Walking Tall was first made in 1973 and was followed by two sequels, a TV movie and a short-lived TV series. It was the story of a crusading sheriff named Buford Pusser. Although this 2004 version is Based on a true story and is dedicated to Pusser, it is more a vehicle for action star, The Rock who, instead of taking on the real-life characters name, is called Chris Vaughn.
Vaughn, a retired Special Forces soldier, returns to his small hometown - a place that, although nestled in beautiful natural surroundings, has become ugly. The lumber mill, once the towns main source of income, has been closed down and now the revenue comes from a casino run by Vaughns high school friend - of sorts - Jay Hamilton (Neal McDonough).
Vaughn first decides that his old hometown needs cleaning up when Hamilton invites him and his friends to the casino and Vaughn discovers that the dice are loaded at the craps table. He goes on a rampage, but is finally brought down by Hamiltons men who, in retaliation, perform some nasty surgery on his body.
When Vaughn tries to press charges against the casino, the sheriff (Michael Bowen) tells him the case is closed and does nothing about it. Later, when Vaughn discovers that his nephew, Pete (Khleo Thomas) and other kids in the town are getting drugs from the casino, he goes on a one-man demolition mission, smashing the casino and attacking the thugs who work there with a plank of timber. When he is charged for the offence and ends up in court, he promises that if hes acquitted, hell run for sheriff and clean up the town.
Apparently tired of the corruption that has infested their town, the jury finds him not guilty him and the people vote him in. Vaughn fires the previous sheriff and his men, promotes his pal, Ray (Johnny Knoxville) to deputy and begins what he has promised, bringing the wrath of Hamilton and his cronies upon him - and his family.