Bonnie and Clyde

John Florens | Sep 10, 2022

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Bonnie and Clyde, born Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, were a pair of U.S. criminals active in the south-central United States during the early 1930s who, along with the other members of the Barrow Gang, committed several robberies and murders. Considered "public enemies" during those years, they are now famous for being dangerous bank robbers, although they actually preferred to target small stores and gas pumps. The two were killed by police in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Their story was told by director Arthur Penn in the 1967 film Gangster Story and by numerous books and a variety of musical pieces.

As early as the 1930s, the newspapers' portrayal of the two, particularly of Bonnie, differed from reality. Certainly, during the period when the two were partners, Bonnie took part in a hundred criminal acts, yet she was not as the magazines and newspapers of the time portrayed her, that is, a cigar-smoking killer with a machine gun always in her hand, so much so that one of their gang members, W. D. Jones, later testified that he had never seen Bonnie shoot a police officer. The cigar myth grew out of a photograph of Bonnie in a playful attitude found in an abandoned hideout, later released to newspapers and published nationally; in fact, biographers report that Bonnie smoked cigarettes, not cigars.

Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (Rowena, Oct. 1, 1910 - Bienville Parish, May 23, 1934) was the second of three children, whose father, Charles Robert, died when she was four years old. Following her husband's death, her mother, Emma Krause, returned to live with her children in a suburb west of Dallas, where she worked as a seamstress. At fifteen she met Roy Thornton; the two dropped out of school and married on September 25, 1926, when Bonnie was not even sixteen. Their marriage was marked by Roy's frequent absences from home and trouble with the law and did not last long. From January 1929 onward, the two did not see each other again; however, they never divorced; in fact, on the day of his death, Bonnie was still wearing her wedding ring.

After the "end" of the marriage, Bonnie lived with her mother and worked as a seamstress. One of her regular customers was Ted Hinton, who was working at the post office at the time, and who in 1932 began working for the Dallas Sheriff's Department and two years later took part in the ambush that led to the very death of Bonnie and Clyde. In her diary, Bonnie noted in early 1929, before she met Clyde, that she felt lonely and impatient in her life in Dallas.

Clyde Barrow

Clyde Chestnut Barrow - Bienville Parish, May 23, 1934) was the fifth of eight children of a farming couple, Henry Basil Barrow and Cumie Talitha Walker. The family migrated to Dallas in the early 1920s as part of a wave of resettlement from farms to the city's industrial area, where they continued to live in extreme poverty.

Clyde's first arrest occurred in late 1926, after he fled from police who were questioning him about a rented car he had failed to return. His second arrest, with his brother Buck, was for stealing turkeys. Although he was working honestly between 1927 and 1929, he robbed stores and stole cars during that period. After several arrests in 1928 and 1929, he was sent in April 1930 to the Eastham Unit prison and work camp. While incarcerated, Clyde broke with a lead pipe the skull of a man who had repeatedly sexually assaulted him. This was Clyde's first murder, however, for which another inmate, already sentenced to life in prison, took the blame. Clyde persuaded an inmate to cut off two toes on one of his feet with a hatchet so he could avoid hard labor in the fields; he limped for the rest of his life. Without knowing it, just six days later, Clyde's mother managed to get him released.

Shortly after meeting Bonnie, in January 1930, Clyde was arrested again and sent again to the Eastham Unit from which he escaped using a weapon that Bonnie herself procured for him. Released from prison for the umpteenth time on February 2, 1932, Clyde left prison now a hardened criminal. His sister Marie would later say that something must have happened in prison because when he got out, Clyde was no longer the person she knew; a change also confirmed by fellow inmate Ralph Fults.

In his post-release criminal career, Clyde chose simple targets, such as small stores and gas stations, far outnumbering the dozen or so bank robberies attributed to him and the Barrow Gang. According to author John Neal Phillips, Clyde's life purpose was not fame or money but revenge against the Texas prison system for the abuse he suffered while incarcerated.

