Buffalo Jim Barrier: Larger Than Life and Unsolved Death

“Buffalo Jim” Barrier was a larger-than-life walking parade. A mountain of a man at 6’2″ and 295 pounds, he drowned himself in jewelry and leather while sporting a top hat and Shaman-like gear. Imagine a cross between Bray Wyatt and rocker Dr. John, The Night Tripper, and you’ve got “Buffalo Jim.” The hard-partying and fun-loving wrestling promoter and business owner was a Las Vegas mainstay. That is, until his grim unsolved death in a Vegas Motel 6.

What happened to one of Las Vegas' unique personalities Buffalo Jim?
What happened to one of Las Vegas’ unique personalities Buffalo Jim? [Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal]

The Colorful “Buffalo Jim” Barrier

In 2005, “Buffalo Jim” Barrier was voted The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Most Colorful Character” award.

They described the larger-than-life Barrier as follows:

“When Jennifer Barrier was in kindergarten, she and her classmates were asked to draw their favorite cartoon character. Some kids drew Inspector Gadget. Others sketched CatDog. Barrier produced a drawing of her father.

“When her teacher approached her, she explained, ‘I don’t have to watch cartoons. I watch my dad.’ He was so animated.'”

The Review’s tribute continued:

“He was a big man with long black hair and a beard that flowed down his chest. He had a sense of humor, once building a volcano in the backyard of his half-million-dollar home. He was colorful.

“The walls at his Allstate Auto and Marine shop were covered with photos autographed by famous boxers, wrestlers, and Ultimate fighters. A former professional wrestler who ran his own wrestling school, Buffalo Jim drew the attention of television networks. He was a living, breathing tall tale in Las Vegas for 37 years.”

Speaking of tall tales, a rumor circulated around Vegas that Elvis Presley had come back from the dead to visit Buffalo’s auto shop because he had found no one in this life or the next to perform trustworthy service on his beloved Cadillacs.

Oh, and Buffalo Jim owned a 14-foot-high, smoke-belching bison. But of course.

“Buffalo Jim” Barrier was a modern-day renaissance man and loving father. A wrestling promoter, fearless entrepreneur, and auto mechanic extraordinaire, he was a showman through and through.

Buffalo Jim Barrier pictured with wrestling friends Ron Simmons, Yokozuna, Undertaker, and Rikishi.
Buffalo Jim Barrier pictured with wrestling friends Ron Simmons, Yokozuna, Undertaker, and Rikishi.

“Since its inception, Las Vegas is a city that can make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, but always at a cost. What are you willing to surrender?”

– Anonymous.


Pro Wrestling and Las Vegas: A Perfect Fit for Buffalo Jim

Pro Wrestling has a rich history in Las Vegas.

In the 1950s, the Hollywood booking office generally controlled professional wrestling in Vegas. Before this, people who ran Nevada came and went, with the history being a little murky. A standout from the ’30s is German wrestler Hans Steinke who frequently worked in Reno.

The early ’60s were a boom period for wrestling in Nevada, with its epicenter at the original Cashman Field, previously called Elks Stadium and home to the Wranglers, a minor league baseball team in the ’40s. This site saw stars like “The Destroyer” Dick Beyer defeating Sandor Szabo in two straight falls, and Lou Thesz doing the same to Hans Hermann.

The late ’60s saw Big Time Wrestling run by Roy Shire book shows at the new Las Vegas Convention Center until 1974. Stars like Pat Patterson, Ray Stevens, Peter Maivia, Rocky Johnson, Paul DeMarco, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Fritz Von Goering, and Red Bastien saw action in Vegas.

The early ’80s saw Verne Gagne’s AWA buy the San Francisco Bay Area television slot previously owned by Shire while his promotion was in its death throes.

In 1983, Gagne began running at the Showboat Sports Pavilion (the second floor of the Showboat Hotel) and broadcasted on ESPN. AWA Superstars of Wrestling ran for five years, but the AWA soon fell even with this short-term windfall.

A provisional outdoor arena with football bleachers outside Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas hosted WrestleMania XI on April 4th, 1993.
A provisional outdoor arena with football bleachers outside Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas hosted WrestleMania XI on April 4th, 1993. [Photo: TJR Wrestling]

“Jimmy [Buffalo Jim] Barrier believed he had the right to do his own thing and believed that everyone here has the right to do their own thing. He was a great American.”

