Niu Fu served under Dong Zhuo, who was also his father-in-law. When Dong Zhuo burned Luoyang to the ground and retreated to Chang'an, Niu Fu was sent to defend Anyi. After Dong Zhuo was killed by Lü Bu, the latter sent Li Su to eliminate Niu Fu. The target repelled Li Su's army, leading to Li Su's execution. Lü Bu himself went on to overwhelm Niu Fu's force. In Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, his army soon panicked and he took the plan of his most trusted man, Huchi'er, to steal away with the army funds in the chaos. He was soon killed by his partner in crime, who took the money for himself.