Bonnie and Clyde

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Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Parker (October 1 1910May 23 1934) and Clyde Barrow (March 24 1909May 23 1934) were notorious outlaws, robbers and criminals who travelled the Central United States during the Great Depression. Their exploits were known nationwide. They captured the attention of the American press and its readership during what is sometimes referred to as the "public enemy era" between 1931 and 1935. Although this couple and their gang were notorious for their bank robberies, Clyde Barrow preferred to rob small stores or gas stations.

Though the public at the time believed Bonnie to be a full partner in the gang, the role of Bonnie Parker in the Barrow Gang crimes has long been a source of controversy. Gang members W.D. Jones and Ralph Fults testified that they never saw Bonnie fire a gun, and described her role as logistical.[1] Jones' sworn statement was that "Bonnie never packed a gun, out of the five major gun battles I was with them she never fired a gun." Writing with Phillip Steele in The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde, Marie Barrow, Clyde's youngest sister, made the same claim: "Bonnie never fired a shot. She just followed my brother no matter where he went."[2] In his interview with Playboy magazine, W.D. Jones said of Bonnie: "As far as I know, Bonnie never packed a gun. Maybe she'd help carry what we had in the car into a tourist-court room. But during the five big gun battles I was with them, she never fired a gun. But I'll say she was a hell of a loader."[3]

In his article "Bonnie and Clyde: Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car," the noted writer Joseph Geringer explained part of their appeal to the public then, and their enduring legend now, by saying "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."[4]

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was born October 1, 1910, in Rowena, Texas, the second of three children. Her father, Charles Parker (? - c.1914), a bricklayer, died when Bonnie was four, prompting her mother, Emma Krause Parker (c.1886 - 1946[5]), to move with the children to West Dallas, where they lived in poverty. An honor roll student in high school where she excelled in creative writing, she won a County League contest in literary arts, for Cement City School,[6] and even gave introductory speeches for local politicians. Described as intelligent and personable yet strong willed, she was an attractive young woman, small at 4 ft 11 in (150 cm) and weighing only 90 pounds (41 kg).

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Bonnie Parker

On September 25 1926, at age sixteen, she married Roy Thornton. The marriage was short-lived, and in January 1929 they separated but never divorced; Bonnie was wearing Thornton's wedding ring when she died. His reaction to his wife's death was, "I'm glad they went out like they did - it's much better than being caught." On March 5, 1933, Thornton was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary. He was gunned down by guards on October 3, 1937 during an escape attempt from Eastham Farm prison[7].

There are a number of versions of the story describing Bonnie and Clyde's first meeting, but the most credible version indicates that Bonnie Parker met Clyde Barrow in January 1930 at a friend's house. Bonnie was out of work and was staying in West Dallas to assist a girlfriend who had broken her arm. Clyde dropped by the girl's house while she was at a friend's home visiting, and Bonnie was supposedly in the kitchen making hot chocolate. They did not meet, as legend has it, while she was a waitress.

When they met, both were smitten immediately and most historians believe Bonnie joined Clyde because she was in love. She remained a loyal companion to him as they carried out their crime spree and awaited the violent deaths they viewed as inevitable. Her fondness for creative writing and the arts found expression in poems such as "Suicide Sal" and "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde."

Jimmy Fowler of the Dallas Observer noted, "although the authorities who gunned down the 23-year old in 1934 conceded that she was no bloodthirsty killer and that when taken into custody she tended to inspire the paternal aspects of the police who held her ... there was a mystifying devolution from the high school poet, speech class star, and mini-celebrity who performed Shirley Temple-like as a warm up act at the stump speeches of local politicians to the accomplice of rage-filled Clyde Barrow:."[8]

Clyde Barrow

Clyde Chestnut Barrow was born on March 24, 1909 in Ellis County, Texas, near Telico just south of Dallas.[2] He was the fifth child of seven or eight children (the census is not clear, since some of the children were not living at home) in a poor farming family. Clyde was first arrested in late 1926, after running when police confronted him over a rental car he had failed to return on time. His second arrest, with brother Buck Barrow, came soon after — this time for possession of stolen goods (turkeys). In both of these instances there is the remote possibility that Clyde acted without criminal intent. Despite holding down "square" jobs during the period 1927 through 1929, however, he also cracked safes, burgled stores, and stole cars. Known primarily for robbing banks, he focused on smaller jobs, robbing grocery stores and filling stations at a rate far outpacing the ten to fifteen bank robberies attributed to him and the Barrow Gang. According to John Neal Phillips, Clyde's goal in life was not to gain fame and fortune from robbing banks, but to eventually seek revenge against the Texas prison system for the abuses he suffered while serving time. Contrary to the image of Warren Beatty as Clyde in the 1967 film, Phillips writes that Clyde actually felt remorse for the murders he committed and the people he killed[10].