– Rick Dahl, former business partner.


“Buffalo Jim” Arrives

Cleveland, Ohio native James Christopher Barrier, a fifth-grade dropout, arrived in Las Vegas to stay in 1971.

Starting from nothing, Barrier began diligently fixing cars from his van. Before that, he’d learned the tricks of the trade with his brother.

By the late ’70s, he set up his auto repair shop called Allstate Auto-Marine Repair, known simply as “Auto and Marine.”

With a 30-year lease located at 2480 Industrial Road near the Las Vegas Strip, it got a reputation for reliability. In addition, Buffalo Jim’s charismatic personality made him a well-known denizen around the city.

Vegas stars frequented his business and befriended him. There were too many to name. But boxer Muhammad Ali, legendary actor Tony Curtis, and singer/songwriter Kristoffer “Kris” Kristofferson were taken with Buffalo Jim.

He knew “everybody.”

The nickname “Buffalo” came after an encounter in 1975 at a downtown casino with an inebriated Texan tourist who, in his madness, confessed to having intercourse with a Buffalo. For all he knew, James Barrier was the child!

At the time, Jim Barrier was with Dee Egbert, a man who ran a car lot on Boulder Highway and had offered Jim work when he came to town and who also remained his lifelong friend.

Of course, wrestling often attracts the rebels who want to do things their way and hunger for a life far from the nine-to-five weekly grind. And Las Vegas, Nevada, with its Old-West style liberties, was one of the few places Buffalo Jim could have thrived.

Buffalo Jim Barrier outside his auto repair shop in Las Vegas called Allstate Auto-Marine Repair, known simply as "Auto and Marine."
Buffalo Jim Barrier outside his auto repair shop in Las Vegas called Allstate Auto-Marine Repair, known simply as “Auto and Marine.” [Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal]

Buffalo Wrestling Federation

Las Vegas Weekly’s Joshua Longobardy boasted of Buffalo Jim’s passion for pro wrestling.

“Just as the city of Las Vegas was a perfect fit for him, it was only natural for Buffalo to induct himself into the race of professional wrestlers, for whom the line between reality and fiction is fluid.

“In 1996, Buffalo, a born showman, began to exaggerate the persona to which that drunk Texan 22 years earlier had given name, and he initiated a vocational school for pro wrestlers.

“They trained twice a week. Buffalo taught them not just the illusionary arts of wrestling but also the magical formula by which a character was created.

“Then Buffalo began to put on live shows at the Silver Nugget and the Orleans, which were taped for cable television, and he pulled off the greatest trick of them all by managing to breakeven with those modest events. I myself often noticed Buffalo Wrestling Federation shirts worn on the street long before I ever met Buffalo.”

Buffalo Jim ran his wrestling promotion in the late 1990s. His local cable TV show ran late at night.

But later, the Buffalo Wrestling Federation, which also had a wrestling school, ran and produced their shows at another locale adjacent to the Crazy Horse Too, a gentleman’s club, starting in 1998.

Buffalo Jim with wrestlers "Sycho" Sid Vicious, Bill Goldberg, and Rick Steiner.
Buffalo Jim with wrestlers “Sycho” Sid Vicious, Bill Goldberg, and Rick Steiner. [Photo: Mike Christ]
Jim befriended the likes of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Percy Pringle (Paul Bearer), Ron Simmons, Bill Goldberg, Sid Vicious, Rick Steiner, Yokozuna, The Godfather, and Rikishi.

His early shows featured the return of Barry O (Orton) to wrestling along with WWF veterans The Tonga Kid, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, and Flash Funk (2 Cold Scorpio).

He featured a 6-foot-11 inch, 625-pound mixed martial artist on one card he promoted. On that very night, he showcased his Buffwagon, a customized four-wheel motorcycle decked out as a buffalo. And out of the nostrils of this $27,000 motorcycle shot real smoke.

A showman he most certainly was.

On his blog, Percy Pringle remembers how Buffalo Jim liked the ladies and loved to party:

“When I think of my favorite ‘Buff’ story, I always recall one night we (me, ‘Taker, and Buff) were together at one of Vegas’ top strip clubs.

