In 1585, outright war erupted in Jura between the McLeans and the McDonalds of Dunnyveg over disputed lands, which was followed by such savage clan warfare that one observer wrote "...these island men are...very proud, suspicious, avaricious, full of deceit and evil intention each against his neighbor...they are so cruel in taking of revenge that neither have they regard to person, age, time or cause ...so far addicted to their own tyrannical opinions that, in all aspects, they exceed in cruelty the most barbarous people that ever has been." In 1598, James McDonald of Dunnyveg, under threat of impending attack by the McLeans commanded by Lachlan McLean of Duart, lit a fiery cross on the hills of Islay which summoned the old McDonald allies to his aid. The Buies of Jura responded and boated over to Islay. One of the Buies was named Dubhsith, a diminutive man but an excellent archer. He was described as "a dwarf hatched by the Devil in Lagg in Jura." Dubhsith apparently had second thoughts about his true allegience and offered his services to Lachlan McLean, but the Duart chief only laughed at Dubhsith's physical short-coming. Infuriated, Dubhsith returned to the McDonald camp. That afternoon, at Gruainart Bay on Islay, Lachlan McLean led his army toward the McDonald position, Lachlan himself was at the front of his troops and loudly hurled personal insults at James McDonald. The revengeful Dubhsith took deadly aim with his bow. The arrow struck Lachlan McLean's heart through a small opening in his armor and his lifeless body fell to the ground. Confusion swept theMcLean's ranks and the McDonalds, aided by the Buies, attacked the enemy with their bagpipes screaming the war song "Spaidsearachd Mhic Dhomhnuill". The demoralized McLeans were annihilated.
During this time, a legend developed about the Buies of Jura. There lived in a cave on one of the Paps a forester of the McDonalds named Ian Buidhe na Faidh or "John Buie of the Deer". John protected a McPhee (McDuffie) child who lived with him in the cave. Also, at the nearby settlement of Largiebreac lived the Witch of Jura called Callleach a' Bheinn Mhair. The Cailleach stole the McPhee youth from the cave. When McPhee attempted to escape the witch threw a ball of magic thread at him. The twine ensnared the boy and drew him back into the witch's lair. Finally, McPhee concealed a hatchet and made a dash for a boat at Knockbreac, From the Pap of Beimn a' Chaolais the Cailleach hurled the ball of thread at McPhee, but he cut the twine as it wrapped around him and made good his escape to Kintyre. The loss of the boy angered the witch and in her madness she began killing the agents of McDonald of Islay as they crossed over by ferry. In desperation, someone approached a Buie of Largiebreac and promised him a nearby farm if he would kill her. The Buie's son stepped forward and presently he was locked in mortal combat with the Cailleach. With her supernatural powers, the witch brought the son to his knees and triumphantly exclaimed "Thou art in extremity, a' Mhic Mheadh Buidhe". Yet, the youth, gathering strength from his ancestors, returned "My grandmother, who is on the hither side of Alba, is here and will come to help me if I be." With these words, young Buie raised his dirk and plunged it into the Callleach's evil heart killing her instantly. The farm at Largiebreac was handed over and the Buies lived there for many generations.
At last, in 1607, the McDonalds Jurisdiction over the southern part of Jura came to an end when the Earl of Argyll was granted a charter. In the ensuing years, there were various attempts by the McDonalds to regain control, but all ended in defeat. The Earl sent Campbells to Jura as his bailies who were later granted vast acreages. The old McDonald septs were required to abandon their long-held lands to the Campbells and recognize these strangers as their landlords. These times were most unhappy for the Buies.
One group of Buies did not submit to the new order. Several families, known only as "McDonald Buies", migrated to northeastern Scotland. Their struggles were described: "Portion of the obstinate Clan of Macdonald, refusing to surrender to the agents of the Crown, removed to Forchabers in Banff, and settled on the river Spey at a place called Slach Bowie." These Buies defended their new lands in the Spey Valley successfully, even though there was a bounty for them set by the government. Their main positions were the passes of the Burn of Aldargh and the Muckle Dramlech. At an early date, a complaint was registered against John Buie and others for raiding the lands of the sheriff of Moray. Evidently, they later became allied with the Grants in the area. Numerous listings of Buies appear in county and parish records of northern Moray and Banff particularly the towns of Elgin, Dallas, Keith, and Ruthven. In one of the earliest registers, James Buie married Isobel Russell on June 28, 1667, at Alves in Moray. A lykewake was held for Alexander Buie in Elgin in 1737.
In the 17th century, the Buies lived essentially as resident prisoners in their own land. They had no rights since the Campbell lords dictated everything. One promising developement was the re-establishment of religion on the island which had previously lost strength during the terrible clan wars. There was a brief Franciscan effort from Ireland, but by 1640 the Catholic influence had vanished. Essentially, thereafter, Jura was solidly Presbyterian. From 1632 to 1641, John Darroch, Glasgow-educated but apparently a native, was minister on Jura. In 1653, it was written "some people...hath been married and received baptism." The church was located at Kilearnadil. Also, the ministers made efforts to conduct schools for the Jura children. Despite such noble advances, the McLeans of North Jura and the Campbells raided each others territories. In 1620, the McLeans reportedly used mad dogs to demolish the Campbell's cattle. No doubt the Buies, tired of destructive clan feuds, remained neutral during these altercations.
One of the best first-hand accounts of Jura and its people was recorded by Martin Martin in 1695: "...The isle is mountainous along the middle, where there are four hills of a considerable height...The paps of Jura. They are very conspic-uous from all quarters of sea and land in those parts. The mold is brown and greyish on the coast and black in the hills which are covered with heath and some grass that proves good pasturage for their cattle, which are horses, cows, sheep, and goats. There's a variety of land and water-fowl here. The hills ordinarily have about three hundred deer grazing on them. This isle is perhaps the wholesomest plot of ground either in the isles or the continent of Scotland, as appears by the long life of the natives. There is no epidemical disease that prevails here...none of, them are at any time observed to become mad...there was not one woman died of child-bearing there these 34 years past. The inhabitants for their diet make use of beef and mutton in the winter and spring as also of fish, butter, cheese, and milk. Salmons here are in goodness and taste far above those of any other river whatever. There is a church here called Killearn. The inhabitants are all Protestants and observe the festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Michaelmas. The natives are very well proportioned, being generally dark of complexion, and free from bodily imperfections. They speak the Irish language and wear the plaid, bonnet, etc. as other islanders."
Several Jura Buies relocated in neighboring islands especially Islay and Colonsay. Most of the Islay families resided on the northern shoreline along the sound in the Bowmore Parish. Mary Mac'Ilbowie was a tenant in Machrie on the western coast in 1733. Several Buies are listed in the parish records of Kilchoman. The earliest Scottish census in 1841 enumerated Buie families in both Bowmore and Kilchoman.