The first meeting

Several accounts describe the first meeting between Bonnie and Clyde, however, the most credible one states that they met on January 26, 1930, at the home of a mutual friend, Clarence Clay, in west Dallas. Bonnie was out of work and was staying at Clarence's while the latter was recovering from a broken arm, and it was at that time that Clyde came by to see Clarence. When they met, they were immediately fascinated by each other; many historians believe that they came together because they fell in love with each other; thus they carried out their crimes, until the violent death they themselves saw at one point as inevitable.


After Clyde's release from prison in 1932, he and Ralph Fults, assembled a small group of outlaws, whose members, in rotation, would help them with the robberies. The two then began a series of small heists, mainly stores and gas stations; their goal was to put together enough money and firearms to carry out a raid and free the Eastham convicts. On April 19, 1932, Bonnie and Fults were arrested in a failed robbery of a hardware store in Kaufman. Bonnie was released after a few months when the grand jury decided not to indict her, while Fults was tried and imprisoned, never rejoining the gang.

On April 30, Clyde led a robbery in Hillsboro, during which the store owner, J. N. Bucher, was shot dead. When police showed the victim's wife identification photos, she recognized Clyde as one of the criminals, even though he had actually remained outside the store in his car. This was the first murder charge against Clyde.

While in jail, where she would remain until June 17, Bonnie wrote poetry to pass the time. When the Kaufman County grand jury decided not to indict her, she was released and after a few weeks was back together with Clyde. On Aug. 5, while Bonnie was visiting her mother, Clyde, Raymond Hamilton and Ross Dyer went to have a good time, drinking, at a popular party in Stringtown; when Sheriff C. G. Maxwell and his deputy, Eugene C. Moore, approached them in a parking lot, Clyde and Hamilton opened fire, killing Moore and seriously wounding the sheriff. This was the first of nine murders of lawmen at the hands of the gang. On Oct. 11, 1932, they allegedly killed Howard Hall, a store owner, during a robbery in Sherman, although historians since 1997 consider it unlikely that Barrow Gang members were the culprits.

W. D. Jones had been a family friend of the Barrows since childhood. Just 16 years old on Christmas Eve 1932, he convinced Clyde to let him go out with them that night. The following day, Jones underwent an initiation at Temple: he and Clyde killed Doyle Johnson, a young family man, to steal his car. Less than two weeks later, on January 6, 1933, in Tarrant County, Clyde killed Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis when he, Bonnie, and Jones walked into a trap the police had set for another criminal. The total number of murders committed by the gang since April 1932 had risen to five.

First half of 1933

On March 22, 1933, Clyde's brother Buck Barrow was granted amnesty and released from prison. A few days later, he moved with his wife Blanche to Bonnie and Clyde's temporary hideout they shared with Jones in Joplin, Missouri, and according to Blanche's version, she and Buck were only there to convince Clyde to turn himself in to law enforcement.

The subsequent confrontation between Bonnie and Clyde and the law occurred more because of mutual suspicion than clear identification. One evening, the group got drunk and caused several disturbances in the neighborhood; Blanche later recalled that the men came and went at all hours and that Clyde had discharged a BAR automatic weapon in the apartment after cleaning it. No neighbors complained directly to them, but someone reported the problem to the police. Five officers showed up on April 13 at the apartment and immediately a shootout began. Although taken by surprise, the group showed coolness; Clyde, Buck and Jones killed Detective McGinnis and Officer Harryman. In the escape that followed, Bonnie covered the group with the BAR, whose bullets hit a tree trunk whose splinters wounded the face of Sergeant G. B. Kahler, and then got into a car with the others and fled. The officers reported that they fired only fourteen times; one of the shots hit Jones in the hip, another hit Clyde but was deflected by a coat button, and yet another grazed Buck.

The group managed to escape from Joplin but left behind many of their possessions, including Buck and Blanche's marriage certificate, Buck's diary, several weapons, a poem by Bonnie, and a camera with several undeveloped rolls of film, whose photos later helped make Bonnie and Clyde famous. For the next three months, the group traveled through Texas and headed north to Minnesota. In May, they unsuccessfully attempted a bank robbery in Lucerne, Indiana, and later succeeded at a bank in Okabena. Previously, they had kidnapped Dillard Darby and Sophia Stone, in Ruston, Louisiana, while stealing Darby's car. This was one of several kidnappings carried out by the group between 1932 and 1934 against lawmen. The hostages were usually released far from the scene of the kidnapping, sometimes even with money to return home.