“We must have been there 5 or 6 hours when Buffalo went to the restroom. ‘Taker told me he couldn’t take it anymore and was going to sneak out, get a cab, and go back to our penthouse at the Imperial Palace. The fact that ‘Taker was leaving was a statement; we are talking about THE Vegas party animal of the 1990s.

“Well… I was too ‘nice’ to run out on our friend, although he probably would have never known I was gone. LOL

“Anyway. I stayed for another hour and ran out into the rising sun over sin city the next time ‘Buff’ hit the bathroom. It is one of those you had to be there moments.”

Buffalo Jim’s wrestling school enjoyed the support of various superstars like Yokozuna.

Enemies Made While Friendships Are Formed

In 1984, “Buffalo Jim” Barrier met Frederick “Rick” Rizzolo, owner of the gentlemen’s club Crazy Horse Too, which was situated directly next door to Barrier’s auto-marine shop and wrestling school. Little did he know that what started as a tenuous friendship would become a feud that would last for the next two decades.

With political and alleged mob connections, Rizzolo was a businessman who wanted to expand his club and gain much-needed parking.

On May 1st, 2002, Rizzolo purchased the shopping center where Buffalo Jim ran shows. But Jim stayed. Rizzolo even accused the people outside of the wrestling school of loitering. A judge threw this out.

The Crazy Horse Too was a highly lucrative gentleman's club owned by Rick Rizzolo's Power. Co Corporation, which had a long-withstanding feud with Buffalo Jim Barrier.
The Crazy Horse Too was a highly lucrative gentleman’s club owned by Rick Rizzolo’s Power. Co Corporation, which had a long-withstanding feud with Buffalo Jim Barrier. [Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal]
But no matter what the cost, Buffalo Jim wouldn’t budge.

Sources differ on whether Rizzolo offered Buffalo Jim a lowball offer or nothing at all. Former city councilman and Buffalo Jim confidant Steve Miller calculates that a fair price to move Barrier out would have been a million and a half, but Rizzolo offered him “zip.”

“They want to move me out, and I’ve got four children to feed. I don’t think so!” said Buffalo Jim when interviewed by news reporters.

“Why should I move? If you’re not going to pay me, I’m staying,” Steve Miller says Buffalo Jim would say.

Ever the showman, according to a Las Vegas Weekly article, to garner publicity in his still relatively early legal battles with Rizzolo, in 2001, Buffalo Jim issued a challenge to Rizzolo in a no-holds-barred, steel-cage match by saying, “I’ll settle this once and for all. I’ll challenge him to a match. If I win, he must vacate the premises within two years. If he wins, I’ve got to leave.”

Tensions Grow

“Buffalo Jim” Barrier’s shop was broken into, and customer cars that were left overnight were vandalized on several occasions or even towed away. After finding needles and condoms in the shared parking lot, Buffalo Jim sought help and formed a friendship with former City Councilman Steve Miller.

At this point, the damage he had incurred to his customer’s vehicles, which he had to pay out of his pocket, was into the “hundreds of thousands of dollars over time,” remarked attorney Gus Flangas in the Unsolved Mysteries episode on Netflix covering Buffalo Jim’s death.

While Flangas filed a lawsuit seeking a million dollars in damages on Buffalo Jim’s behalf, he discovered that in 1995, the FBI had investigated Rick Rizzolo for alleged racketeering and tax evasion.

Buffalo Jim and Steve Miller became painful thorns in Rizzolo's and the mob's backsides, who allegedly tried to intimidate and muscle Buffalo Jim out of the properties he was leasing.
Buffalo Jim and Steve Miller became painful thorns in Rizzolo’s and the mob’s backsides, who allegedly tried to intimidate and muscle Buffalo Jim out of the properties he was leasing. [Photo: Mike Christ]
Meanwhile, Crazy Horse Too began getting a reputation for illicit activities like drug use and violence against customers, with several lawsuits and investigations unfolding.

Even after threats to his safety, Buffalo Jim became an outspoken enemy of the mob who refused to back down.

After reading Miller’s timeline of events, the problem between Buffalo Jim and Rick Rizzolo was not only about Rizzolo wanting to expand his club and encountering a stubborn Buffalo Jim. It also stemmed from a bacchanal of corruption amongst “Las Vegas politicians, law enforcement officials, underworld figures, and Frederick “Rick” Rizzolo.”

