his popularity will usually be ignored, though expect him to be a Corrupt Politician who buys his elections if this comes up.

He will almost certainly wear a hat, probably carry a gun, will probably chew tobacco and/or smoke cigars, is almost always white, and is virtually Always Male. Will typically have a uniquely Southern given name akin to Rufus or Clement. Good odds of being a Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit, and if he's the mayor of the town, he will most likely be an evil Mayor Pain.


His underlings will be either corrupt themselves or clueless — areas that tolerate these folks generally don't get reformed from inside. If it's a horror story, he may be keeping a Madwoman in the Attic, as well as hiding much worse things from the public eye.

Walking the Earth shows, particularly those set in the modern day, run into a lot of these. And virtually every adventure series or cop show made in the 1970s, whether it be Cannon or The Six Million Dollar Man or Wonder Woman had at least one episode featuring this sort of character.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Parodied in Galaxy Angel, where Forte meets a Corrupt Hick owning a hospital full of completely incompetent staff and blaming his bad patient turnout on the existence of a kindly town doctor across the street.

    Comic Books 
  • Preacher :
    • Odin Quincannon, the Meat King, is corrupt hick who operates an inhumane meat plant, orders the death of a local sheriff, allies himself with The Klan, tries to blow up a nearby village with napalm, employs a Hitler fetishist as his PA and repeatedly has sex with a giant female figure made out of sides of ham. Seriously. He was so corrupt his fellow Klansmen started wondering if he was taking the whole racism thing a bit too far.
    • The L'Angelles are as nasty as they come.
    • Sheriff Hugo Root. A racist, alcoholic hick who regularly and brutally beat his son, and who was feared and loathed by his town. The first thing he says to his son after the latter's failed suicide attempt? "Shoulda put it in your mouth, you dumb little fuck."
  • One of The Authority's worst foes was a Corrupt Hick given 2012 different superpowers and set on them by the G7 leaders. When he's finally defeated, they punish him by turning him into seven chickens and then bringing him home to his seven brothers.
  • The Hulk Gang from Old Man Logan counts as this very much, even though they are located in California. The Hulk himself is the corrupt hick leading them and in charge of a territory called Hulkland. They are violent and quite murderous, considering how they murdered Logan's family and left the bodies unburied while he was busy trying to pay off a debt he owed them. Why? Because they got bored. They are a family of cannibals. Oh, and they are also inbred, because Hulk raped his own cousin Jennifer more than once to form the Hulk Gang!
  • Frank Castle runs into a clan of these in "Welcome to the Bayou" story arc of The Punisher MAX. Highlights include the family raising alligators, kidnapping tourists and BBQing them, and a massive Manchild who lives in a swamp and wears a paper bag over his head.
  • Cletus Kasady is often written with a Southern accent and derided as a hillbilly, even by other villains.
  • Benjamin Hickory of Copperhead is a textbook example: as owner of the town's primary industry he's accustomed to getting whatever he asks for from law enforcement and local government. He pays well both for doing what he asks and for doing things to those who don't do what he asks.
  • In Weird Western Tales #17, Jonah Hex clashes with Judge Hatchet; a Hanging Judge who rules her small town with a fist of iron, sending her three sons to poison the cattle and burn the crops of anyone who refuses to knuckle under to her authority.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • Toy Story 3: Lotso runs Sunnyside with an iron fist. Since this is Toy Story the most "hick" he can display is the accent, but he's got "corrupt" to spare.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Deliverance. The film takes place somewhere in Georgia. The four "city boys" are unable to form much of a connection with the locals. The locals fit the stereotypical hillbilly image of being crude, rude, and inbred for some of them. There is also one point when the four "city boys" encounter two hillbillies on their trip down the river. They assume that the two guys are operating a moonshine still and offer to buy some. In response, the two hillbillies have one of them strip himself naked, chase him, and sodomize him, apparently For the Evulz. It should also be pointed out that the four "city boys" were rather condescending toward the locals, and the one who got sodomized openly mocked the locals out loud for seeming to display genetic defects.
    • The film would seem to be both played straight and subverted. On the one hand, the rapists themselves play this deadly straight. On the other, we never see the rapists again, and while the rest of the hillbilly town is set up to be creepy and/or evil, they never really do anything, good or bad. Especially subverted in the case of the mentally challenged banjo player (probably the most famous character in the film), whose banjo playing provides a creepy soundtrack but who is otherwise benevolent.
