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Tom Buchanan

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Tom Buchanan

S8 Tom Buchanan

S3 Tom Buchanan

Contestant Profile
Birth Date October 30, 1955 (1955-10-30) (age 58)
Hometown Rich Valley, Virginia
Occupation Goat Farmer


Tribe(s) ██ Boran
██ Moto Maji
Placement 4/16
Alliance(s) Boran Alliance
Challenge(s) Won 6
Vote(s) Against 9
Day(s) Lasted 37


Tribe(s) ██ Chapera
Mogo Mogo
██ Chaboga Mogo
Placement 5/18
Alliance(s) Chapera Alliance
Challenge(s) Won 12
Vote(s) Against 4
Day(s) Lasted 36

Tom Buchanan (more commonly referred to as Big Tom) is a contestant from Survivor: Africa and Survivor: All-Stars.

A gentle giant, Big Tom was well liked and respected by his fellow tribemates. Garnering enough support to help him get deep into the game, unfortunately, both times he played resulted in him ultimately being blindsided.



Born and raised in Rich Valley, Virginia, Tom Buchanan currently works as a self-employed goat and cattle farmer on the ranch that has been in his family for three generations.
Buchanan attended Rich Valley High School, where he played football, basketball and baseball. He also served as student body president. He then attended East Tennessee State University as a football walk-on and later earned a full football scholarship, serving as team captain his senior year. After college, he returned home to work on the family farm. Known to his friends as "Big Tom," his hobbies include softball, fishing, bird hunting and riding his motorcycle. He is a member of the Virginia Cattleman's Association, Rich Valley Farmer's Club and Rich Valley Presbyterian Church.
Tom Buchanan has been married to Sandy Buchanan. They have one son, Bucky Bo, who is currently attending Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Tom's birth date is October 30.


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Survivor: AfricaEdit

"Big Tom" was well-liked by his Boran tribe for his comical father-like personality and distinct (albeit unintelligible) accent. Despite this, he immediately revealed his bad side after losing the first Immunity Challenge. This was when Clarence Black made a mistake in judgment to eat a whole can of beans (together with Diane Ogden) without the tribe's consensus. Fuming about Clarence's mishap, he decided to vote for Clarence two times (after losing another Immunity Challenge). Nonetheless, Big Tom's comedic demeanor returned in time for the third Immunity Challenge (an SOS signal challenge), where he decided to strip down with a feather between his butt cheeks. This oddly granted them their first immunity win. Tom and the rest of Boran would also be safe for another three days after winning another Immunity Challenge in Day 12.

Things were shaken when Tom, together with Kelly Goldsmith and Lex van den Berghe, were asked to "go on a quest," which ended up transferring them to the opposing Samburu tribe, while being replaced by Teresa Cooper, Silas Gaither, and Frank Garrison, much to Tom's chagrin, who wanted to go back. Upon reaching the Samburu camp, he and Lex became disappointed of how murky their water hole was. As the former cleaners of Boran's water hole, Lex and Tom found themselves doing their old jobs. After winning the fifth Immunity Challenge, fellow ex-Boran Kelly discovered that Lindsey had past Tribal Council votes. While being targeted by remnants of the younger Samburu alliance, Tom, Lex, and Kelly turned on Lindsey, despite Brandon Quinton's valiant efforts to vote against him instead, because if there was a deadlock tie vote between the ex-Borans and the original Samburus, Lindsey's previous votes were taken into account, thus eliminating her. This was materialized, giving the original Boran tribe a 6-4 voting advantage over the Samburu tribe going into the merge.

Despite Teresa's strong strategic game play, the former Samburus still failed to come together as a unified alliance, with Boran successfully eliminated them one by one. Teresa was the last of the Samburus to be voted out, but not before turning Tom on Lex by telling Tom that Lex was persistent on keeping Brandon in the game beforehand. With only Borans left, Ethan, Lex, and Kim J. felt that Tom's goofiness was just a front to conceal his ulterior strategic motives, and was eliminated in a 3-1 vote. At the Final Tribal Council, Tom felt that Ethan's more congenial personality made him more deserving to win and voted for him.

Voting HistoryEdit

Tom's Voting History
Episode Tom's
Voted Against
1 Clarence -
2 Clarence -
3 Boran Tribe Immune
4 Boran Tribe Immune
5 Samburu Tribe Immune
6 Lindsey;
Brandon, Kim P., Lindsey;
Brandon, Kim P.
7 Clarence -
9 Kelly -
10 Brandon -
11 Frank -
12 Kim P. Individual Immunity
13 Teresa Teresa
14 Lex Ethan, Kim J., Lex
Voted Off, Day 37
Voted For
Sole Survivor

^1 In I'd Never Do It to You, the vote ended with a 3-3 tie between Tom and Lindsey, forcing a revote. Nobody changed their votes at the revote, eliminating Lindsey due to previous votes against her.

Survivor: All-StarsEdit

Statistics of Tom Buchanan
Seasons competed 2
Total number of days 73
Challenge Wins
Tribal wins 15
Individual wins 3
Total 18
Tribal Council
Total votes received 13
Exile Island
Times exiled N/A
Redemption Island
Days spent at Redemption Island N/A
Duels won N/A

In 2004, Tom returned to compete in the Survivor: All-Stars season. In this season, Tom began on the Chapera tribe. Tom joined the existing alliance of Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich. With Rob leading the alliance, Tom was able to play a quiet game and avoid making enemies. (One tribemate Tom did not get along with was Sue Hawk, and after she quit the game, Tom celebrated by dancing and singing Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead.) However, after a tribal dissolving brought Rupert Boneham and Jenna Lewis into the tribe, Rob and Amber also formed an alliance with them. After the five players had voted off all of the other competitors, Rob's worries that Tom might betray him caused him to decide to favor his alliance with Rupert and Jenna over his original alliance with Tom. Tom was voted off by the other four on the 36th day. Tom, angry over Rob's betrayal, voted for Amber at the Final Tribal Council, which she won in a 4-3 vote. However, Tom eventually forgave Rob at the reunion.

Voting HistoryEdit

Tom's Voting History
Episode Tom's
Voted Against
1 Chapera Tribe Immune
2 Chapera Tribe Immune
3 No Tribal Council
4 Rob C. -
5 Chapera Tribe Immune
6 No Tribal Council
7 Chapera Tribe Immune
8 Chapera Tribe Immune
10 Mogo Mogo Tribe Immune
11 Lex -
12 Kathy -
13 Alicia -
14 Shii Ann Individual Immunity
15 Jenna L. Amber, Jenna L.,
Rob M., Rupert
Voted Off, Day 36
Voted for
Sole Survivor


  • Tom is one of three contestants (along with Lex van den Berghe and Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien) to make the merge in Survivor: All-Stars and not improve over their previous finish.
  • Of all the contestants who have played exactly two times and haven't won on either occasion, Tom has the most days spent in the game, with 73.
  • Big Tom is the first male to win individual immunity in multiple seasons.
  • Tom is set to star with his family on the new TV show Family Beef which is set to air on the National Geographic Channel.
  • Tom was strongly considered for Survivor: Heroes vs Villains but was ultimately not chosen.
  • Tom declined the offer to appear on Survivor: Blood vs Water due to the production of Family Beef.
  • Tom was the lowest ranking contestant from Africa to return.
  • Tom was the highest ranking castaway on All-Stars to not improve on their previous finish.
    • He is also the only returnee on All-Stars that didn't improve on their previous finish to outlast a castaway that did improve from their previous finish.
  • Tom shares his birthday with Rory Freeman.


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