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John Quincy Wydell
John Quincy Wydell
John Quincy Wydell
Aliases: John Wydell
Sheriff Wydell
Notability: Supporting character
Type: Law enforcement
Gender: Male
Location: Ruggsville, Texas
Known relatives: George Wydell [1]
Status: Deceased
Born: 1928 [2]
Died: 1978
1st appearance: The Devil's Rejects (2005)
Actor: William Forsythe

John Quincy Wydell was the sheriff of the fictional city of Ruggsville, Texas and the brother of the late former sheriff George Wydell. Played by William Forsythe, John Quincy Wydell played a dual protagonist/antagonist in the 2005 action-horror film The Devil's Rejects directed by Rob Zombie.

Biography Edit


John Wydell leads the raid on the Firefly house.

The Wydell family has always been in law enforcement. There exists a longstanding heritage of sheriffs who have "walked the line" and practiced their own brand of vigilante justice. John Quincy Wydell grew up in the shadow of his older brother George who, unlike the family tradition, tried to maintain an upstanding approach to law and order.

On May 18th, 1978, Sheriff John Quincy Wydell led a raid on the farm ranch of the murderous Firefly family. The siege was brief, albeit violent and bloody. Wydell's team succeeded in killing one of the family members, Rufus Firefly, Jr., and arrested the matriarch of the family, known only as Mother Firefly. Rufus' siblings however, Otis B. Driftwood and Baby Firefly maanged to escape. Wydell took Mother Firefly into custody and questioned her at length as to her family's actions. He pledged to bring in Otis and Baby no matter what. After examining a pile of Mother Firefly's personal scrapbooks recovered from the crime scene, John learned that she was the one who was personally responsible for murdering his brother.

This realization began to slowly push John over the edge. He became obsessed with the Firefly family at the sake of everything else. It was his deputy, Ray Dobson, who made the connection between the aliases the family members usually went by and their connection to old Groucho Marx films. He also discovered that the Fireflys were associated with a local celebrity known as Captain Spaulding. Hoping to gain some insight into this connection, Wydell brought in film critic Marty Walker for consultation. The flamboyant Walker illustrated how each of the killers named themselves after characters played by Groucho Marx throughout the course of his career. Things grew ugly between Wydell and Walker, particularly when the critic made a disparaging remark about Elvis Presley (whom he noted to have died three days before Groucho Marx). John promised to beat Marty up should he ever again say anything derogatory about "Elvis Aaron Presley".

Following the frustrating altercation with the film critic, Wydell resumed his task towards tracking down Otis, Baby and Captain Spaulding. Though he was reluctant to do so at first, Wydell hired two bounty hunters known as the Unholy Two (Rondo and Billy Ray Snapper) to track down the killers, as well as anyone else who may have had a connection to them.

That evening, Wydell had a dream wherein he saw his brother at the old Firefly ranch. In the dream, he promised to avenge George's death, but also came to the realization that in order to succeed, he needed to embrace his family's tradition of vigilantism. Wydell awakened, walked down to the cell block at the county prison and stabbed Mother Firefly to death. He kissed her lightly on the cheeck before allowing her body to slide down to the floor.

The following day, Wydell learned from the Unholy Two about a man named Charlie Altamont, who also went by the alias of Wolf J. Flywheel (another Groucho Marx character). He cornered Altamont outside of a chicken farm and blackmailed him into revealing where Spaulding, Otis and Baby were hiding out. Altamont reluctantly pointed him towards his country-style brothel, Charlie's Frontier Fun Town. Wydell and the Unholy Two raided the brothel and Wydell shot Captain Spaulding in the leg. Rondo and Billy Ray Snapper managed to capture Otis and Baby and Wydell packed all three of them into his vehicle and drove them back to the Firefly ranch.

John makes the Fireflys suffer for their crimes.

By this point, John had been drinking heavily and intended on putting the "Devil's Rejects" through the same torture and pain that their victims had suffered. He bound them all to three chairs positioned side-by-side. He drove two large nails into Otis' hands, pinning him to the arms of his chair. He showed the killers photographs of their victims and then began stapling the pictures onto their chests. With Spaulding, he declared how much he hated clowns and began zapping him with a cattle prod. After torturing them for some time, he let Baby go, with the intent of tracking her down and killing her. He then poured gasoline around Otis and Spaulding and lit it on fire.

Running out into the night, he chased after Baby Firefly, shooting her in the leg with his service revolver. As he went to finish her off, Charlie Altamont appeared. Feeling guilty over betraying them, Charlie tried to redeem himself by saving Baby's life, but Sheriff Wydell killed him by cleaving him in the neck with a hatchet that had been lying on the ground nearby. He then turned his sights back on Baby and began strangling her. Baby's older brother Tiny appeared from behind and grabbed Wydell by the throat. With a simple twist, he snapped the man's neck, killing him.

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • The character of John Quincy Wydell was created by director and screenwriter Rob Zombie.
  • To prepare for the role of John Quincy Wydell, director Rob Zombie encouraged actor William Forsythe to draw upon iconic "tough guy" film stars such as Lee Marvin and Robert Shaw. [3]
  • In addition to being a sheriff, John Wydell was a hunter. His office was decorated with trophy heads of his various kills.
  • Sheriff Wydell was a huge Elvis Presley fan.

Quotes Edit

  • Sheriff Wydell: You listen to me, and you listen good! I am gonna kill every member of your family! I'm gonna hunt them down like the animals they are, and I'm gonna skin em' alive! They are going to feel the pain and suffering of every last victim! They're gonna crawl on on their hands and knees, and they're gonna beg me for mercy! But all I'm gonna have for them is pain! Pain and death!


  • Sheriff Wydell: Dyin's not an option. Now you stick that back in that gray matter of yours and you make that stick. Cause any other thought is gonna get you cold slabed, toe taged, and mailed home to your mamma in a plastic bag. Are we crystal?


  • Sheriff Wydell: I'm walking the line on this brother. I'm, I'm walking the line.


  • Sheriff Wydell: Son, if you ever say another derogatory word about Elvis Aron Presley in my presence again, I will kick the living shit out of you!


  • Sheriff Wydell: From delusion lead me to truth, from darkness lead me to light, from death lead me to eternal life.




  • Sheriff Wydell: See, I tried to walk the line but now I realize there is no line. Now we here, we are playin' on a level that most will never see.


  • Sheriff Wydell: You know I got to thank you all for helping me understand what my heritage is.

References Edit

  1. Brother, deceased.
  2. Date approximated based upon the age of actor William Forsythe at the time the film takes place.
  3. Rob Zombie; The Devil's Rejects; DVD director's commentary; 2008

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