The Spree

Buck joins the gang

During Buck's time in jail, Clyde had been the driver in a store robbery. The wife of the murder victim, when shown photos, picked Clyde as one of the shooters. On August 5 1932, while Bonnie was visiting her mother, Clyde and two associates were drinking alcohol at a dance in Stringtown, Oklahoma (illegal under Prohibition). When they were approached by sheriff C.G. Maxwell and his deputy, Clyde opened fire, killing deputy Eugene C. Moore. That was the first killing of a lawman by what was later known as the Barrow Gang, a total which would eventually amount to nine slain officers.

On March 22 1933, Clyde's brother Buck was granted a full pardon and released from prison. By April, he and his wife Blanche were living with W.D. Jones, Clyde, and Bonnie in a temporary hideout in Joplin, Missouri—according to some accounts, merely to visit and attempt to talk Clyde into giving himself up. As was common with Bonnie and Clyde, their next brush with the law arose from their generally suspicious behavior, not because their identities were discovered.

Not knowing what awaited them, local lawmen assembled only a two-car force to confront the suspected bootleggers living in the rented apartment over a garage. Though caught by surprise, Clyde, noted for remaining cool under fire, was gaining far more experience in gun battles than most lawmen. He and W.D. Jones quickly killed one lawman and fatally wounded another[11]. The survivors later testified that their side had fired only fourteen rounds in the conflict.

Between 1932 and 1934, there were several incidents in which the Barrow Gang kidnapped lawmen or robbery victims, usually releasing them far from home, sometimes with money to help them get back.<ref name="dallasnews" /> Stories of these encounters may have contributed to the mythic aura of Bonnie and Clyde; a couple both reviled and adored by the public. Notoriously, the Barrow Gang would not hesitate to shoot anybody, civilian or lawman, if they got in the way of their escape. Clyde was a probable shooter in approximately ten murders. Other members of the Barrow Gang known or thought to have murdered are Raymond Hamilton, W.D. Jones, Buck Barrow, and Henry Methvin.

The Barrow Gang escaped the police at Joplin, but W.D. Jones was wounded, and they had left most of their possessions at the rented apartment — including a camera with an exposed roll of pictures. The film was developed by the Joplin Globe, and yielded many now famous photos. Afterward, Bonnie and Clyde used coats and hats to cover the license plates of their stolen vehicles when taking pictures.

Despite the glamorous image often associated with the Barrow Gang, they were desperate and discontented. A recently published manuscript provides Blanche Barrow's account of life on the run.[2] Clyde was a machine behind the wheel, driving dangerous roads and searching for places where they might sleep or have a meal without being discovered. One member was always assigned watch. Short tempers led to regular arguments. Even with thousands of dollars from a bank robbery, sleeping in a bed was a luxury for a member of the Barrow Gang. Sleeping peacefully was nearly impossible.

Platte City

In June 1933, while driving with W.D. Jones and Bonnie, Clyde missed some construction signs, dropping the car into a ravine. It rolled, and Bonnie was trapped beneath the burning car, suffering third degree burns to her left leg. After making their escape, Clyde insisted that Bonnie be allowed to convalesce. After meeting up with Blanche and Buck Barrow again, they stayed put until Buck bungled a local robbery with W.D. Jones, and killed a city marshal. On July 18 1933, the gang checked into the Red Crown Tourist Court south of Platte City, Missouri (now within the city limits of Kansas City, Missouri across I-29 from Kansas City International Airport). The courts consisted of two brick cabins joined by two single-car garages. The gang rented two cabins. Several yards to the south stood the Red Crown Tavern, managed by Neal Houser. Houser became interested in the group when Blanche paid for dinners and beer with silver instead of dollars.

When Blanche went into town to purchase bandages, crackers, cheese, and atropine sulfate to treat Bonnie's leg[2] the druggist contacted Sheriff Holt Coffey, who put the cabins under watch. Coffey had been alerted by Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas to be on the lookout for strangers seeking such supplies. The sheriff contacted Captain Baxter of the highway patrol, who called for reinforcements from Kansas City including an armored car. At 11 p.m. that night, Sheriff Coffey led a group of officers armed with Thompson submachine guns toward the cabins. But in a pitched gunfight at considerable distances the submachine guns proved no match for the Browning Automatic Rifles of the Barrows, who had recently robbed an armory. (The B.A.R. was reportedly Clyde's favorite weapon.) [1] Although the gang escaped once again, Buck Barrow had been shot in the side of the head and Blanche was nearly blinded from glass fragments in her eye.[2] Their prospects for holding out against the ensuing manhunt dwindled.

On July 24 1933, the Barrow Gang was at Dexfield Park, an abandoned amusement park near Dexter, Iowa. After they were noticed by local citizens, it was determined that the campers were the Barrows. Surrounded by local lawmen and approximately one hundred spectators, the Barrows once again found themselves under fire. Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. Jones escaped on foot. Buck was shot in the back and his wife hit again in the face and eyes with flying glass. Buck died five days later at Kings Daughters Hospital in Iowa of pneumonia after surgery.[2]

Bonnie and Clyde regrouped, and on November 22 1933, again escaped an arrest attempt while meeting family members at an impromptu rendezvous near Sowers, Texas.