The Feud Continues

For years, Buffalo Jim and AmericanMafia.com photographer Mike Christ documented illegal activities around the Crazy Horse Too parking lot and front entrance. He would send “boxes of evidence [to the FBI] usually weekly for approximately two years,” said retired FBI agent Robert Clymer in the Unsolved Mysteries episode covering Barrier’s suspicious passing.

With a search warrant, two SWAT teams, and almost 100 officers, the FBI raided the club on February 20, 2003.

Like many federal cases involving the mob, Rizzolo pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges in 2006.

In early 2007 sentenced to a year and a day in prison, but only served seven months after good behavior and got released in March 2008 to live at a halfway house close to the Crazy Horse Too.

The Marshals Service obtained a court order to take control of Crazy Horse Too in September after Rizzolo couldn’t sell the club to meet the financial obligations outlined in his 2006 criminal plea agreement. But it later went through many buyers in the following years, and Rizzolo wound up owing millions of dollars and tried to lease the club illegally many times.

An elated Buffalo Jim poses in front of the Crazy Horse Too. On August 30, 2007, the U.S. Marshalls seized Rick Rizzolo's infamous club.
An elated Buffalo Jim poses in front of the Crazy Horse Too. On August 30, 2007, the U.S. Marshalls seized Rick Rizzolo’s infamous club. [Photo: stevemiller4lasvegas.com]
Even after the admission of Rizzolo’s corporation (The Power Co.), which owned Crazy Horse Too, that the club “sought to extort payment from patrons through explicit or implicit threats of violence, or force,” Mayor Oscar Goodman believed the charges were too harsh.

When formally released on April 4th, 2008, from the halfway house Rizzolo had been at. He was there only a week instead of a month.

Buffalo Jim’s body was found dead two days later.

“He Predicted His Death”

Two weeks before his death, Buffalo Jim’s establishment was broken into.

And although Rizzolo was behind bars, Buffalo Jim received threatening letters and phone calls.

According to the Unsolved Mysteries episode, even two years before her father’s passing, his daughter Jerica remembers her father receiving threatening letters and people screaming at him over the phone.

But her father would laugh it off.

According to his other daughter Jennifer, he told her that he had to be careful and watch his back but wasn’t going to back down and let anyone take anything away from him.

Some sources also note that on the morning of his death, he got a letter on April 5th at Auto and Marine, which he sent to the LVMPD Organized Crime Bureau, FBI, various news writers, and Steve Miller.

The letter warned him that Rizzolo’s people “have been in meetings” and “were up to no good.” The letter also discussed using a female to get access to Barrier’s business, mentioned “make sure your [sic] not being followed,” and “Oscar Goodman has made some very bad remarks of you.”

In the Unsolved Mysteries episode, Jennifer said that in her last conversation with her father, he informed her that Rick Rizzolo had just gotten out of prison and that if they got him, “they’d make it look like a drug overdose with women.”


“He was my closest friend. He predicted his death on the phone Saturday.”

Steve Miller.


Getting That Dreaded Call

On Friday afternoon, the day before his death, Buffalo Jim spoke with Steve Miller. Even with Rick Rizzolo’s release from prison, Barrier didn’t keep a low profile. Instead, he was actively looking for a new location to move his auto repair business and trying to raise funds by selling some of his memorabilia.

When he left on Saturday at 7:20 p.m., he told his youngest daughter Jerica he was going to dinner with some friends and would return by midnight.

According to various sources, Buffalo Jim was taking care of his health and not partying as hard as he used to in his younger years.

His daughter Jerica texted her father and called him later in the evening, but he didn’t reply.

She tried once more in the morning but with the same result. That’s when she began to worry.

On the morning of April 6th, 2008, his body was found lifeless at a Motel 6 on Boulder Highway, an older section of Las Vegas near a residential area.

Sources point to him calling his own death, and others, including his family, claim foul play after his longstanding feud with the neighboring gentleman’s club.

“The whole thing has a bad smell to it. Buffalo Jim died under highly, highly suspicious circumstances,” said his former attorney Gus Flangas.

Jerica and Elise Barrier, who were 15 and 20, respectively, had at their father’s home at 2 p.m. when an officer called the house and asked to speak with an adult. Elise would take the call while Jerica heard the terrible news over the speakerphone.

