Wayne Padgett was a colorful, charming, and generous man. He was also one of Oklahoma’s most elusive bootleggers and career criminals. From the 1960s into the 1980s, he operated out of Tulsa as a high-ranking member of the outfit known as the Dixie Mafia. In Oklahoma Tough, poet Ron Padgett tells the inside story of his notorious father and of how he earned his reputation as a Robin Hood “King of the Bootleggers.”
Oklahoma Tough is also a history of the distinctive mid-twentieth-century Oklahoma milieu that made Wayne Padgett’s life story possible. Ron Padgett brings this vanished world to life with candid and sometimes comic descriptions of criminal life. Particularly insightful and entertaining are interviews in which former bootleggers, family members, friends, and enemies speak openly about their lives.