    • For particularly creepy hillbillies, expect to hear "Dueling Banjos". (This is a conflation of the two things people generally know about the film- that song and rapist hillbillies. In the actual film, they had nothing to do with one another.)
  • Footloose: Nicely subverted with the preacher note . He finally figures out how to let go when his flock starts burning books.
  • Rise of the Scarecrows: Sheriff Howards has been stranding people in the town of Adams, Massachusetts to hand them off as victims for the Scary Scarecrows to kill. He's also determined to keep it a secret, disregarding claims regarding the scarecrows, and handing the protagonists off to them personally in the end.
  • Road House (1989), staring Patrick Swayze, features a no-gooder trying to take over the bar and businesses in a little backwater town with his hired redneck muscle.
  • Smokey and the Bandit: Sheriff Buford T. Justice is treated as one of these, even though it's really the Bandit who is breaking the law left and right. Justice himself isn't shown to be corrupt, he's just loud and bigoted to the point that nobody really cares about what happens to him.
  • Swamp Shark: Sheriff Watson is involved in an animal smuggling ring, the same one that lost the titular shark in the swamp.
  • Appears in Troll 2, with the added kicker that the evil townsfolk are also goblins in disguise.
  • Nothing but Trouble: Judge Alvin Valkenheiser — and how! Valkenvania is basically his personal fiefdom (his mansion is even built like a castle, complete with moat). Plus his whole operation consists of having his deputized family members arrest criminals (both real and imagined) who journey through the town before executing them so they can loot their cars and other belongings.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
    • Pappy O'Daniel is suggested to be one, fighting accusations of corruption in his re-election bid. That said, it's not clear how much is legitimate corruption and how much is just incompetence thanks to his inept help. At bare minimum, he's self-centered and a Jerkass, but he still comes across as the Lesser of Two Evils given his competition.
    • The insanely corrupt Big Dan Teague, who is also a Klansman in his spare time. Who is channeling the cyclops Polyphemus.
    • Homer Stokes, who presents himself as Pappy's opposite and "friend of the little man" looking forward to reform, but he's actually the head of the local Ku Klux Klan.
  • In Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Mayor Bubba wants to keep the deadly monster alive so its existence could attract tourists. The sheriff doesn't react well.
  • National Lampoon's Vacation features a scene where Chevy Chase is taken advantage of by a couple of hicks at a gas station, who barely fix his car, then take all of his money. Chevy asks them what their local sheriff thinks of their shady "business" dealings, leading the men to laugh, and one of them to pull out and display a sheriff's badge.
  • Tank: Command Sergeant Major Zack Carey note  gets on the bad side of one of these, who ends up framing his son for drug possession and cheating him out of his retirement money. Garner's character, however, is a Command Sergeant Major in the Army — literally almost a Retired Badass- - and owns a fully restored, fully armed WWII Sherman tank. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Reno Smith from Bad Day at Black Rock.
  • Herod of The Quick and the Dead. Also an example of Asskicking Equals Authority, since Herod is nigh unbeatable in a straight up fight and is only blindsided and killed by someone who he thought was already dead.
  • Foxy Brown has two grime-covered drug dealers who operate a front operation out on a farm.
  • There's racist Sheriff J.W. Pepper who gets the Butt-Monkey treatment in at least two James Bond movies.
  • Leatherface and his family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. They are a Big, Screwed-Up Family who are inbred murderous cannibals. At least one source implies that other people in the community know about the family's business, and will cover for them if an outsider tries to turn to them for help. Even though Texas is outside of Appalachia and the Ozarks, the community is supposed to be made up of hillbillies.
    • Although it's probably less a matter of the locals wanting to cover up the depredations of the Hewitts because "they're one of us" or anything like that, and more a matter of grim survival. The locals turn a blind eye to the Hewitts slaughtering travelers and outsiders who won't be missed, and in return, they don't need to worry about their own loved ones (or themselves) being hacked up, brained, chainsawed or ground into chili.
  • In Pete's Dragon (1977), the Gogan family.
  • The Cajun hunters in the 1981 film Southern Comfort.