The officer informed them that their father was dead and that they needed to come to Motel 6 on Boulder Highway to identify the body.

What happened to Buffalo Jim on that April 5 evening? Many questions remain. Many still mourn his loss.
What happened to Buffalo Jim on that April 5 evening? Many questions remain. Many still mourn his loss. [Photo: thenexus.one]
According to Jerica, on the episode of Unsolved Mysteries, her sister Elise went over 100 MPH on the freeway while both cried uncontrollably trying to get to the motel.

Then Elise communicated the devastating news to Buffalo’s elder daughters, Jessica, 26, with her boyfriend and their three children in Colorado, and later to Jennifer, 24, who had been vacationing in Southern California.

Details On Buffalo Jim’s Death

Jim Barrier’s body was found in room 105 by housekeepers after they tried three times to see if they could service his room. They noticed that Buffalo Jim remained in the same sleeping position each time they entered the room, so they knew something wasn’t right.

Upon entering the room themselves, Jerica and Elise were in disbelief when they saw their father’s body on a stretcher and inside a body bag.

The police handed them an envelope containing their father’s wallet, car keys, cell phone, and the motel receipt.

His wallet contained a one-dollar bill, which some say is a signal of a mob hit. His daughters said their father would never fold money in his wallet and often carried large sums of cash on him, so this didn’t feel right.

Buffalo Jim can be seen checking into the Motel 6 on Boulder Highway on a four-minute surveillance video from the motel's lobby. A credit card receipt in Barrier's name confirms this time.
Buffalo Jim can be seen checking into Motel 6 on Boulder Highway on a four-minute surveillance video from the motel’s lobby. A credit card receipt in Barrier’s name confirms this time. [Source: Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix].
Oddly enough, Buffalo Jim was wearing an unbuttoned shirt but unclothed from his waist down with his pants down to his ankles. Investigators found no semen at the scene, but they discovered a white powdery substance on his beard and shirt.

“The nature in which the body was found was a little suspicious because there wasn’t a clear sign as to why he was deceased,” said retired LVMP lieutenant Lewis A. Roberts.

However, Las Vegas police Capt. Randy Montandon acknowledged the family wanted answers to its questions but said there was just no evidence of foul play.

Barrier’s daughters expressed their dad sometimes took half a Valium before bed. Investigators found a prescription bottle in their father’s pocket. They removed the remainder of the medication and returned the bottle and his belonging to his daughters.

Buffalo Jim's daughter Jennifer and her sisters seek justice for their father's death.
Buffalo Jim’s daughter Jennifer and her sisters seek justice for their father’s death. [Source: Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix]
Dr. Lary Simms, a medical examiner from the Clark County coroner’s office who performed the initial autopsy on Barrier’s body, would later tell Barrier’s daughters that he, with confidence, could place the time of death for their father between 7 and 9 p.m. on April 5th, 2008.

“Mr. Barrier had no significant external trauma,” he said. “He wasn’t shot, stabbed, beaten, or strangled,” he added.

The cause of death was ruled accidental.

The Clarke County Coroner later revealed that cocaine in his system contributed. Buffalo Jim also suffered from heart disease.

Dr. Lary Simms believes those were the two factors that caused his death. In medical terms: dilated cardiomyopathy and cocaine intoxication.

He found 245 NG/ML (nanograms per millimeter) of cocaine in his system.

“The minimum lethal level for cocaine is in the 100 to 200 nanograms per millimeter range,” said Simms. “Mr. Barrier’s blood level was right, about 250.”

A later toxicology report revealed GHB in his system, too but not determined as contributing to his passing.

Jerica was surprised after hearing the toxicology report results because she had never seen her father use drugs, alcohol, or even party.

Buffalo Jim had admitted to his daughters that during the ’80s, he had a cocaine habit but had been clean for years.

Wrestler and friend Johnny “Psycho” Paine confirms that although Buffalo Jim enjoyed going out and having a good time, he had never witnessed him consuming illegal narcotics.

However, Las Vegas Weekly stated, “[Barrier] did drugs. ‘Every kind there is,’ he would tell his daughter Elise in a moment of complete frankness.