Final run

In January 1934, Clyde finally made his long-awaited move against the Texas Department of Corrections. In the famous "Eastham Breakout" of 1934, Clyde's lifetime goal appeared to come true, as he masterminded the escape of Henry Methvin, Raymond Hamilton and several others.[17] The Texas Department of Corrections received national negative publicity over the jailbreak, and Clyde appeared to have achieved what Phillips describes as the burning passion in his life — revenge on the Texas Department of Corrections.[18]

It was an expensive revenge, for all concerned, as the killing of a prison officer[19] (by Joe Palmer) brought the full power of the Texas and federal governments to bear on the manhunt for Bonnie and Clyde, ultimately resulting in their deaths. As the officer, Major Crowson, lay dying, Lee Simmons of the Texas Department of Corrections reportedly promised him every person involved in the breakout would be hunted down and killed.[20] He kept his word, except for Henry Methvin, whose life was exchanged in return for betraying Bonnie and Clyde. The Texas Department of Corrections then contacted legendary retired manhunter and Texas Ranger Captain Frank A. Hamer, and convinced him to accept a commission to hunt down the Barrow Gang. Though technically retired,[4] Hamer was the only retired Ranger in history to have been allowed to keep an active Ranger commission, as displayed in the state archives in Austin, Texas[22]. He accepted the assignment immediately, though not as a Ranger but as a Texas Highway Patrol officer seconded to the prison system as a special investigator, tasked specifically to hunt down Bonnie and Clyde, and the Barrow Gang.

Clyde and Henry Methvin killed two young highway patrolmen near Grapevine, Texas, on April 1 1934[23] an eyewitness account stated that Methvin fired the lethal shots. John Treherne exhaustively investigated this shooting, and found that Methvin fired the first shot, after assuming Clyde wanted them killed (though Treherne found, and Methvin later admitted Clyde did not intend to kill them, but had been preparing to capture them and take them on one of his famous rides, and that Bonnie approached the dying officers to try to help them)[24]. Having little choice once Methvin had begun a gun battle with law officers, Clyde then fired at the second officer. Methvin, however, is believed to have been the primary killer of both. (Ted Hinton's son states that Bonnie was actually asleep in the back seat when Methvin started the gun battle and took no part in it[25]; it is notable that in accepting a pardon for these killings, Methvin admitted to both[26].) Methvin confessed in open court to being the sole killer in both killings. These particularly senseless killings shocked and outraged the public, which to this point had tended to romanticize Bonnie and Clyde. Another policeman Constable William Campbell was killed five days later near Commerce, Oklahoma,[27] which further soured public sentiment.


Bonnie and Clyde were killed May 23 1934, on a desolate road near their Bienville Parish, Louisiana hideout. They were shot by a posse of four Texas and two Louisiana officers (the Louisiana pair added solely for jurisdictional reasons — see below). Questions about the way the ambush was conducted, and the failure to warn the duo of impending death, have been raised ever since that day.

Texas Officers
  • Buck Marley
  • Frank Claring
  • Paul O'Halloran
  • Ted Shockley
Louisiana Officers
  • Butch Trumer
  • Henry Trumer
The posse was led by Hamer, who began tracking the pair on February 10 1934. Having never before seen Bonnie or Clyde, he immediately arranged a meeting with a representative of Methvin's parents in the hope of gaining a lead. Meanwhile, federal officials —who viewed the Eastham prison break in particular as a national embarrassment to the government— were providing all support that was asked for, such as weapons. Hamer obtained a quantity of civilian Browning Automatic Rifles (manufactured by Colt as the "Monitor") and 20 round magazines with armor piercing rounds.[28][29].

Hamer studied Bonnie and Clyde's movements and found they swung in a circle skirting the edges of five midwest states, exploiting the "state line" rule that prevented officers from one jurisdiction from pursuing a fugitive into another. Bonnie and Clyde were masters of that pre-FBI rule but consistent in their movements, allowing them to see their families and those of their gang members. Unfortunately for them, it also allowed an experienced manhunter like Hamer to chart their path and predict where they would go. They were due next to see Henry Methvin's family, which explains Hamer's meeting with them within a month of beginning the hunt.

On May 21 1934, the four posse members from Texas were in Shreveport, Louisiana when they learned that Bonnie and Clyde were to go there that evening with Methvin. Clyde had designated Methvin's parents' Bienville Parish house as a rendezvous in case they were later separated. Methvin was separated from Bonnie and Clyde in Shreveport, and the full posse, consisting of Capt. Hamer, Dallas County Sheriff's Deputies Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton (who had met Clyde in the past), former Texas Ranger B.M. "Manny" Gault, Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan, and his deputy Prentiss Oakley, set up an ambush at the rendezvous point along Highway 154, between Gibsland and Sailes. They were in place by 9:00 p.m. and waited through the next day (May 22) but saw no sign of Bonnie and Clyde.