  • The film The Muppet Movie averts this. Kermit the Frog hails from southeastern U.S., more specifically from a swamp with alligators in it. He does play a banjo. However, he proves to be the Straight Man and the leader of the entire gang.
  • Chuck Norris battles one of these in Breaker! Breaker!.
  • Desert Heat has a family of these, the Hogans, who are one of two gangs in the film.
  • The antagonists of Prime Cut are a psychopathic slaughterhouse owner and his inbred hillbilly mooks.
  • Willy's Wonderland: Sheriff Lund is a cop from Nevada with a Southern accident, and she is responsible for the deaths of multiple innocent people by sacrificing them to the animatronics. Even after the Janitor successfully thrashes the animatronics, she still tries to sacrifice him to Willy, only to get butchered herself by Willy.
  • Miss Gulch in The Wizard of Oz is a rare female example — there's a reason she appears as the Wicked Witch in Dorothy's Dream Land. Admittedly, the worst we see her do is get the sheriff to order Dorothy's dog Toto killed, and even that was because Toto kept chasing Gulch's cat and eventually bit Gulch on the leg. But presumably, Gulch neglected to tell the sheriff that Toto only bit her because she attacked him with a rake, which is Disproportionate Retribution for a terrier chasing a cat. And even chasing a cat wouldn't reasonably make little Toto the "menace to the community" that Gulch tries to paint him as. At any rate, Auntie Em describes Miss Gulch this way in a defiant "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Auntie Em: Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn't mean that you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years, I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you. And now...well, being a Christian woman, I can't say it.
  • Red Hill: Old Bill is the local police inspector, and he dispenses justice if, when and how he sees fit. He also has distinct ideas of what the future of the town should be, and reacts harshly to any critics of his vision.
  • Goldstone: Maureen is the mayor of Goldstone, and is in bed with the local mining corporation as they try to push through a crooked land deal. She will do anything, including murder, to make sure she gets her piece of the pie.
  • In Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend, shady businessman Eb Clark has been slowly taking over Medicine Bend. He controls the mayor and the sheriff, owns most of the major business, and runs a bandit gang that robs wagon trains leaving the town, forcing them to return to Medicine Bend to resupply from Clark's businesses.
  • Sheriff Andrews in Even Lambs Have Teeth is in league with the sex traffickers, and gives the orders to have the girls murdered when the FBI starts sniffing around.
  • Maximum Overdrive: Bubba Hendershot runs a truck stop that mostly employs people on parole allowing him to force them to work more hours than he has to pay them for. If they refuse, then he can get his friend who is on the state patrol to arrest them and send them back to jail. Billy theorizes that Bubba also sells guns on the side when his gun cache is found.
  • Easy Rider:
    • After George gets Billy and Wyatt out of the small-town jail, he thanks the police, and something passes from his hands to theirs.
    • Billy, Wyatt and George go into a diner in the Deep South. The group of men openly talking about beating up the Yankee hippies include local law enforcement.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Bob Ewell has this trope down to a science, what with accusing Tom Robinson of rape, probably responsible for the rape and abuse of his daughter, attempting to kill Scout and Jem and being an all-around not-nice person. This is nicely averted by the town sheriff Heck Tate, however, who is quite a kind man. It should be noted that Bob Ewell and his brood were considered the lowest of the low, the townsfolk only took his word instead of Tom Robinson's because Bob is white.
  • Geryon from Percy Jackson and the Olympians qualifies. He makes omelettes out of the eggs of endangered species, slaughters the sacred cattle of the sun, sells to the titan army, and tries to sell Nico to Luke.
  • William Faulkner's Snopes trilogy (and many works set in Yonknawhatever Countynote ) has these in abundance. Flem Snopes steals from everyone, gets his own relatives arrested (intentionally), and also basically controls the entire county - everyone owes him money.
  • Burmese Days is set in British-colonial Burma—i.e., in Southeast Asia—but U Po Kyin, the novel's Big Bad, serves as the local equivalent, as a hugely fat, ambitious, and manipulative indigenous magistrate ruling the backwater town of Kyauktada.
  • In Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, the judge accepts evidence he knows is complete hooey to be admitted into trial. The "evidence" exonerates a woman and a black man accused of killing a white man. The judge has a special hatred for said white man, which is why he throws the murder charge out and rules the white man's disappearance as "death by misadventure".