“Up until the birth of his daughter Jessica in 1982, Buffalo ran with a pack of friends who pursued the false paradise of getting high whenever and wherever they could. In this way, Jessica, and her three sisters, who would follow in the ten years to come, were heaven-sent. For they diverted their father from a path that led Buffalo’s best friends to utter destruction.

“Of course, Buffalo hadn’t alleviated himself in whole of his vice. He would experiment with more drugs in the ’80s, dabble into them with his professional wrestling friends up until 2000, and, according to his close friends, renege with a night of heavy partying even as recently as three years ago.

“For this reason,” the Las Vegas Weekly concluded, “it was not entirely inconceivable when the woman with whom Buffalo spent his last moment of life, according to the police, insinuated that the two were socializing at the Motel 6 on Boulder Highway with drugs.”

Investigators never exhumed his body to prove or disprove avid drug use before his death.

A Strange Phone Call

According to Barrier’s cell phone, he spoke to someone from an unsaved phone number at 7:40 p.m. for seven minutes and forty-seven seconds on the night of his death.

Later, cross-checking a number left on a voice message in Barrier’s phone, Jerica determined this woman’s name was “Lisa.”

According to Jerica, “Lisa” left a message in his voicemail. Then, in a concerned tone, she asked, “Hey Buffalo, this is Lisa. Is everything okay?”

Jerica then called the number and asked, “Are you Lisa?”

But the person on the other side didn’t reply.

Then she asked, “Do you know Buffalo Jim?”

A woman’s voice replied, “I don’t know Buffalo Jim,” and hung up.

Jerica believes that the same woman who left the message in her father’s voicemail was the person she had just heard on the phone.

The woman in the hotel room (“Lisa”) was interviewed ten days later by police. Someone told Steve Miller that she was a dancer at Crazy Horse Too.

According to her statement, she and Buffalo Jim had known each other for years and “were playing a sexual fantasy game at the motel while Buffalo Jim was consuming lots of cocaine and acting paranoid.”

Then, “he sat on the bed, began clutching his chest, and went into like a mild seizure.”

That’s when she fled the room and later tried contacting him to see if he was okay, but of course, he never answered.

Inconsistencies Abound

According to the “key room report” at Motel 6, Buffalo Jim checked into the motel at 8:22 p.m., but his room was accessed seven minutes (8:15 p.m.) beforehand with a “guest” room key.

Was there someone waiting for him in the room?

“Another huge inconsistency in the case is that there are two phones listed in the police report [of things found in the room], but they were not my father’s phone,” says Jennifer.

“My father’s phone was not listed in the police report.

“There’s a phone that’s shown, a silver one listed on the report, but we never received it. Nor do we know of our dad having this phone. So, whose phone was it? And why was it in the room?”

No motel employees verbally expressed anything being amiss with Buffalo Jim when he arrived. Only he went into the lobby to check in; the other person he brought stayed outside, where you could barely distinguish a silhouette in the lobby security footage.

Las Vegas Review-Journal indicated, “Early on, Las Vegas police Capt. Randy Montandon acknowledged the family wanted answers to its questions but said there was just no evidence of foul play.

“Montandon said Jim Barrier made numerous reports to police ‘outlining all kinds of situations,’ but no death threats had been recently reported.

“Although his daughters at the time said they believed someone else checked into the room and placed Barrier’s body on the bed, Montandon said it wasn’t.

“‘Jim Barrier personally checked into the room and conversed with the motel clerk,’ Montandon said. ‘I personally watched video of him doing that. He was not under duress. He was not accompanied, and he appeared to be in good spirits,’ Montandon said.”

Something else that was odd was how Buffalo Jim’s stunning white Rolls-Royce was not in the Motel 6 parking lot when police arrived at the scene. His daughters were given the keys to their father’s car, but it was nowhere to be found on the motel property.

When police later released the room to Motel 6 management, somehow, the car had returned and was in the parking lot by 5:30 p.m.

Once metro police searched the car, they found no suspicious evidence.

“No prints, hairs, nothing,” lamented attorney Gus Flangas. “It’s just bizarre. I think there should’ve been a deeper and harder look at this.”

“I don’t know if Buffalo Jim ingested that cocaine willingly or not, but I am left with more questions than answers,” said retired FBI agent Robert Clymer.