Kidnappings were occasional, however. The Barrow Gang did not hesitate to shoot anyone they encountered, whether policemen or civilians. Raymond Hamilton, W. D. Jones, Buck Barrow and Henry Methvin, all members of the gang, were guilty of murder. All their coolness in committing these kinds of crimes aggravated public perception, leading to their demise.

Despite their fame, the gang was desperate and disgruntled, as described by Blanche Barrow in her testimony written while in prison in the late 1930s. With notoriety, in fact, they had to work harder to avoid detection. Restaurants and motels became less secure and they were forced to live along rivers in isolated areas. The incessant forced closeness among these five people, forced to travel in one car, caused violent quarrels that drove W. D. Jones to leave the group in late April, only to return on June 8.

On June 10, while driving with Jones and Bonnie near Wellington, Clyde missed warning signs at a bridge under construction and they all ended up with the car in a cliff. Whether it was the fuel that ignited, or whether acid from the battery poured on Bonnie the sources are not certain; however, the girl suffered third-degree burns to her right leg, so severe that the muscle shrank permanently.

Toward the end of her life, Bonnie began to walk with difficulty, so much so that she either hopped on her good leg or had to be carried by Clyde. After being helped by a local farming family and kidnapping two law enforcement officers, the three were reunited with Buck and Blanche. They then hid in Fort Smith, Arkansas, taking care of Bonnie's injuries. During that time, Buck and Jones robbed a store and killed Marshal Henry D. Humphrey, in Alma. Wanted again, they had to flee despite Bonnie's serious condition.

Second half of 1933

In July 1933, the gang arrived at the Red Crown Tavern south of Platte City, now on the edge of Kansas City. The inn owned a building across the street with two rooms connected by a garage that the gang rented in full. The tavern was popular with law enforcement officers on patrol on the Missouri Turnpike, and the gang seemed to go to great lengths to attract attention. Blanche Barrow registered three people but owner Neal Houser saw five people getting out of the car and that the driver was acting suspiciously. Blanche paid cash and did the same when he paid for dinner for five people. The money came from the three gas stations robbed that same day in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The next day, Houser noticed that his guests had covered their windows with newsprint, and Blanche again paid cash for five breakfasts. Blanche's clothes, wearing jockey pants, also attracted attention; they were not women's clothes at the time, and witnesses remembered that detail well even forty years later. At this point, Houser decided to tell Police Captain William Baxter, a regular customer at the inn, about the group.

That same day, Clyde and Jones headed into town to purchase food, bandages, and medicine to treat Bonnie's leg. The storekeeper contacted Sheriff Holt Coffey, who put the guest rooms under surveillance after being warned by Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas police to keep an eye out for any strangers asking for those medicines. The sheriff then contacted Captain Baxter, who in turn called for reinforcements from Kansas City and who even brought an armored car. At 11:00 p.m., Sheriff Coffey led a group of armed officers with Thompson submachine guns toward the guest rooms of the inn. In the ensuing firefight, the Thompsons proved ineffective against the BAR that Clyde had stolen on July 7 from the National Guard armory in Enid. The Barrows, firing, paved the way for their escape; one of their bullets short-circuited the horn of the armored car-an ordinary car reinforced with metal panels-which began to sound. The policemen understood this as a cease-fire signal and stopped firing and pursuing the group, which then managed to escape in a car. Despite the successful escape, Buck Barrow had been hit by a bullet to the head that caused a gruesome hole in his forehead; Blanche, on the other hand, had been nearly blinded by shards of glass that ended up in both eyes.