  • Several characters in the book Divine Evil by Nora Roberts. A sculptor named Clare Kimball goes back to her small hometown in Maryland, because she is suffering from depression and nightmares that stem from there and she hopes to deal with them. It turns out that there is a coven/cult of Satanists in the town. The members of this coven/cult include Clare's father (who left out of guilt and the other members murdered him to ensure his silence), her love interest's Cameron Rafferty's hated stepfather (who ended up murdered), and Ernie (who is a teenaged city boy who the Satanists recruited and they attempted to corrupt him).
  • Most of the characters identified as hillbillies avert this in Nerd In Shining Armor by Vicki Lewis Thompson. Three characters that can be called hillbillies are Genevive Terrence, Annabelle, and Lincoln (well, Lincoln apparently doesn't count, because he wasn't born or raised as one). They hail from a small community in Tennessee. Annabelle and Lincoln are apparently psychic. Genevive as a kid had sex with a boy named Clyde Loudermilk back in Tennessee. Why? Because he promised to take her out to a movie in exchange for sex. Too bad she found out after losing her virginity that he didn't even have enough money to go to the movies. Ouch.
  • The trope is also used in the H. P. Lovecraft story Beyond The Wall Of Sleep.
  • More generally, not just hillbillies in the strictest sense of the term but "southern rural". The novels God's Little Acre and Tobacco Road established this trope by the early 1930s.
  • A small example, but it's pretty much stated that the reason Willie Rumson in One Fat Summer is able to get away with harassing the vacationing summer people in general, and Bobby in particular, is because his uncle is Sheriff and covers for him. Driven home when the man actually gives BOBBY a citation after Willie and his friends steal his first week's pay from Dr. Kahn. It is mentioned, though, that Sheriff Rumson can't do anything for his nephew in regards to an assault or murder charge, something Willie's friends apparently have to remind him of.
  • This trope is averted in Some Girls Do by Leanne Banks. Katie/Priscilla hails from a small town in Texas, and the town is given no name and is reported to have been blown off the map by a tornado. People assumed that she would end up as this trope, because she was the daughter of a woman who Really Gets Around. She did manage to form her own life and tried to distance herself from her roots. She also has conversations with her mother, who died years ago. Her employer Ivan wants to see his daughter Wilhemina married and states early on that he can't have a redneck for a son-in-law. This leads to problems when Wilhemina forms a relationship and gets pregnant with Douglas, a hog farmer in Texas and Ivan finds out. Douglas averts this trope, but it took Ivan some time before he could accept Douglas as a son-in-law. Even though Texas is not really part of Appalachia or The Ozarks, some of the characters are clearly categorized as hillbillies.
  • A Russian version is shown in Valentin Pikul's novel Wealth. The corrupt frontier hicks from Kamchatka trade furs illegally, sell vodka to aborigines and try to boot the idealistic new governor. On the other hand, the local lawman, a Cossack sergeant, is decent and becomes the governor's right hand.
  • Mayor Jim Bob Buchanon of the Maggody mysteries is a low-grade version, as he's a piggish petty tyrant of sorts, at least to the meager extent possible in a skint-broke town with less than 800 people. He falls short where genuine evil is concerned, due to incompetence and a tendency to fall prey when real villains Kick the Son of a Bitch.
  • A Canadian variant is found in Pact in the form of Laird Behaim, the police chief of the small town of Jacob's Bell, who orchestrates the murder of a local diabolist and then informs her cousin to his face that as far as he is concerned, the death will go on the books as tragically unsolved, and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will have no evidence to say otherwise.
  • In the first Joe Pickett novel, Bud Barnum has been Sheriff of Twelve Sleeps County for 20 years. He gets involved in a scheme with a Corrupt Corporate Executive which Joe brings crashing down around his ears. This causes Barnum to lose the election and his position as sheriff in the next novel. Reduced from a man of influence to a nobody, he spends several books brooding and plotting revenge on Joe. His schemes eventually get him killed.
  • In River of Teeth, Travers rules the Harriet. Through various means involving business machinations and the occasional burned down ranch he has managed to secure the exclusive rights to own businesses on the Harriet. Though technically he has to follow federal law as much as everyone else, the Harriet is in such a remote location and has gained enough reputation as a lawless place that he basically does what he wants, including throwing cheating customers to the feral hippos and ordering around the rangers assigned to the Gate.