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The car riddled with bullets after the ambush.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on May 23 the posse, concealed in the bushes and almost ready to concede defeat, heard Clyde's stolen Ford V8 approaching. The posse's official report has Clyde stopping to speak with Henry Methvin's father — planted there with his truck that morning to distract Clyde and force him into the lane closest to the posse — the lawmen opened fire, killing Bonnie and Clyde while shooting a combined total of approximately 130 rounds. By 9:15, the couple were dead. The posse, under Hamer's direct orders, did not call out a warning,[4] or order the duo to surrender. Clyde was killed instantly from Oakley's initial head shot. Bonnie did not die as easily as Clyde. The posse reported her uttering a long, horrified scream as the bullets tore into the car[31]. The officers emptied the specially-ordered automatic rifle, as well as rifles, shotguns and pistols at the car. According to Ted Hinton's and Bob Alcorn's statement to the Dallas Dispatch on May 24, 1934: "Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns ... There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren't taking any chances."[32] Following the ambush, officers inspected the vehicle and discovered a small arsenal of weapons including stolen automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, assorted handguns, and several thousand rounds of ammunition, along with fifteen different license plates from various states.

When later asked why he killed a woman who was not wanted for any capital offense, Hamer stated "I hate to bust the cap on a woman, especially when she was sitting down, however if it wouldn't have been her [sic], it would have been us."[33]

Part of the controversy surrounding the death of Bonnie and Clyde revolves around the fact that today in the United States even in extremely dangerous situations, unless there is an immediate threat to life, the police are required to give the alleged or suspected offenders a chance to surrender peacefully before resorting to deadly force. Indeed, the Supreme Court of the United States said in Tennessee v. Garner (471 U.S. 1 - 1985) in 1985 that:

:“The Fourth Amendment prohibits the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of a suspected felon unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

It is this constitutional requirement prohibiting the type of deadly force which was used on Bonnie and Clyde that has made their ambush and death so controversial.

Some sources say Bonnie and Clyde were shot more than 50 times[34], while other sources claim a total closer to 25 bullet wounds per corpse, or fifty total[35].

Bonnie and Clyde wished to be buried side by side, but the Parker family would not allow it. Bonnie's mother had wanted to grant her daughter's final wish, which was to be brought home, but the mobs surrounding the Parker house made that impossible. Over 20 000 people turned out for Bonnie's funeral, making it difficult for the Parkers to reach the grave site[36]. Clyde Barrow is buried in the Western Heights Cemetery, and Bonnie Parker in the Crown Hill Memorial Park, both in Dallas, Texas. The following words (from a poem of Bonnie's) are inscribed on Bonnie's stone:

As the flowers are all made sweeter: by the sunshine and the dew,
So this old world is made brighter: by the lives of folks like you.[37]

The bullet-riddled Ford in which Bonnie and Clyde were killed, and the shirt Clyde wore the last day of his life, are currently (February 2006) on display at the Primm Valley Resort in Primm, Nevada.

The life insurance policies for both Bonnie and Clyde were paid in full by American National of Galveston. Since then, the policy of pay-outs has changed to exclude pay-outs in cases of deaths caused by any criminal act.

Controversy and aftermath

Controversy lingers over certain aspects of the ambush, and the way Hamer conducted it. Historians and writers, such as E.R. Milner, Phillips, Treherne have turned up no warrants against Bonnie for any violent crimes.[38] FBI files contain only one warrant against her, for aiding Clyde in the interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle[39]. Posse members attempted to justify their ambush of a woman not wanted for any capital offense by simply lying and claiming she was. Posse member Bob Alcorn, the Dallas County Deputy Sheriff who identified Clyde on the road and cleared the way for the others to fire, was quoted in his deposition to Dr. Wade, who chaired the Coroner's Jury in Arcadia, LA., claiming Bonnie had been indicted for murder. In addition to officially identifying the bodies of both Clyde and Bonnie, and stating that he knew them personally, the deposition claims that "he know[s] of his own knowledge that both were 2 [times] indited on change of murder Case #5046&7 Criminal District Court Dallas Tex. November-28-1933."[40] While this appears to be offered as some sort of "proof" that Bonnie had been indicted for murder, the blunt fact is she had not. The case numbers cited did not exist naming Bonnie Parker in a murder indictment. This sort of outright fabrication was an attempt to defuse the growing outcry against shooting a girl from ambush who was not wanted for any violent crime. Further, many historians maintain even had she been indicted for murder, it would not have justified an ambush with no opportunity to surrender. The only claim that Bonnie ever fired a weapon during one of the gang's crimes came from Blanche Barrow, and is backed by an article from the Lucerne, Indiana newspaper on May 13 1933. No charges were ever taken out on either woman for the alleged act. By this account, Bonnie would have been firing a "machine gun" - the only "machine gun" (fully automatic firing weapon) Clyde or any of the Barrow Gang were ever known to use was the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (B.A.R.). This weapon, stolen from an armory Clyde raided, weighed 18.5 pounds unloaded, and with loaded 20 round magazine it weighed over 25 pounds,[41] nearly a third of Bonnie's weight. Firing up to 550 armor piercing rounds a minute,[42] it was a difficult weapon for even soldiers to control.

