Friday, July 13, 2012

Bonnie and Clyde and the Bloody Barrow Gang

I’m having so much fun with the crime theme this week I’m continuing it today.

Bonnie and Clyde. The names evoke images of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty from the 1967 movie of the same name. The movie, no big surprise, was a romanticized version of the story. As told in this article from the March, 1965 issue of Detective Cases Bonnie and Clyde were not Beatty and Dunaway. Bonnie and Clyde caught the public’s fancy in the Depression days of the 1930s and their movements were followed eagerly by newspaper readers.

The article gives a fairly concise version of the Bonnie and Clyde story. What was shown in the movie of the deaths of the bandit duo was substantially correct. They were ambushed and shot to death by lawmen. But the name of Frank Hamer, who led the posse, is omitted from the magazine article. Hamer was an old-time lawman, and it was probably fitting he led the posse. Bonnie and Clyde, like the other famous traveling bank robbers and criminals of that time, were the last gasp of the nineteenth century era of Frank and Jesse James. The modern bandit gangs rode in Fords rather than on horses, and they used submachine guns instead of six-shooters, but they were still up to the same nefarious occupation.

The killing of Bonnie and Clyde was more of an assassination. Two dangerous, armed fugitives who shot to kill were ordered to be brought to justice, dead or alive. The posse chose dead. For the law it wrote an end to another bandit team, but not the legend of a pair whose exploits are still being talked about 70 years after their deaths.

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