  • Hap and Leonard inevitably run into a lot of these, often a Politically Incorrect Villain with some rather questionable affiliations.
  • The Secret of Santa Vittoria: The local Facist officials provide a European version of this, stealing all of the local treasury, and using their influence to set up monopolies on the local trades.

    Live-Action TV 
  • NCIS: A sheriff's deputy is a Corrupt Hick. He has such an intense fear/hatred of Arabs that he plants evidence of bomb making in the garage of a young Arab man who has recently moved in, justifying it as a 'pre-emptive strike'.
  • TV shows composed of traveling 'Heros For Hire', such as The A-Team, Knight Rider, or MacGyver (1985), often have the heroes run across corrupt hicks. (It's related to the Walking the Earth thing.) See, for example, the short-lived '80s show The Master, starring Lee Van Cleef, about an American ninja and his student. Four of the episodes were turned into the Master Ninja movies — two of which were shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • Magic City: Florida State Senator Ned Sloat.Ike is supposed to give him $65,000 to support legalized gambling in the state of Florida. Sloat tells Ike "I cannot be bought, but I can be rented." Ike offers Sloat $10,000 to vote against legalized gambling.
  • Airwolf features one in "Sweet Britches". Using prisoners as fodder for hunters, he insults Caitlin, a female Texas Highway Patrol cop at this point in time (who wants a prisoner he's in fact killed), by calling her a "meter maid" and "sweet britches". Then he essentially encourages a group of men to gang-rape her, although where they got in that is not discussed, as a certain Black Helicopter arrives.
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents features three in The Crooked Road: a Dirty Cop, a swindling mechanic, and a Hanging Judge all in cahoots to milk out-of-towners for every cent they can get.
  • American Gothic (1995): The premise was based on a Corrupt Hick sheriff running a town with enough subtle supernatural menace to lead most viewers to wonder if he's actually Satan.
  • In one episode of The Andy Griffith Show, a reporter thinks that Andy is one of these. Andy is talking about fishing, and she thinks that he's talking about lynching a black person.
  • In Back to the 50s, S Club 7 encounters one of these in Fifties California.
  • B.J. and the Bear: Sheriff Lobo who later reformed and got his own series.
  • The Boston Legal episode "Happy Trails". There is a trial, but that's to be expected considering the main characters are lawyers. And it was just a big excuse for Alan to make an Author Filibuster.
  • CSI had Grissom drive out to a podunk Nevadan town and deal with one of these. Actually subverted; the sheriff's merely hiding a Big Secret, and one that bucks his stereotype to boot.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard had a double set of classic Corrupt Hicks, with Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. (They are, however, the family-friendly version of "corrupt", steering clear of drugs and violence, and anything more evil than plain ol' greed.) It's also hinted that neighboring Sheriffs (shown as honest) hold them in low opinion, on account of their crookedness.
  • Another familiy-friendly Corrupt Hick can be found in Gilmore Girls, Taylor Doose! He uses his influence as the town selectman to do what he thinks is the best for the town, and sometimes for his personal gain. While he also stays clear of violence, he misuses his position occasionally, like when he blocks renovation works on Lorelai's Inn only to blackmail her that she uses her influence on Luke, that he doesn't oppose the idea to put an ice cream truck in front of his diner.
  • Possibly played with in 3rd Rock from the Sun, in which Officer Don is repeatedly shown to be a corrupt small-town cop, but is still portrayed sympathetically (because he's also a spineless idiot).
  • The X-Files: Many Monster of the Week episodes are set in the aforementioned insular places, handicapped by superstition, small gene pools or Green Rocks.
  • The League of Gentlemen: Tubbs and Edward Tattsyrup, an implicitly incestuous couple of serial killers who ran the Local Shop.
  • Leverage: Played with a bit more subtlety than usual (still not much) in "The Bank Shot Job".