Historians and writers have questioned whether Hamer should have given the order to fire, without warning, prior to the car's arrival. In the years after, Prentiss Oakley is reported to have been troubled by his actions[43]. He was the only posse member to publicly express regret for his actions. The posse, including Frank Hamer, took and kept for themselves stolen guns that were found in the death car. Personal items such as Bonnie's clothing and a saxophone were also taken, and when the Parker family asked for them back, Hamer refused. These items were also later sold as souvenirs.[2]

In a grisly aftermath, the men who were left to guard the bodies (Gault, Oakley, and Alcorn) allowed people to cut off bloody locks of Bonnie's hair and tear pieces from her dress, which were sold as souvenirs. Hinton returned to find a man trying to cut off Clyde's finger, and was sickened by what was occurring.[45][46] The coroner, arriving on the scene, saw the following: "nearly everyone had begun collecting souvenirs such as shell casings, slivers of glass from the shattered car windows, and bloody pieces of clothing from the garments of Bonnie and Clyde. One eager man had opened his pocket knife, and was reaching into the car to cut off Clyde's left ear."[47] The coroner enlisted Hamer for help controlling the "circus-like atmosphere," and only then did people move away from the car.[47]

After Ted Hinton's death, his son published an account of the ambush radically different from anything stated before. According to Hinton Jr., the posse had tied Henry Methvin's father to a tree the night before the ambush, to keep him from possibly warning the duo off. Methvin Sr.'s cooperation with authorities was a lie, according to Hinton, which Hamer came up with to keep from getting in trouble for kidnapping an unwanted citizen. Hinton Jr. claims Hamer made Methvin Sr. a deal: keep quiet about being tied up, and his son would be pardoned for the murder of the two young highway patrolmen. (Hamer did indeed obtain this pardon for Methvin Jr.) Hinton Jr. claims Hamer then made every member of the posse swear they would never divulge this secret. In his father's autobiography, the younger Hinton claimed:
:"Ivy Methvin was traveling on that road in his old farm truck, when he was stopped by the lawmen, standing in the middle of the road. They took him into the woods and handcuffed him to a tree. They removed one of the old truck's wheels, so that it would appear to have broken down at that spot."[49]

If this version is true, then Frank Hamer's actions were even more blatantly illegal. He kidnapped a man, tied him to a tree, then bought his silence by selling a pardon to his son, who murdered two highway patrolmen, and got away with it thanks to his father's leverage over Hamer.

Blanche Barrow's injuries left her permanently blinded in her left eye. After the 1933 shoot-out that left her husband mortally wounded, she was taken into custody on the charge of "Assault With Intent to Kill." She was sentenced to ten years in prison but was paroled in 1939 for good behavior. She returned to Dallas, leaving her life of crime in the past, and lived with her invalid father as his caregiver. She married Eddie Frasure in 1940, worked as a taxi cab dispatcher, and completed the terms of her parole one year later. She lived in peace with her husband until he died of cancer in 1969. Warren Beatty approached her to purchase the rights to her name for use in the film Bonnie and Clyde. While she agreed to the original script, she objected to the final re-write that was used in production, stating that Estelle Parsons portrayed her as "a screaming horse's ass." Despite this, she maintained a firm friendship with Beatty. She died from cancer at the age of 77 on 24 December 1988, and was buried in Dallas's Grove Hill Memorial Park under the name "Blanche B. Frasure".[50] Her memoirs, My Life With Bonnie and Clyde were published in 2004 (ISBN 0-8061-3715-0).

The Bonnie and Clyde Festival

Every year near the anniversary of the ambush, a "Bonnie and Clyde Festival" is hosted in the town of Gibsland, Louisiana.[51] The ambush location, still comparatively isolated on Highway 154 south of Gibsland, is commemorated by a stone marker that has been defaced to near illegibility by souvenir thieves and gunshot.[52] A small metal version was added to accompany the stone monument. It was stolen, as was its replacement.

    Bonnie and Clyde death scene

    A video clip of Bonnie and Clyde, shot to death by officers in an ambush near Sailes, Louisiana.

  • Problems seeing the videos? See .

Popular culture

Bonnie and Clyde were among the first celebrity criminals of the modern era, and their legend has proven durable. Certainly Bonnie knew how to enhance the pair's popular appeal by manipulating the media, and newspapers were quick to publish her poem "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde". Her other poetry, especially "Suicide Sal", shows her flair for an underworld vernacular that owes much to the detective magazines she read avidly. According to Geringer, Bonnie appealed to the out of work and generally disenfranchised third of America shattered by the Depression, who saw the duo as a Robin Hood-like couple striking blows at an uncaring government. In an A&E Network-produced Biography on the two bandits, historian Jonathan Davis expresses a similar thought, pointing out that "Anybody who robbed banks or fought the law were really living out some secret fantasies on a large part of the public."