Five days later, on July 24, the group camped at Dexfield Park, an abandoned amusement park near Dexter. Although Buck was semi-conscious at times, and even talking and eating, his severe injury and blood loss were so severe that Clyde and Jones dug a grave for their comrade. When local residents noticed the bloody bandages, they reported it to the police, who identified that group of people as the Barrow Gang. A few officers and about a hundred bystanders surrounded the group and yet another gun battle began. Clyde, Bonnie and Jones managed to escape on foot, Buck was shot in the back and was captured along with his wife. The man died five days later in the hospital in Perry from a head wound and the onset of pneumonia after an operation.

Over the next six weeks, the three fugitives headed west, away from their usual area of operation, toward Colorado, northern Minnesota and southeastern Mississippi, keeping a low profile and carrying out only small subsistence robberies. They reinvigorated their arsenal when Clyde and Jones robbed an armory in Plattville on August 20, taking away three BARs, several pistols and ammunition. In early September, they took a huge risk by returning to Dallas to see their respective families after four months. Jones continued instead to Houston where his mother had gone to live. Jones has not seen Bonnie and Clyde since; he was arrested on November 16 and taken to Dallas. Meanwhile, Clyde committed petty robberies while Bonnie was cared for by their families. On Nov. 22, 1933, Bonnie and Clyde narrowly escaped arrest while attempting to meet with their respective families near Sowers. Sheriff Smoot Schimd and his deputies, Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton, were in fact waiting near the meeting place. As they approached, Clyde discovered them and so instead of stopping near his family's car, he drove on; at which point the sheriff and his men came out into the open and opened fire with machine guns and a BAR. A bullet from the latter went through the car hitting both Bonnie and Clyde in the legs before they managed to escape.

On Nov. 28, a Dallas grand jury deliberated for an arrest warrant to be issued for Bonnie and Clyde for the January 1933 murder of Tarrant County sheriff's deputy Malcolm Davis; it was Bonnie's first murder warrant.

1934 and the reaction of the authorities

On January 16, 1934, Clyde planned to break out Raymond Hamilton, Henry Methvin and several other Eastham Unit internees. The successful escape was bad publicity for Texas; historian Phillips felt that in doing so, Clyde achieved the purpose of his existence, which was to take revenge on the Texas Department of Corrections (today's Department of Justice). During the escape, fugitive Joe Palmer shot Agent Major Joe Crowson. The attack drew the attention not only of all Texas law enforcement but also of the government, and both significantly increased the effort to capture Bonnie and Clyde. The Texas Department of Corrections contacted former Texas Ranger Captain Frank Hamer and convinced him to hunt down what remained of the Barrow Gang. Although retired, Hamer still had a Ranger's license that had not yet expired. Hamer accepted the assignment and officially became a highway patrol officer assigned to the prison system as a special investigator, with the specific task of stopping Bonnie, Clyde and their gang. Beginning on February 10, 1934, Hamer steadily became Bonnie and Clyde's shadow, along with three of his brothers, all Rangers.

On April 1, 1934, Easter Sunday, Clyde and Henry Methvin killed two young officers on patrol, H. D. Murphy and Edward Bryant Wheeler, near Grapevine (now Southlake), Texas. A witness claimed that it was Bonnie and Clyde who fired the fatal shots, and this fact had wide resonance before being disavowed. Methvin later admitted that he shot the first officer after thinking Clyde wanted them dead; Clyde then shot the other policeman. It is thought that Bonnie was asleep in the back seat when Methvin began shooting and therefore would have taken no part in the events.

In the spring of 1934, the Grapevine murders were recounted in exaggerated detail, influencing public perception; all Dallas newspapers carried the story of the witness, a farmer, who claimed to have seen Bonnie laughing about how Officer Murphy's head "had bounced like a rubber ball" on the ground when he shot him. The articles also reported that police had found a piece of cigar "with small teeth marks," probably Bonnie's. The farmer's story was soon discredited, however, the massive negative publicity, particularly against Bonnie, increased public will for the Barrow Gang to be finally broken up. Highway Police Chief L. G. Phares immediately offered a $1,000 reward for Bonnie and Clyde's bodies. Texas Governor Miriam Ferguson added another five hundred dollars each.