  • Justified: The deeply corrupt nature and poor economy of Harlan County makes its various towns a haven for characters like these. Bo Crowder had most of the sheriff's department and judicial system in his back pocket during his heyday, and his son, Boyd, aims to do the same. The town of Bennett is even worse than the rest of Harlan, Mags Bennett and her sons ruling the entire town through fear and tradition. There's a succession of crooked sheriffs, various town officials who are on the take, and a group of local elites, known as the Clover Hillers, who think that their social status gives them the right to run the county as they see fit. About the only good news is that they, and outsiders like the Dixie Mafia and Detroit Mob, end up forming competing factions, keeping each other somewhat in check.
  • Superintendent Fuller from Wild Boys is a cross between this and a Knight Templar.
  • The citizens of the village in Once Upon a Time in Saengchori.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Storybrooke, Maine is controlled by two: Regina Mills, its Ultimate Authority Mayor, and Mr. Gold, who owns the town (literally). It's not quite accurate to refer to either of these as "hicks", however, as they aren't uneducated or a bumpkins; both are depicted as extremely intelligent, cultured characters (although Gold's original Rumpelstiltskin personality is depicted as a "country hick" to a degree in the recent origin episode).
  • JAG: In "Act of Terror", Percival Bertram is a Corrupt Corporate Executive looking and acting every bit of this trope who supports right-wing conservative politicians and brands himself as a super-patriot advocating that the U.S. should take gloves of with respect to terrorists to U.S. interests in the Middle East. However, the alleged super-patriot finances terrorism in the Middle East against U.S. interests (supposedly to create a self-fulfilling prophecy gaining his own business interests.)
  • Mr Gribble in Round the Twist is an Australian version of this, particularly when he becomes mayor of the tiny rural town of Port Niranda in seasons 3 and 4. As the main antagonist, throughout the series he spends most of his time bullying, bribing and cheating his way towards what he wants.
  • Frontier Circus: "Patriarch of Purgatory" features a religious fanatic who is the mayor of the eponymous town and who runs a mine that uses a slave labour force of Chinese. He imprisons Ben and Tony in the mine after they get too close to the truth.
  • On the Supernatural episode "The Prisoner", two Louisiana cops under the thumb of powerful and evil family the Stynes hassle Dean, even doing the trick of citing him for a busted tail light one of them just kicked in.
  • The Wire: Subverted. City cop McNulty drives to a rural precinct and refers to the local chief of police as "Buford Pusser." When he meets the fat, white chief, McNulty immediately starts making racist comments in hopes of ingratiating himself. The rural cop, however, is actually married to a black cop who also works in the same office, forcing McNulty to awkwardly backpedal on his previous statements. The chief is very helpful to McNulty's investigation, but he takes Kima (a black woman) aside to tell her that her partner is an asshole.
  • In Brass, Bradley Hardacre epitomises the occasional northern English version of the trope, parodied to the extreme and successful enough to run a moderately substantial town.
  • On Orange Is the New Black, Pennsatucky lived in a trailer park with her mother, who would make her drink Mountain Dew so she'd appear to be hyperactive or "special-needs," for DCF, so that her mother would get more welfare money. Her mom also, when giving her The Talk (after she got her first period), essentially taught her that being raped is normal and inevitable. Pennsatucky also got mixed up with methamphetmines, like many people of her community, and became a nihilist who used abortions as birth control. Later, in prison, she became The Fundamentalist until her Heel–Face Turn. The protesters outside the abortion clinic (who assume she shot the nurse to support their cause, rather than that being the result of a petty argument) would also qualify.
  • The villain of the Kraft Suspense Theatre episode "The Hunt" is a rural sheriff who sometimes plays Hunting the Most Dangerous Game with his inmates.
  • Hunter: While Hunter and McCall are escorting a prisoner through a small Midwestern town, a local girl is raped and beaten and the incident is blamed on the prisoner. In fact, the culprit is the Sheriff, who has been abusing his power and his position as the stepson of the richest man in town.
  • Matt Mitchum in Top of the Lake is a rural gangster and meth cooker who dominates the entire titular town with his sons as muscle, and has the cops in his pocket. Surprisingly, he isn't the Big Bad.
  • An SF version appears as B'Sogg, the villain of the Farscape episode "Home on the Remains". He's the malevolent local strongman of a space mining colony (with heavy Space Western overtones) and has a weird half-Southern-half-Jamaican accent.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017) has Sir.