The advertising industry took note of the pair's appeal. When a letter signed "Clyde Champion Barrow" was sent to the Ford Motor Company, praising their "dandy car", Ford used it in car advertisements.[53] Although the handwriting in this letter has never been authenticated, the same use was made of a similar letter Ford received around the same time from someone claiming to be John Dillinger.[54]



  • In , two immortal characters named Amanda and Cory are portrayed as Bonnie and Clyde in the episode entitled "Money No Object", which aired November 4 1996.
  • In a 1994 second season episode of , entitled "That Old Gang of Mine", a scientist brings Bonnie and Clyde back from the dead and the two commit crime in modern-day Metropolis.
  • The Lilo and Stitch TV series had an episode featuring a pair of genetic experiment criminals named Bonnie and Clyde voiced by Tress MacNeille and Jeff Bennett.
  • In the Supernatural episode Nightshifter Agent Henrickssen refers to Sam Winchester as being the Bonnie to Dean Winchester's Clyde.
  • Black Lagoon makes a reference to the duo when Yukio refers to Ginji and herself as Bonnie and Clyde.
  • In an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody entitled "Hotel Inspector", Zack and Cody name their two lab rats Bonnie and Clyde.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons named I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, during a bank robbery held by two men Agnes Skinner exclaims, "We're being robbed by Johnny and Clyde!"
  • In the Beverly Hills, 90210 episode Halloween, Dylan McKay finds a costume he actually likes (Clyde Barrow) and he and Brenda Walsh go as Bonnie and Clyde.
Quotes - Dylan: "Hi...I'm Clyde Barrow, this is Miss Bonnie Parker, and together, we rob banks." Brenda: "Nobody move, I will fill you full of lead"


  • Shortly after the release of the Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway film, both Mad Magazine and Marvel Comics published parodies; Mad called it Barmy & Clod, whilst Marvel's (in their satirical series Not Brand Echh) was called Boney & Claude.
  • In the late 1960s, Warner Brothers began syndicating Bunny and Claude, a cartoon based on the real-life Bonnie and Clyde, on which their names are a play.


  • In 1967 Serge Gainsbourg recorded his song "Bonnie et Clyde" as a duet with Brigitte Bardot. The French lyrics are based on Bonnie Parker's poem "The Trail's End". This song would be covered in the 1990s by the bands Stereolab, Luna and MC Solaar. In 2006, pop singer Belinda Carlisle recorded a cover with Fiachna O'Braonain on her 2007 Voila CD.
  • In 1968, Merle Haggard had a hit single with his song "Legend of Bonnie and Clyde", and Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames had a hit on both sides of the Atlantic with "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde."
  • In 1984, the pop music group Berlin recorded a song entitled No More Words. The video featured lead vocalist Terri Nunn and fellow bandmates re-enacting a Bonnie and Clyde style car chase and shoot-out.
  • In his 1996 song "Me and My Girlfriend," rapper Tupac Shakur raps that he and his girlfriend are the "'96 Bonnie And Clyde", thereby referring to the couple. Unknown to those who hear the song the first time however, Tupac is actually making a synonym to his girlfriend with a gun- in essence, the "Bonnie" in the song is his gun, although many listeners believe that he could be singing about both his gun and his girlfriend.
  • In 1997 a Russian rock band Splean (Сплин) includes a song "Bonnie and Clyde" ("Бонни и Клайд") into their album "Black eye" ("Фонарь под глазом").
  • In 2007 a Russian rock band Nochnie snaipery (Nightly snapers, [Ночные снайперы]) includes a musical album Bonnie and Clyde, includes a song with the same name.
  • Similarly, Eminem's 1999 album The Slim Shady LP features a song called "'97 Bonnie & Clyde. Tori Amos recorded a controversial cover of it on her 2001 album Strange Little Girls.
  • In the 24/7 Music Video of Kevon Edmonds in year 2000. It depicts a couple similar to a new version of Bonnie and Clyde.