Public hostility grew in the days that followed when Clyde and Methvin killed 60-year-old policeman William Campbell near Commerce. They then kidnapped Commerce police chief Percy Boyd, taking him with them all the way to Kansas, where they freed him by giving him a clean T-shirt and a few dollars and with a request for Bonnie to tell the world that she did not smoke cigars. Boyd identified Bonnie and Clyde but while he was a prisoner he could not identify who the other man with them, Methvin, was. Historian Knight wrote, "for the first time Bonnie was seen as a murderer who actually pulled the trigger-exactly like Clyde. Any hope of mercy had just been lost."


Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed during which they were killed on Wednesday, May 23, 1934, on a country road in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. The couple was traveling in an automobile along the road when they were shot dead by a posse comitatus of four Texas police officers, Frank Hamer, B. M. Gault, Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton, and two from Louisiana, Henderson Jordan and Prentiss Morel Oakley. The group was led by Hamer, who had been following the gang since February 1934, and had studied the gang's movements, discovering that they moved in circles along the border of five Midwestern states, taking advantage of jurisdiction laws that prevented agents from following criminals into other states. In this, Clyde was well versed, but Hamer had been able to track their movements and predict where they would be; in fact, the gang's itinerary involved visiting families in turn; at this time it was the turn of Methvin, whose family lived in Louisiana itself.

On May 21, 1934, the four Texas agents were in Shreveport, where they discovered that Bonnie and Clyde were going to Bienville Parish that same evening. Clyde had determined that Methvin's parents' house was to be the meeting place in case the group split up, which had happened in Shreveport itself. The four Texans, along with the two Louisiana agents, set up an ambush along Louisiana State Highway 154, south of Gibsland. Hinton recounted that the group was in position by 9 p.m. on the 21st and that they waited at the location throughout May 22. Other witnesses claimed, however, that the agents positioned themselves on the evening of the 22nd.

At approximately 09:15 a.m. on May 23, the officers were about to give up and leave when they heard Clyde's Ford Model B approaching at high speed. The official report states that Clyde stopped to talk to Methvin's father, who had been placed in the middle of the road with his truck to distract the criminals and get them to stop. Once the car was close enough, the officers opened fire, killing the two by firing a total of 130 bullets. Oakley probably fired a shot before the order was given. Clyde died instantly hit by the first shot, which centered him in the head; Hinton later claimed that he heard Bonnie scream when he realized his partner had been hit, just before the other officers also opened fire. The weapons were completely emptied into the vehicle to such an extent that any of the many wounds sustained by both Bonnie and Clyde would have been fatal.

Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn stated:

Some researchers believe that Bonnie and Clyde were each shot more than fifty times; others calculated about twenty-five wounds per corpse, or about fifty in all. Officially, Bienville Parish Coroner Dr. J. L. Wade listed seventeen entry wounds on Clyde's body and twenty-six on Bonnie's, including several blows to the head for both and one that broke Clyde's spine. Because of all these wounds, the funeral home had difficulty preparing the bodies for the obsequies.

Police officers inspected the vehicle and discovered an arsenal of stolen weapons, including automatic rifles, shotguns, an assortment of handguns and several hundred rounds of ammunition, along with several fake driver's licenses from a variety of states. Word about the ambush quickly spread when Hamer, Oakley and Hinton telephoned their bosses to announce that the wanted men were dead. A crowd soon gathered at the ambush site; Gault and Alcorn, who had remained to guard the bodies, lost control of the situation. A woman cut off bloody wisps of Bonnie and a piece of her dress, which she later resold as souvenirs. Hinton returned to the scene to find a man intent on cutting off Clyde's index finger, being shaken by what he saw. The coroner recounted what he saw once he arrived at the scene stating:

The coroner asked Hamer for help in controlling that "circus atmosphere," and they were able to get people away from the vehicle.

The Ford, with the bodies still inside, was towed to the morgue in Arcadia, Louisiana, and the corpses placed in the cold room of a grocery store-it was common for the morgue to be a cold room in a grocery store at the time-in the back of which a preliminary embalming was carried out. In a matter of hours, Arcadia went from having two thousand inhabitants to housing twelve thousand people, with onlookers arriving by train, carriages, gigs, and even airplanes. Prices of primary goods rose rapidly and some even became impossible to find.

