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The Ruffians, also known as Sharkey's Men and the Chief's Men, were a group of Men from near Isengard.


The Ruffians followed Sharkey to the Shire in T.A. 3018.[1] They were his main operatives, commanding the hobbits around, collecting the crop and surpressing any dissent. Many were killed in the Battle of Bywater; some were captured, and some fled. Those who died were buried in the Battle Pit.[2]


A ruffian refers to a scoundrel, rascal, or unprincipled, deceitful, brutal and unreliable person.[3]

Portrayal in adaptations

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

John Bott plays a ruffian.

2003: Pán prsteňov (2001-2003 Slovak radio series):

The voices of two ruffians are provided by Martin Vitek and Ivan Laca.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Ruffians in league with Sharkey can be found in regions throughout central Eriador, including Bree-land and the Shire. They are classified as "Brigands", a common type of enemy found across Middle-earth.