Bonnie and Clyde
The Romeo and Juliet of the Crime World
Star Crossed Lovers…
• Like Shakespeare’s teenage lovers this couple were doomed to die tragic deaths • This was however a tad expected due to their lifestyle.
Their eyes met…
• Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas, 1930. • Clyde was serving time for burglary. • Bonnie was due to be married to a murderer. • He was 21, she, a sweet 19
Their first date…
• Their relationship grew and she helped break him out of prison by smuggling in a gun. • He was recaptured and then paroled in 1932 – Bonnie joined him
• Bonnie stood at 4’11” • She had Shirley Temple-coloured strawberry-blond ringlets, was frecklefaced and, according to those who knew her,very pretty.
The Deprived Childhood
• Her father died when she was young so her mother was forced into taking lowly paid jobs to make ends meet. • Her poverty made her want things she couldn’t afford – hats especially. • She wasn’t stupid, when she was at school she was a good students with a flair for English.
• At 5’7” he was deemed to be quite attractive to the women who knew him. • He was born into dire poverty – tenant farmers for parents.
The Crimes begin
• He tried to go straight but failed • Clyde made a half-hearted attempt at work in Massachusetts. That lasted all of two weeks. • He returned to Bonnie and off they went -- in a stolen car.
Bonnie in Porridge
• The "laws" caught up with them, Clyde escaped and Bonnie ended up in the Kaufman, Texas jail for a couple of months. It was at this time that Bonnie wrote the poem "The Story of Suicide Sal."
• Meanwhile, Clyde kept busy. He robbed the Sims Oil Company in Dallas and escaped. • The turning point came on April 13 when the robbery of a jewellery store owned by John Bucher ended up with Bucher's death. • Although Clyde claimed he was in the car at the time of the shooting, he and Raymond Hamilton, a childhood friend, were then known as the killers of John Bucher. Clyde's career had began in earnest. A series of gas station robberies followed and Clyde was identified as one of the perpetrators.
Bonnie joins in
• Bonnie was released from jail in June and joined Clyde. On August 5, while he was in Atoka, Oklahoma with Hamilton (it is unclear why Bonnie was not with them), they killed two policemen, C.G. Maxwell and Eugene Moore, who went to investigate them while they were drinking inside the car.
The Bizarre Car Theft
• Bonnie and Clyde stole a car belonging to a Mr. Darby from a boarding house. He saw them. He asked Miss Sofia Stone if he could borrow her car to give chase. They did, but realized they could not keep up and turned their machine around. When they looked in the rear view mirror, they saw they were being pursued by their own stolen car.
• They were taken in Mr. Darby's own car as captives. As Miss Stone tells it, a gun was kept in her side all the time by Bonnie and she was told that if they weren't so likable they would have been killed. Bonnie laughed when she asked Mr. Darby his profession and found out it was an undertaker. She said maybe someday he would be working on her. As it turned out, Bonnie couldn't have been closer to the truth. They were let go. But Mr. Darby would see Bonnie one more time
The Gang Grows
• W.D. Jones, a petty thief, was Bonnie and Clyde's newest member on their road to nowhere. Malcolm Davis was the next police officer to lose the draw to Clyde's deadly aim.
• In March of 1933, Marvin (Buck) Barrow was released from the Texas Penitentiary after serving a short term for burglary and, with his second wife Blanch, joined his brother, Bonnie and W.D. Jones in Joplin, Missouri. The five set up house in a garage apartment and stayed there until April when the police, thinking they had found a gang of illegal gin brewers, closed in. In the ensuing gun battle, Clyde was shot as was Jones but two more officers bit the dust.
Must be love…
• In the apartment, officers found Buck's pardon and a guitar. A newspaperman found some undeveloped film. When developed, one of the shots was Bonnie holding a shotgun on Clyde
Fleeing the Scene
• By now, it was all downhill. Near Wellington, Texas, their stolen Ford plunged off a bridge under construction and Bonnie was pinned underneath. The machine caught fire. Rescued by some farmers, who saw the arsenal of weapons in the car, one ran off to call police.
Help on the way…
• One of the women neighbours who came to help was shot by a nervous W.D. Jones. • He blew her hand off. When two policemen came to investigate, the Barrow gang overpowered them. Along with Bonnie, they were loaded into the car and later released. Bonnie's leg would never be the same.
The Police close in
• Their next place of residence was the Red Crown Tourist Camp in Platte City, Missouri. They rented a double cabin with a garage in between. The police paid them another visit. In this gun battle Buck was hit in the forehead. Blanche was hit in the eyes with flying glass. The gang put a set of sunglasses on her face.
• Once again, they escaped but were found three days later in a park in Dexter, Iowa on a tip from a waiter who informed police that a man had for the past few days ordered five meals and taken them into the woods. Clyde, in his haste to escape, ran his car into a stump and the police proceeded to riddle it with bullets. Buck was hit several more times -- in the hip and shoulder.
The Gang is split
• Clyde and Jones took Bonnie and escaped through a stream and proceeded through a cornfield to a farm. Holding the farmer and his son at bay, they took his car. Buck was captured and died from his wounds a few days later in an Iowa hospital. Blanche, probably the most innocent of all (she was constantly trying to reform Buck) was sent to the Missouri State Penitentiary.
The Police close in again
• Bonnie's leg became deformed for lack of good medical attention. In November, while trying to visit their parents, sheriff Smoot got wind of it, set up an ambush and with other law officers, blasted the car. Bonnie and Clyde, both hit in the legs, once again escaped. Clyde had more lives than a cat.