Clyde's body was identified by his grief-stricken father Henry. To identify both bodies, they came from Ruston, Louisiana, H. D. Darby and Sophia Stone; the two had in fact been kidnapped by the Barrow Gang in Ruston on April 27, 1933, and released near Waldo, Arkansas. Bonnie had laughed at Darby when he had told her that he was a mortician by profession and then remarked that perhaps, someday, he would work on her body. Darby then worked with Arcadia Funeral Home, working on Bonnie and Clyde.

The funeral and burial

Bonnie and Clyde wished to be buried side by side, however, her family would not allow it. Mrs. Parker wanted to ensure the last wishes her daughter had left her, which was to be buried at home, however, the crowds surrounding the Parkers' home made this impossible. More than 20,000 people attended Bonnie Parker's funeral, and her own family had difficulty reaching the burial site, in the McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home, in Dallas. Bonnie's brother Hubert Parker accompanied his sister's body from Arcadia to Dallas in an ambulance. The funeral was held on Saturday, May 26, 1934, at 2 p.m. The son of the reverend who held the funeral, Dr. Allen Campbell, later recalled that flowers came from everywhere, including had cards written by criminals "Pretty Boy" Floyd and John Dillinger. The largest floral tribute was sent by a group of Dallas journalists, as Bonnie and Clyde's sudden death caused local newspapers to sell five hundred thousand copies. After being buried at Fishtrap Cemetery, Bonnie was moved in 1945 to the new Crown Hill Cemetery, also in Dallas.

Clyde's family relied on the Sparkman-Holtz-Brand funeral home in downtown Dallas. Hundreds of people also gathered outside the Barrow home, hoping to see the body. Clyde's funeral was private and held at sunset on Friday, May 25, in the funeral home's chapel. Clyde was buried in Western Heights Cemetery in Dallas, next to his brother Buck. The two brothers shared the same granite slab inscribed with their names and four words previously chosen by Clyde himself, "Gone but not forgotten."

The bullet-torn Ford and the shirt Clyde was wearing are in the window of a casino in Primm, Nevada. The life insurance policies of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were paid in full by the insurance company American National of Galveston. From that time, the payment policy was changed to exclude cases of death due to any criminal act committed by the insured.

The death of Bonnie and Clyde marked the end of the "public enemy" era of the 1930s. In the summer of 1934, new national laws made bank robbery and kidnapping "federal crimes"; in addition, increasing coordination between local FBI jurisdictions and new radios in police vehicles made it much more difficult for bandits to thrive. Two months after Bonnie and Clyde's death, John Dillinger was also killed, in Chicago. Another three months and Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd was killed by the FBI in Ohio and, the following month, Lester "Baby Face Nelson" Gillis was killed in Illinois.

Before the smoke from the gunfire had even cleared, the ambushers began searching Clyde's car. Hamer made a sizable arsenal of stolen guns and ammunition his own under the terms of the agreement with the Texas Department of Corrections. In July, Clyde's mother wrote to Hamer asking him to return the weapons to his family, since her son had never been convicted by any court of murder or theft of weapons or other property. There is no record of any response.

Alcorn kept Clyde's saxophone but a short time later, feeling guilty, returned it to his family. Other personal items were taken away, such as some of Bonnie's clothes, but when the family asked for them back they did not get them back and were later sold as souvenirs. According to Clyde's family, Sheriff Jordan kept a suitcase full of money with which he allegedly bought a piece of land and a barn at an auction in Arcadia. Jordan himself attempted to keep Clyde's car, but the vehicle's owner was able to repossess it after legal wrangling and a court order in August 1934.

The six men in the ambush each received one-sixth of the bounty. Dallas Sheriff Schmid had promised Ted Hinton that it would amount to about twenty-six thousand dollars, however, most between state, county, and other organizations that had promised rewards went back on their word and, in the end, each officer received only two hundred dollars and twenty-three cents.

In February 1935, Dallas and federal authorities conducted an extensive trial after which twenty, including family members and friends of Bonnie and Clyde, were arrested and jailed for aiding and abetting. The two mothers served thirty days in jail; the others served a minimum of one hour to a maximum of two years in prison.