  • Hardy Collier was this in the made for TV movie Murder in Coweta County. From the first moments he's on screen, he tells a pair of bootleggers what road the revenuers are watching and what road to take to avoid them. He also was shown to be in the pocketbook of the county's richest man, John Wallace, to the point that if John Wallace had killed the victim in Collier's county, he wasn't going to arrest Wallace.
  • Narcos: Mexico: In some ways, unhinged drug lord Félix Gallardo is a Mexican version of this. His home state of Sinaloa is a rural, mountainous region whose culture and accent are what some might consider Mexico's cultural equivalent to Appalachia. Urban-born Diego Luna also uses the region's accent and dialect for his portrayal, a detail that is unfortunately lost on viewers who aren't fluent in Spanish or familiar with Spanish-language accents.

  • Unwell Podcast has Chester Warren, a small-town bureaucrat who serves as the nominal leader of the Delphic Order and possesses an absurd amount of jobs, which he uses to control the town in subtle ways, such as extorting the Fenwood House through an archaic law classifying it as a brothel.

  • Owen Musser from The Foreigner is all over this. As is David.
  • Tom Finley, Sr., better known to one and all as "Boss" Finley, in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird Of Youth. He got himself elected Governor of an unnamed Southern state, sold the offshore oil rights dirt cheap, became a partner in the oil company when he left office, then got the oilman elected as his pet Governor. Now he's running for Governor in his own right again, and not above having his opponents brutalized by thugs.
  • Most of the cast in Buried Child have shades of this, even the preacher.

    Video Games 
  • The Hicks clan in Jagged Alliance 2 routinely harasses the town of Cambria, will steal any weapon that's not nailed down, and will proposition any female you send to talk to them. To make things worse, the hillbillies all have shotguns and Mini-14s, meaning that early fights with them tend not to end well. (Later on, with body armor, assault rifles, and/or exploitation of Artificial Stupidity involving chokepoints, they become rather easier to take down.) Even if you don't, there's a field of cows that they keep, and conversations with random Hicks involving Cow Tipping tend to be...revealing.
  • Ward, a security guard from The Orion Conspiracy. He is openly racist, sexist, and whatever term you would like to apply. Just about everything that comes out of his mouth is an insult. Practically nobody likes him, and at least one character refers to him as a redneck, and says that he is so dumb that insults will just fly right over his head. Bonus points for the fact that he hates the Irish main character Devlin McCormack, because his first name is Malachi, an Irish first name.
  • Redneck Rampage loves to have fun with this trope. The player plays as a hillbilly named Leonard, who has to whack his buddy Bubba in the face with a crowbar from time to time. They fight against aliens, who have made clones of their neighbours. The neighbours consist of a skinny old man and a fat bearded man with a shotgun. There is also the town Sheriff, who will not hesitate to shoot you on sight, for unexplained reasons, while shouting "I'm the law in these parts!".
  • Harvester has Sheriff Dwayne: Big on pie eating, light on crime fighting. Unless it’s the main character Steve that’s breaking the law.
  • A large number of characters in the Hitman series are either this or Corrupt Corporate Executive. Special mention goes to Sheriff Skurky and Blake Dexter from Absolution.
  • The Witcher: The first Act is an introduction for newcomers to the sheer Grim Dark of the Witcher universe, involving an entire town of corrupt hicks from the most pious of leaders to the most mysterious of cultists. The local miser murdered his brother and took his hard-earned coin instead of fighting for himself, the merchant sold medicine (that doubles as poison when used incorrectly) to terrorists, the local priest disowned his daughter when she got pregnant (and you find out later that she lost the baby, who probably would have survived if she was able to stay home), and Abigail is a relatively decent person but fixated on worshipping an eldritch abomination, which includes retaliating in spades. The sad thing is that the product of their cowardice, greed, wrath, and revenge (three assholes who pushed a cultist too far) is a curse that goes horribly wrong and ends up targeting the innocent travelers, which indirectly starts the main plot. This ends badly.
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings features Loredo, the "commandante" of a river port town called Flotsam. You have the option of killing him, which can only mean good things for the town.
    • His mother is literally insane, and it was thanks to greedy men that she ended up rich enough to buy the town after the local therapists were murdered. She concocts a plan to have a half-elf as her grandchild, through enslaved rape; regardless of whether or not Loredo survives, she succeeds.