The Gang Grows
• In January, Clyde and Bonnie sprang Raymond Hamilton from Prison • Along with Hamilton was one Henry Methvin.
Crime Spree (again)
• Another police officer, Major Crowson, would not see the days end. Between January and March, several banks were robbed and were attributed to the Barrow gang.
More Police Dead
• On Easter Sunday, 1934, on a side road off Highway 114 in Texas, Clyde and Methvin killed two police officers who thought they needed help. • Five days later they kill police officer Cal Campbell and kidnap Chief Percy Boyd in Oklahoma. They let Percy go but not before Bonnie asks him to tell the public she does not smoke cigars.
The Chase Heats Up
• The Texas Governor hired a special agent. That special agent was retired Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. • Hamer, working for a salary of $150 a month, took to Clyde's trail on February 10. He used a Ford V8 which he knew Clyde was partial to. He picked up their trail in Texarkana but always seemed to be a day late. While the chase was on, Clyde killed three more policemen.
• Ivan Methvin, Henry's father, had in the past let Bonnie and Clyde use his place to hide. Now fearing for his son's life, made a deal. • A full pardon for his son in Texas for information on the Barrow gang. Hamer was informed of a "post office" that was used by the Barrows. It was a large board which lay on the ground near a large stump of a pine tree.
The Ambush is set
• At this time, Hamer picked up his old friend B.M. Gault. The other men who were in on the kill were Bob Alcorn, Ted Hinton, Henderson Jordan and Paul Oakley. At 1:30 a.m. they set up blinds with tree branches approximately 25 feet from the road on the east side so that they could look down on the road. They placed themselves approximately ten feet apart. Then they waited.
• They waited for approximately seven hours when at about 9:10 a.m. they heard a machine approaching at a high rate of speed. It is unclear whether Hamer or Alcorn stepped into the road to challenge them. When the car stopped they were told to give up. • They reached for their guns but never had a chance to use them. The posse opened fire with steel jacketed, high velocity bullets. The car leaped ahead and came to a halt in a ditch beside the road. The firing continued after the car came to a halt.
The Final Scene
• The officers, even after pumping 167 rounds into the car, approached the machine carefully. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow couldn't have been any deader. Fifty rounds had smashed into their bodies. Some through the driver's door, through Clyde, through Bonnie and out the passenger door. • The fingers on Bonnie's right hand had been shot away. Her left hand held a bloody pack of cigarettes. She died with her head slumped between her legs, a gun across her lap. Bonnie was 23 years old, Clyde 24.
The Deadly Find
• Inside the car, Hamer found the following: 1 saxophone, 3 Browning automatic rifles, 1 10 gauge Winchester lever action, sawed-off shotgun, 1 20 gauge sawed-off shotgun, 1 Colt 32 caliber automatic, 1 Colt 45 caliber revolver, 7 Colt automatic pistols, and approximately 3,000 rounds of ammunition.
Famous or Infamous?
• The car was towed with the bodies in it to Arcadia, Louisiana. The crowds were already waiting • Their bodies were placed in the undertaker's parlour, which was the rear room of a furniture store. The crowds were uncontrolled to the point where the undertaker had to squirt embalming fluid on them to keep them back.
• Clyde was buried in a West Dallas cemetery on May 25 next to his brother Buck. Thousands of thrill seekers were present, some snatching the flowers from his grave.
• Was she buried next to her love?
• Bonnie's mother had refused to have Bonnie buried next to Clyde and so she was buried on May 27 at the West Dallas Fishtrap cemetery.
• Henry Methvin received his pardon from Texas as promised -- but not from Oklahoma. He was arrested for murder, sentenced to death which was later commuted to life. He served 12 years, was released and run over by a train in 1948.
The Trade on Crime
• Twenty-three persons were brought to trial on charges of harbouring Bonnie and Clyde. • Clyde's and Bonnie's families tried to gain ownership of the guns that they were found with because they realized their worth to collectors. They did not receive them • The gray V8 Ford was shown for years after that at State Fairs for 25 cents a look.
Robin Hood and Maid Marian
• While they terrorised banks and store owners in five states -- Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, and New Mexico -Americans thrilled to their "Robin Hood" adventures. The presence of a female, Bonnie, escalated the sincerity of their intentions to make them something unique and individual -- even at times heroic -- and above similar activities of allmale motor bandits like John Dillinger, "Baby Face" Nelson and "Pretty Boy" Floyd
• "Anybody who robbed banks or fought the law were really living out some secret fantasies on a large part of the public."
• Historian Jonathan Davis
You've read the story of Jesse James, of how he lived and died. If you're still in the need of something to read, here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.
But the 'laws' fooled around, kept taking him down and locking him up in a cell 'till he said to me "I'll never be free so I'll meet a few of them in Hell.
Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang. I'm sure you have all read how they rob and steal and those who squeal are usually found dying or dead. If they try to act like citizens and rent them a nice little flat about the third night, they're invited to fight by a sun-gun's rat-tat-tat.
The road gets dimmer and dimmer; Sometimes you can hardly see but it's flight, man to man, and do all you can, for they know they can never be free. If a policeman is killed in Dallas and they have no clue or guide; If they just can't find a fiend they just wipe their slate clean and hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.
A newsboy once said to his buddy: I wish old Clyde would get jumped; in these awful hard times we'd make a few dimes if five or six cops would get bumped. They don't think they're too smart or desperate. They know that the 'laws' always wins; They've been shot at before, but they do not ignore that death is the wages of sin.
Some day they'll go down together. They'll bury them side by side. To few it'll be grief To the law a relief but it's death for Bonnie and Clyde