A runaway box-office hit to the tune of 17 million dollars, Walking Tall is the unabashedly manipulative story of real-life Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser. As played by Joe Don Baker, Pusser can either be regarded as a tireless champion of justice or a baseball-bat-wielding hooligan. But with some of the most scurrilous villains this side of a Republic serial as the main targets of Pusser's wrath, the audience cannot help but applaud the sheriff's strongarm methods. When the town baddies seek vengeance by killing Pusser's wife (Elizabeth Hartman), the you-know-what really hits the fan! Never resorting to subtlety, Walking Tall was such a winner that it spawned two sequels, a made-for-television movie, and a weekly TV series -- none of which were enjoyed by the real Buford Pusser, who had long since died under questionable circumstances. At the time of the film's theatrical release, the MPAA rating system was comparatively new, so the studio launched an ad campaign aimed at parents, letting them know that the R-rated Walking Tall contained violence and not sex, and therefore was good family entertainment.