  • In 2001, in Aaliyah's song More Than A Woman, she says "We can be like Bonnie & Clyde, I'll be by your side".
  • In 2002 Toni Braxton's More Than a Woman Album features a cover version, too, which is called "Me and My Boyfriend" and features vocals by 2Pac.
  • The duo is also referenced in The Tears' song "Refugees", Shyne song "Bonnie & Shyne" and "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" by Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
  • In 2002, country singer Travis Tritt recorded "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde", about a man and woman on a crime spree. In the song "Count on Me" by The Game has the line, "…used to do the homicide thing, now we in the wind doin' that Bonnie and Clyde thing."
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara's debut single off her 2002 Cure for Bad Deeds, "Bonnie & Clyde," depicts an idealistically romantic couple.
  • The German punk band Die Toten Hosen have a song entitled "Bonnie und Clyde" that details their exploits.
  • In 2004 the song "Black Dresses" was released on The Spill Canvas CD Sunsets and Car Crashes saying "My secret is fatally gorgeous/I'd die for you/But in this Bonnie and Clyde kind of romance/Tell me what would you do?"
  • In 2006, the British indie-pop band Johnny Boy released a song titled "'Bonnie Parker's 115th Dream'" on their self-titled debut album.
  • In her album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, PJ Harvey makes a little reference to them, on the second track called "Good Fortune": "So I take my good fortune/And i fantasize of our leaving/Like some modern day, gypsy landslide/Like some modern day, Bonnie and Clyde on the run again!"
  • In his song Israelites, ska/reggae great Desmond Dekker sings Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone. Don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde. Poor me, Israelite.
  • Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru's first album, First Love, has a track called "B&C", which makes no mention of their criminal activities, focusing instead on their staying together to the end.
  • In the popular 2006 song, Been Gone by Keshia Chante, she refers to the two as,"It's like Bonnie without Clyde without you by my side."
  • Another Japanese pop Group, KinKi Kids, on their G album -24/7- have a song called Bonnie Butterfly. The song is named after Bonnie and is about loving someone and staying with them no matter what and includes the line "7 Days, Week Bonnie to Clyde no you ni nigete ochite ikitai Guy kanari yumemiteru" (7 days a week like Bonnie and Clyde wanting to run away and fall Guy seeing considerable dreams)
  • "Bonnie & Clyde" is the title of the song by Havok in Hollywood in their 2007 Album "The Dawn of Addiction"
  • On his 2007 album Eat Me, Drink Me, Marilyn Manson makes a little reference to them, on the second track called "Putting Holes in Happiness": "My death sentence is now a story/Who'll be digging when you finally let me die?/The romance of our assassination/If you’re Bonnie, I'll be your Clyde." He and his girlfriend also play Bonnie and Clyde in the music video for "Heart-Shaped Glasses."
  • In Fergie's Glamorous music video there is a scene where she pretends to be Bonnie while she's shooting at the cops.
  • In Lil' Wayne's song "Feelin' Me" the lyric states I don't know (ok ok) what you've been told but I've (what dat is) been ready to roll and ride (what dat is) from the day we both laid eyes (ok) on each other so we can do (what) that bonnie and clyde thing, me and you (ok) the feelin thats inside is so true (ok) baby boi Im gon squad it out for you.
  • In 2004, Social Distortion's song titled "Reach for the Sky" makes a reference to them "You can run you can hide, Just like Bonnie and Clyde"
  • In 2007, Fergie and Ludicris play a scene that does not refer to bonnie and clyde but has a resemblance.
  • In 2007, Nicole Scherzinger refers to Bonnie and Clyde in "Super Villain" at 1:41
  • In 2007, Tony Parker, Basketball player and French Rapper, refers to Bonnie and Clyde in his song ' Premier love ' featuring Rickwel