Blanche Barrow's injuries left her permanently blind in her left eye. After the 1933 Dexfield Park shooting, she was taken into custody on charges of "assault with intent to kill." She was thus sentenced to ten years in prison but was released in 1939 for good behavior. She then returned to Dallas, leaving behind her life of crime and caring for her invalid father. In 1940 she married Eddie Frasure, worked for a cab company and in a store, ending her parole the following year. She lived peacefully with her husband until his death in 1969. Warren Beatty tried to buy the rights from her to use her name in the 1967 film Gangster Story, and although she agreed to the original script, she had objections to the interpretation that was given to her character by Estelle Parsons. Blanche died of cancer in 1988.

The two criminals freed in the raid on Eastham, Raymond Hamilton and Joe Palmer, were both recaptured and sentenced to death for murder, a sentence carried out in the electric chair in Huntsville, Texas, on May 10, 1935. Clyde's trusted friend W. D. Jones, after separating from the group, reached Houston where he got a job, but was soon discovered and captured. He was taken back to Dallas where he "confessed" to being taken prisoner by Bonnie and Clyde. Some of the allegations he revealed about the gang's sex life led to a variety of stories about Clyde's sexual ambiguity. However, Jones was convicted of Doyle Johnson's murder and served a light sentence of fifteen years. He struggled for years with substance abuse problems, gave an interview about the events to Playboy magazine around the time of the release of the Warren Beatty film

Help given to Texas authorities did not help Henry Methvin in Oklahoma, where he was convicted of the murder of Officer Campbell in Commerce. He obtained parole in 1942 and was killed in a train accident in 1948. He was said to have been behind the wheel drunk, but rumors say his truck was driven onto the tracks by some who sought revenge for his betrayal. His father, Ivy, was run over and killed in 1946, and there were such rumors again.

Bonnie's husband, Roy Thornton, was sentenced to five years for theft in March 1933; he was killed by a guard in 1937 during an escape attempt from Eastham Prison.

In the years following the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde, Prentiss Oakley, the man who shot first, had problems with his actions. Indeed, he often admitted to his friends that he had opened fire prematurely and was the only one of the officers who took part in the ambush to express public repentance. He succeeded Henderson Jordan as sheriff of Bienville Parish in 1940.

Frank Hamer returned to being a security consultant for oil companies; however, according to Guinn, "his reputation somewhat suffered after Gibsland" as many felt that he did not want to give Bonnie and Clyde a chance to surrender. He returned to the headlines again in 1948, when both he and Governor Coke Stevenson unsuccessfully challenged Lyndon Johnson in the Senate election. Hamer died in 1955 after several years of health problems. His ambush partner, Bob Alcorn, died on May 23, 1964, exactly thirty years after Bonnie and Clyde.

After the ambush, several issues opened up based on the different accounts: Hamer and Gault were both former Texas Rangers working for the Texas Department of Corrections, Hinton and Alcorn were employees of the Dallas Sheriff's Office, and Jordan and Oakley were the sheriff and deputy sheriff of Bienville Parish. The three couples were distrustful of each other and the men disliked each other. In fact, they told different versions of the facts and sequence of events. Historian Guinn puts it in these terms:

Because their testimonies are so different, and because all of them are long deceased, the exact details of the ambush are unknown and no longer traceable. Questions that remain concern the warning, if any, given to the fugitives before the shooting, Bonnie's classification as a "wanted man to be shot on sight," and Hinton's charges in the 1970s.

The question of "Alt"

Sheriff Schmid previously warned Clyde Barrow in the ambush in Sowers, Texas, in November 1933. When he intimated the "halt," the shooting began from the outlaws' car, which executed a U-turn and fled. When the two Louisiana officers posed the question of whether the "halt" should be intimated, the four Texans "vetoed the idea," that Clyde always opened his escape route by shooting, as happened in Platte City, Dexfield Park and Sowers. It is unlikely that Hamer had planned to give the warning, at any rate Oakley stood up and opened fire early and soon afterward the other officers joined him. Later, Jordan reported that he gave the halt to Clyde, but Alcorn said it was Hamer who intimated it, while Hinton claimed Alcorn did. In another report, they said they both intimated it. These conflicting statements were probably attempts to divert attention from the anticipated action by Oakley, who later admitted that he had fired too soon.

