This remake of the 1973 hit starring Joe Don Baker is loosely based on the life of Sheriff Buford Pusser. In 1964 Pusser was elected, and took over, vice-ridden McNary County on the border of Mississippi and Tennessee. Citizens had become disgusted by the spillover of drugs, gambling and prostitution into their rural communities. Graft and corruption had created a no-man's land where police, either because they were afraid or on the take, stayed away.
The original movie freely embellished the events of Pusser's crusade to stamp out the rackets. The Buford Pusser Museum and gift shop in Adamsville, Tennessee demonstrates the awe and affection that Pusser enjoyed among the citizenry. Visitors may purchase replicas of his badge. For ten dollars you can have a copy of the big stick he used to club crime on the head.
The new Walking Tall, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson of TV wrestling fame, could be called Buford Pusser Lite. Gone is the deeply flawed lawman of truth and legend. The story is relocated to a mill town in Washington State. It is filmed at Squamish, British Columbia, near the famed Whistler ski resort. Buford Pusser's name is changed to the less antebellum, Chris Vaughn, and he is now a recently discharged Special Forces soldier. (Watch out, bad guys!) He returns to his childhood home, desiring only a job at the lumber mill and the comforting proximity of family and old friends.
A childhood rival has inherited the mill, shut it down and used the money to fund a casino and drug empire. Chris Vaughn is drawn into the fight, gets elected sheriff and begins to take care of business. He smashes up the dens of vice, and the vice lord's henchmen. No one can stop him. This is the stuff of which gubernatorial candidates ...1
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