Buffalo Jim’s daughters still believe it was a homicide and a set-up, but the authorities decided not to investigate further.

Over the years, one of Buffalo Jim’s daughters, Jennifer, has been vocal about not being satisfied with the coroner’s explanation and plans a book release on his father in 2023.

She also asserts that “Lisa” repeatedly changed her story throughout the interview and that a lie detector could’ve helped the case.

However,  Capt. Randy Montandon affirms that there was no evidence of foul play.

Las Vegas Review-Jounral reported, “On the morning of Monday, April 7, Officer Marty Wright said Metro police found no evidence of foul play regarding the deceased body of James Barrier, discovered the day before, and so homicide detectives were not called to the scene.

“Rather, the officers who responded to room 105 at Motel 6 on South Boulder Highway summoned a coroner’s investigator. Wright says she found nothing suspicious, either.

“Law enforcement officers have never indicated that Rizzolo had anything to do with Barrier’s death. In fact, officers who responded to the Motel 6 room where Barrier’s body was discovered never considered the area a crime scene.

“Conspiracy theories surrounding Buffalo Jim’s death were disputed in an autopsy report that indicated his heart failed while he was using cocaine. Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said Buffalo Jim suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscles become inflamed.”

Suspicions still abound, and the recent Netflix documentary on “Buffalo Jim” has kept the story in the news.

The Fate of the Crazy Horse Too

Steve Miller would later write, “On September 6th, 2006, the Las Vegas City Council unanimously voted to revoke Rizzolo’s liquor license permanently and fine him $2.2 million, which could not have happened with Mayor Oscar Goodman presiding over the hearing.

“On July 10, I filed an Ethics Complaint against Goodman to make sure he didn’t, pointing out his severe conflicts of interest regarding Rizzolo.

“Because Goodman was forced to abstain, the playing field was leveled, allowing Mayor Pro- Tem Gary Reese to preside over the meeting and shut down the Crazy Horse.

“It reopened but was shut down again within a year.”

After years of abandonment, the Crazy Horse Too building had come under disrepair and was condemned in August 2015.

In a survey taken in 2007, Buffalo Jim was asked about his most significant professional accomplishment. His answer: “Being able to stay in business while being attacked by the mafia for 25 years.”

Quite A Sendoff for Buffalo Jim Barrier

The Las Vegas Weekly covered Buffalo Jim’s colorful service.

“Before he was to be buried, the great multitudes filed into the Palms Mortuary in the old part of Las Vegas to see Buffalo Jim Barrier one final time.

“They arrived in endless droves: midgets, wrestlers, Hells Angels, Native American Indians of unadulterated descent, lawyers, journalists, world-renowned neurosurgeons—the lame and the homeless—politicians, bankers, television executives, men who had more money than God, boxers, leviathans, Elvis impersonators, those like Buffalo who fixed cars and who arrived with fresh grease smeared across their jumpsuits, sinners, celebrities, folks as old as Vegas itself and young babes just born into the city this Spring.

“‘My dad would do anything for his people,’ Elise Barrier would say while eulogizing her father. And then, waving her hand across the sea of mourners: ‘You all were his people.’

“Behold, more and more came, from far and wide, to the point that Pastor Marvin Gant would stutter in holy astonishment that in his 32 years of conducting funeral services, he had never seen such a sight.

“The multitudes converged into the nave of the chapel, and with a silence bred between reverence and incredulousness, they marched down to see Buffalo in his giant coffin, large enough to fit a dozen men of normal size and suitable for a Pharaoh’s riches.

“They marched down on this Saturday as if to follow Buffalo even unto death, or just to see with their own eyes what they could not believe was true: That he had in reality died.”

Yes, even in death, “Buffalo Jim” Barrier was larger than life.

If you have any information about the mysterious death of “Buffalo Jim” Barrier, go to Unsolved.com.

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https://www.thelogbook.com/popcultureretrorama/author/javierojst/

Javier Ojst is an old-school wrestling enthusiast currently residing in El Salvador. He's been a frequent guest on several podcasts and has a few bylines on TheLogBook.com, where he shares stories of pop culture and retro-related awesomeness. He has also been published on Slam Wrestling and in G-FAN Magazine. He can be contacted by e-mail at jojst1@gmail.com.