The State Line Mob vs. Sheriff Buford Pusser

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

He was a different breed of law enforcement, but he was perfectly matched to battle it out with the State Line Mo. Beyond the myth & legend, did Buford Pusser’s ambition to wipe out the mob lead to his wife’s murder?

This week we delve into the facts and fiction behind the legendary sheriff Buford Pusser. His life was immortalized in the series of “Walking Tall” movies, but how much of those scripts were accurate?

Can one man take on the Dixie Mafia and win?

Whatever your opinion of the man, Buford Pusser had the moxie to try. He refused to take bribes like he’d seen other law enforcement officials do and tried to clean up the state line.

It was a different world back then.

Law enforcement officials weren’t tied down with as many rules and regulations back then. Pusser’s “strong arm” tactics wouldn’t be allowed in this politically correct world. If you didn’t break the law then he was a hero. If you did, he was an evil thug.

Back in the 1960’s & 1970’s the phrase “strong arm of the law” meant something entirely different then it does now, but B.P. was still criticized back in the day. The High Point Enterprise ran an article on April 7, 1974 titled, “Buford Pusser: Hero or Thug?” The title explains a lot. Even back then some people questions the lawman’s methods.

The six years he was sheriff were filled with blood and violence. He patrolled the state line waging war on prostitution, illegal gambling & moonshine. Pusser was 6’6″ giant of a man weighing in at 250 lbs. During his wrestling days he was known as “Buford the Bull.”

Born on December 12, 1937 in Finger, Tennessee the Bull would rage through life until his death in 1974. He was only 36. Some claim he was a hero who died to soon and others wonder if he left more pain in his wake than necessary. Was he a hero or a thug? We may never know. People still argue over this man’s exploits four decades after his death.

In 1964, Buford Pusser became the Sheriff of McNairy County Tennessee and the war began. Shortly after receiving his new title, the State Line Mob offered Pusser $1,000/month to look the other way, but the big man refused. During his tenure, the sheriff jailed 7,500 criminals and dismantled 85 moonshine stills. Legend says he did this all in the year of 1965, but I was unable to verify that. It is more likely that he did that in the span of six years. Who knows? Maybe someone will come forward after reading this article and show me documentation to prove otherwise.

It was a known fact that B.P. didn’t carry a weapon into his battles with criminals. Instead, he depended on his brawn to take down the bad guys. This would all change in November 1965 when he was attacked by a group of hired assassins. Pusser was left to die with seven stab wounds. Perhaps it was grit and determination, or maybe it was divine guidance, but either way Pusser recovered and jumped right back into the fight, only this time he jumped in with a .41 magnum Smith & Wesson.

February 2, 1966, Sheriff Pusser was called to the Shamrock Hotel. Someone had filed another complaint against the owner Louise Hathcock. A couple unsuspecting visitors were robbed while staying at the infamous hotel. It was a familiar story. Hathcock currently had two warrants out against her for theft and possession of an illegal substance (moonshine.)

The sheriff took off towards the hotel with his gun in the glove box, but his deputy suggested he stop and strap on his gun. That decision would either save his life or allow him to commit murder. It all depends on which side of the fence you sit on.

During the visit a drunken Louise pulled her .38 and shot at Buford. In her delirious state, she missed giving B.P. enough time to fire off a few rounds in return. Of course this killing was justifiable in the eyes of the grand jury and the sheriff faced no charges in the ordeal. Pusser’s critics, however, claim Louise Hathcock was shot in the back therefore constituting murder. I have not been able to find an official autopsy to confirm this theory. I have, however, found many of the original reports on the incident, all of which point to self defense.

Whatever happened in that room, it triggered a series of blood letting that would make history. When the dust finally settled seven years later, the great lawman an most of the State Line Mob were dead. Two big names would survive and become the next generation of the Dixie Mafia.

Next week we will get into the ambush of Sheriff Pusser and his wife on New Hope Rd and the blood bath that ensued. Stay tune folks this tale is far from over.

The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

The Jackson Sun

The Statesville Record


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15 People Looked the Killer in the Eye – No Arrests

wolf rimann


After shooting down a prominent businessman, the killer looked up and gazed at the people in the factory windows. Why would a hitman do this? Was he confident, arrogant, or was he backed by the Mafia and knew he was untouchable? Whatever the case, Wolf Rimann lay dying in his car, and the killer got away. Seventy years later we have a full description of the killer, but no arrests.