  • Countryside "redneck" criminals are a reoccurring but minor threat across Grand Theft Auto. They don't seem to hold much power in the communities they inhabit, unlike most examples of this trope.
    • A gang of rednecks lead by an Elvis Impersonator appear in the second area of Grand Theft Auto 2, inhabiting a trailer park. They are opposed to the Scientists due to their lack of literacy.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features one mission where CJ must steal a combine harvester from a group of Right Wing Militia Fanatics who dress and behave in a typical southern manner.
    • A gang known as the Trailer Park Mafia is featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, serving as an early-game employer and later an antagonist group for Victor Vance. They are absorbed into Vance's criminal empire after he kills their leader, Marty Jay Williams.
    • Various redneck gangs inhabit the countryside areas of Blaine County in Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online, usually as generic enemies. The most prominent gang among them is the O'Neil Brothers, who are constant victims of Trevor in both the storyline missions and in the Heists update.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Stroker and Hoop: Parodied when they investigate a murder in the Deep South. At the very beginning of the investigation, Stroker predicts, "It was either the corrupt mayor, the corrupt sheriff, or some crazy hick." It turned out to be the sheriff. ("So, Stroker was right! You cliché, evil bastard!")
  • Seen on Fillmore! when Fillmore visits his former Safety Patrol partner down South.
  • One episode of Batman: The Animated Series pitted Bruce Wayne against a gluttonous sadist, who kidnapped the homeless and forced them to work in a dangerous mine.
  • The Simpsons: "Even I'm offended by this, and I'm a fat Southern sheriff!"
    • Rich Texan has frequently been shown as a doing anything for money, yet does have a good side (he does love his gay son).
  • On Captain Planet and the Planeteers, this role was filled by Hoggish Greedly (who was also a Corrupt Corporate Executive). Representing overconsumption of resources and greed, he was basically a combination of the "fat southern sheriff" stereotype and Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. Ironically he literally was only in it for the money, as opposed to general malice or sadism, and when his environmentalist father faked death to test him, and denied to let him have his will when his time came, Greedly went straight (provided he could still rake in green by going green, of course...).
  • The Fairly Oddparents: Doug Dimmadome (owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadome). Sometimes.
  • Robin Hood (1973): The Sheriff of Nottingham, who has a Southern accent despite the film taking place in England. Presumably the script team heard the word "sheriff"note  and decided to stick to what they knew. Averted with Friar Tuck (voiced by Andy Devine), who sounds like a Deep South Preacher Man stereotype, albeit the heroic Good Shepherd variety.
  • Mayor Coleman in the Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Fool's Gold". He kidnaps one of the aliens who comes to Walton every year, and feeds it popcorn, which makes it poop gold. He intends to have the alien poop enough gold to pay off his debts. It gets worse when he grows impatient with the little guy and feeds him meat instead...
  • The Family Guy episode "Cool Hand Peter" was built around this trope.
  • Gideon Gleeful from Gravity Falls certainly plays the part, and he's about Dipper and Mabel's age.
    • Mabel has apparently internalized this trope, as later on her subconscious conjures Judge Kitty Kitty Meow Meow Face-Schwartzstein, a Kangaroo Court judge, who manages to fit the trope even despite being Ambiguously Jewish.
  • Mr. Moss of Storm Hawks is a chubby Cyclonian prison warden built around stereotypes of the American South. He has a heavy Southern drawl, wears a cowboy hat and peppers his speech with Southernisms. He even calls his hovercraft Bessie.
  • Played with in Archer. When the team travels to West Virginia to meet Ray's brother Randy, they run afoul of a local sheriff who seemingly checks off every trait of a corrupt law officer, trying to kill Randy to steal his pot farm. It turns out he's actually a By-the-Book Cop honestly trying to bring Randy in for breaking the law.
  • The Talespin episode "Citizen Khan" has the Sea Duck stopped by a sheriff for flying over the town's airspace, and then sentenced to work in the mines by the same guy as judge. All while the town's Only Sane Woman protests that he doesn't actually hold either of these positions, it's just that nobody else does.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Corrupt Hick


Seymour Redding

A southern mall security guard gone mad. Redding believes he's a sheriff and uses his badge as an excuse to start hanging innocent people like it's the Old West.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmallTownTyrant

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