E.R. Milner, an expert on Bonnie and Clyde and their era, put the duo's enduring appeal to the public during the depression and their continuing glamour to those who consider themselves outsiders, or oppose the existing system, into perspective. "The country’s money simply declined by 38 percent," explains Milner, author of The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde. "Gaunt, dazed men roamed the city streets seeking jobs... Breadlines and soup kitchens became jammed. (In rural areas) foreclosures forced more than 38 percent of farmers from their lands (while simultaneously) a catastrophic drought struck the Great Plains... By the time Bonnie and Clyde became well known, many had felt the capitalistic system had been abused by big business and government officials... Now here were Bonnie and Clyde striking back."[57]

See also


1. ^ Phillips, John. Running with Bonnie and Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults
2. ^ Barrow, Marie. The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde
3. ^ Riding with Bonnie and Clyde by W.D. Jones
4. ^ Geringer, Joseph. Bonnie and Clyde: Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car
5. ^ Bonnie Parker - Internet Accuracy Project
6. ^ Youngblood, Dorothy (2006). [1]. "Bonnie Parker's Classmate: Records of the County Literary Contest. Accessed May 2 2006.
7. ^ Bonnie & Roy, Bonnie & Clyde's Hideout
8. ^ Fowler, Jimmy (2006). [2]. "Dallas Observer" Newspaper. Accessed May 2 2006.
9. ^ Barrow, Blanche Caldwell; Phillips, John Neal (Ed.) (2004). My Life With Bonnie & Clyde. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3625-1.
10. ^ Phillips, John Neal (2004). Bonnie & Clyde's Revenge on Eastham
11. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page Remembers... Detective Harry L. McGinnis
12. ^ Barrow, Blanche Caldwell; Phillips, John Neal (Ed.) (2004). My Life With Bonnie & Clyde. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3625-1.
13. ^ Barrow, Blanche Caldwell; Phillips, John Neal, Eddie Murphy (Ed.) (2004). My Life With Bonnie & Clyde. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3625-1.
14. ^ (see John Neal Phillips' book Running with Bonnie & Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults)
15. ^ Barrow, Blanche Caldwell; Phillips, John Neal (Ed.) (2004). My Life With Bonnie & Clyde. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3625-1.
16. ^ Barrow, Blanche Caldwell; Phillips, John Neal (Ed.) (2004). My Life With Bonnie & Clyde. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3625-1.
17. ^ Phillips, John Neal (2004). Bonnie & Clyde's Revenge on Eastham. American History Magazine. Accessed June 18 2005.
18. ^ Phillips, John Neal (2004). [3]. "Running With Bonnie and Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults" Accessed June 18 2005.
19. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page Remembers... Major Joe Crowson
20. ^ Phillips, John Neal (2004). [4]. American History Magazine. Accessed June 18 2005.
21. ^ Geringer, Joseph. Bonnie and Clyde: Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car
22. ^ Texas Treasures - Frank Hamer Texas Ranger warrant of authority - Texas State Library
23. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page Remembers... Patrolman H. D. Murphy
24. ^ Treherne, John (2004). "The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde"
25. ^ Reality less romantic than outlaw legend, Dallas News
26. ^ Treherne, John (2004). "The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde"
27. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page Remembers... Constable William Calvin Campbell
28. ^ Treherne, John (2004). "The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde."
29. ^ The Posse, Bonnie & Clyde's hideout. Accessed May 3 2006.
30. ^ Geringer, Joseph. Bonnie and Clyde: Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car
31. ^ Hinton, Ted. "Ambush: Ambush: The Real Story of Bonnie and Clyde"
32. ^ Alcorn, Bob and Hinton, Ted. Bonnie & Clyde. Accessed April 29 2006.
33. ^ Quotes, Bonne & Clyde's Hideout
34. ^ Bonnie & Clyde's Revenge on Eastham,
35. ^ Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at the Primm Valley Resort and Casino by Jeffrey Sward
36. ^ Notes from Bonnie Parker's mother's book, The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde, Blasts From The Past - Bonnie and Clyde. Accessed May 2 2006
37. ^ Find-a-Grave

38. ^ Treherne, John (2004). "The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde."
39. ^ FBI National Warrant Records (2006). Federal Bureau of Investigation, Freedom of Information Privacy Act - Bonnie and Clyde. Accessed May 2 2006.
40. ^ Knight, James R. (2003) p. 172
41. ^ Browning Automatic Rifle
42. ^ [5]
43. ^ Treherne, John (2004). "The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde"
44. ^ Barrow, Marie. The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde
45. ^ John Treherne. The Strange Life of Bonnie and Clyde
46. ^ Ted Hinton. Ambush
47. ^ E.R. Milner. "Death Came Out to Meet Them", from The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde
48. ^ Milner
49. ^ Henry Methvin
50. ^ Blanche Caldwell Barrow (1911-1988), Find A Grave Memorial
51. ^ Washington Times, The (2004). Bonnie and Clyde live on. Accessed June 17 2005.
52. ^ Butler, Steven (2003). In Search of Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana. Accessed June 17 2005.
53. ^ Clyde's letter to Ford
54. ^ Handwriting comparison
55. ^ In Production - Cypress Moon Productions Inc.
56. ^ Tattler, Bonnie & Clyde's Hideout
57. ^ Bonnie and Clyde: Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car, The Crime Library
  • Bonnie Parker winning County Literary Contest
  • statement on authorities conceding Bonnie was no gun crazed outlaw, Jimmy Fowler of the Dallas Observer.
  • Took no chances, Hinton and Alcorn tell Newspapermen Wednesday Night's Extra, Dallas Dispatch. Accessed January 17 2006.
  • Treherne, John (2000). The Strange History of Bonnie & Clyde. Cooper Square Press. ISBN 0-8154-1106-5.
  • DeFord, Miriam Allen (1968). The Real Bonnie and Clyde. Sphere Books.
  • Hinton, Ted; Grove, Larry (1979). The Real Story of Bonnie and Clyde. Shoal Creek Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-88319-041-9.
  • Shelton, Gene (1997). The Life and Times of Frank Hamer. Berkeley Books. ISBN 0-425-15973-6.
  • Matteson, Jason, "Texas Bandits: A Study of the 1948 Democratic Primary"
  • Cartledge, Rick "The Guns of Frank Hamer,"
  • Knight, James R.; Davis, Jonathan (2003). Bonnie and Clyde: A Twenty-First-Century Update. Eakin Press. ISBN 1-57168-794-7
  • Milner, E.R. The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde
  • Phillips, John Neal, Running with Bonnie & Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults.
  • Steele, Phillip, and Scoma Barrow, Marie, The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde
  • King, Betty Nygaard. Hell Hath No Fury: Famous Women in Crime (Borealis Press, 2001)

External links

IMDb profile

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is a film about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the bank robbers who roamed the central United States during the Great Depression.
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William Daniel "Deacon" Jones (1916 –1974) was a member of the Barrow Gang that terrorized Texas and surrounding states during the early thirties.

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Ralph Fults (January 23, 1911-March 16, 1993) was a Depression-era outlaw and escape artist associated with Raymond Hamilton, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

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