Wolf Rimann, 43 was a marked man. He had been warned. Perhaps he thought he was too powerful in Kansas City to be taken out so easily. Rimann was a Deputy Sherriff in Jackson County. He was neck deep in corruption and thrived. Rimann was a golf professional and the manager of the Hillcrest Country Club. He also owned the Western Speciality Company which supplied jukeboxes and pinball machines to area businesses. Rimann was known to slip a few strategically placed slot machines in as well. It was a well-known fact that Rimann would use his badge to force tavern owners to install his slot machines. If the bar owner refused, Rimann would decide to enforce the county’s
“dry” laws and shut the bar down. At one point there were four other officers on Rimann’s payroll for this sole purpose.
The local Mafia kingpin, John Blando had exclusive rights to the Schenley Liquor products and was making a boat-load of money on the deal. Rimann decided he wanted a piece of the action and bypassed Blando. He went directly to New York and was given permission to sell Schenley liquor. This obviously upset Blando, so he sent word for Rimann to back off, but Rimann refused and continued to stock a warehouse full of the product.

On March 24, 1949, Wolf Rimann was walking towards his car on the corner of 14th & Chestnut when a black Ford peeled around the corner. One man stepped out and stood as a century. Another man stepped out firing a pistol. Rimann was riddled with bullets as he opened the car door. He slumped across the front seat of his car as the shooter approached. The hitman’s final bullet met its mark in Rimann’s skull. Then the killer did something very odd. He turned and looked at the factory windows full of witnesses exposing his face to the crowd. If this were a Hollywood film, he probably would have tipped his hat. After the strange moment passed, the two men jumped back into the Ford and raced away.

wolf rimann 2


The sketch above says the Ford was parked, but early reporting of this case say the Ford never stopped and the two men who exited the car had to jog to catch back up to it. The getaway car was found ten blocks north of the crime scene. The vehicle was traced back to a St. Louis car dealership. It was recently purchased by an Italian man claiming to be from Denver. He paid with cash and asked to borrow a couple of license plates. He never picked up the car title. He apparently had other plans for the car. The mysterious Italian was never found.

After his death, Rimann’s illegal business dealings came to light and exposed how deep the corruption had become in Kansas City. Although the case was never solved, the Kansas City Crime Commission was formed because of the murder of Wolf Rimann. Everyone knows the mob killed Rimann, but the triggerman was never found, and the crime boss of K.C. was never convicted of hiring the hit.

More Info:

Synova’s Youtube Video:

Youtube Video #2:

Kansas City Star

All photos used in this article are from the Kansas City archives. I do not own the copyright on any of these and no infringement is intended. This article is for informational purposes only,

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


Don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter and receive her Grim Justice ebook for FREE.

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Missouri’s Missing – Dana Bruce

Dana Bruce--missing

A single mom goes out for a much-needed break one Saturday night in the rural town of Sedalia, MO. She meets a good ole’ boy in a red Ford truck and decides to ask the sitter to stay the night. She stops by the house just before midnight to pay the sitter’s extra fees, but never returns home. Ten years and a thousand rumors later the family is still at a loss. Where is Dana Bruce?

Dana Bruce, 23 was the mother of two young children; Dylan 4 and Destiny 2. Her mom’s night out has lasted ten years, and now her children have no recollections of their devoted mother. Their grandmother, and now legal guardian, keeps their mother’s memory alive with pictures and scrapbooks. It’s all these two children have left. Dylan is now a teenager, and it’s been reported that he reads the online reports about his mother every few weeks.

Dana had a problematic upbringing being bounced between foster homes and spending some time in a girl’s group home in Sedalia as a child. She seemed determined to give her kids a better life and tried to make something of herself, but by 23 she was still searching for Mr. Right. On the night of October 4, 2008, her search leads her to Malone’s Bar in downtown Sedalia. Video surveillance last records her around 11:30 pm. A short time later she is seen with a man driving a newer model Ford F150. Dana returns home to pay the babysitter the extra fee for agreeing to stay the night and was never seen again.

Authorities tracked down the man in the red truck and questioned him. A short time later he skipped town. He was later arrested in Georgia on possession of an illegal substance and driving on a suspended license. This man has been classed as a person of interest but hasn’t been publicly named.

Rumors abound in the small rural town, and many of them are far-fetched, but the local police assure the public that they have doggedly tracked down each one. Some locals blame her ex. Some locals believe she is underneath the concrete at the nearby Pro-Energy construction site. Police could not verify either one of these so-called leads.

If you have any information about this young mother, please contact the Sedalia Police Department. (660) 826-8100.

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

Don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter and recieve her popular e-book, Grim Justice for FREE!

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