The arrest warrant for Bonnie

Different sources say that on five occasions Bonnie may or may not have opened fire during confrontations with law enforcement. Regardless, he was still complicit in a hundred, and perhaps more, criminal acts during his two-year criminal career, including eight murders, seven kidnappings, half a dozen robberies and carjackings, and other serious acts, at a time when Texas had capital punishment for "habitual criminals."

After the events in Joplin, she became a de facto wanted man, so much so that the Police Department had circulated flyers in April 1933 that read "Wanted for Murder" and featured photos of both Bonnie and Clyde. In June, another flyer was circulated in Crawford County, Arkansas, with a $250 bounty for the Barrow brothers, also warning that they were looking for medicine to treat a burn on a woman. The flyer depicted faces and names of Bonnie, Clyde, Buck and Blanche, as well as the then unidentified Jones and appeared after the murder of Marshall Humphrey near Alma on June 23.

By November 1933, Jones was in custody and had provided details of the gang's activities in the preceding months. On November 28, a grand jury indicted Bonnie, Clyde and Jones for the January murder of Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis. Judge Nolan G. Williams signed arrest warrants for Bonnie and Clyde on murder charges. Bonnie's cooperation in the raid on the Eastham jail in January 1934 earned her the hostility of a large group of influential Texans and, after being linked to the Grapevine murders, a bounty was placed on her head.

Hinton's charges

In 1979, Ted Hinton's testimony about the ambush was published posthumously. According to his version of the Methvin family's involvement in the planning and execution of the ambush, his father Ivy was tied to a tree the night before to prevent him from alerting the outlaws. Hinton states that Hamer made a deal with Ivy Methvin: if he kept the fact that he was tied up a secret, his son would not be tried for the Grapevine murders. Hinton also states that Hamer made everyone swear an oath never to reveal such a secret. Other accounts, however, place Mr. Methvin at the center of the action, not tied to a tree but in the street signaling Clyde to stop. Hinton's memoirs also suggest that in the famous photo of Bonnie with the cigar, the latter was actually a rose and that the image was doctored by the Joplin Globe staff. Historian Guinn believes that "some people who knew him suspected that in later life he was delirious."

Over the years, a number of films, TV plays and plays have been produced centering on the events of the criminal duo:


  1. Bonnie and Clyde
  2. Bonnie e Clyde
  3. ^ A few months after their breakup, Thornton was convicted and imprisoned for robbery. Parker told her mother, "I didn't get [a divorce] before Roy was sent up, and it looks sort of dirty to file for one now." Parker, Cowan and Fortune, p. 56
  4. ^ Parker did smoke cigarettes, although she never smoked cigars.
  5. ^ a b (EN) FBI — Bonnie and Clyde, su, FBI. URL consultato il 17 agosto 2018 (archiviato il 16 maggio 2016).
  6. ^ (EN) Robert B. Toplin, History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past, Urbana, Illinois, University of Illinois, 1996, ISBN 0-252-06536-0.
  7. ^ Phillips.
  8. ^ (EN) Deposizione Jones, 18 novembre 1933. File dell'FBI 26-4114 – Sezione Sub A (PDF), su, 59–62 (archiviato dall'url originale il 12 giugno 2009).
  9. Phillips, John. Running with Bonnie and Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults
  10. a b Barrow, Marie. The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde
  11. «Dallas News». Archivado desde el original el 25 de febrero de 2008.
  12. Jeff Guin (Febrero de 2009). The True Untold History of Bonnie and Clyde. Simon&Shuster. pp. 87-88. ISBN 1-4165-5706-7.
  13. Phillips, p xxxv; Guinn, p 45
  14. Guinn, p 46
  15. Parker, Cowan and Fortune, pp. 33, 47; Guinn, p. 48.

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