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Bonnie and Clyde (Page 2)


Picture of Bonnie and Clyde.

Portrait of American bank robbers and lovers Clyde Barrow (1909 - 1934) and Bonnie Parker (1911 -1934), popularly known as Bonnie and Clyde. (Circa 1933)

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On the Lam

For the next two years, Bonne and Clyde drove and robbed across five states: Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, and New Mexico. They usually stayed close to the border to aid their getaway, using the fact that police at that time could not cross state borders to follow a criminal.

To help them avoid capture, Clyde would change cars frequently (by stealing a new one) and changed license plates even more frequently. Clyde also studied maps and had an uncanny knowledge of every back road. This aided them numerous times when escaping from a close encounter with the law.

What the law did not realize (until W.D. Jones, a member of the Barrow Gang, told them once he was captured) was that Bonnie and Clyde made frequent trips back to Dallas, Texas to see their families. Bonnie had a very close relationship with her mother, whom she insisted on seeing every couple of months, no matter how much danger that put them in. Clyde also would visit frequently with his mother and with his favorite sister, Nell. Visits with family nearly got them killed on several occasions (the police had set up ambushes).

The Apartment With Buck and Blanche

Bonnie and Clyde had almost been on the run for a year when Clyde's brother Buck was released from Huntsville prison in March 1933. Although Bonnie and Clyde were being hunted by numerous law enforcement agencies (for they had by then committed several murders, robbed a number of banks, stolen numerous cars, and held up dozens of small grocery stores and gas stations), they decided to rent an apartment in Joplin, Missouri to have a reunion with Buck and Buck's wife, Blanche.

After two weeks of chatting, cooking, and playing cards, Clyde noticed two police cars pull up on April 13, 1933 and a shootout broke out. Blanche, terrified and losing her wits, ran out the front door while screaming.

Having killed one policeman and mortally wounding another, Bonnie, Clyde, Buck, and W.D. Jones made it to the garage, got into their car, and sped away. They picked up Blanche around the corner (she had still been running).

Although the police did not capture Bonnie and Clyde that day, they found a treasure trove of information left in the apartment. Most notably, they found rolls of undeveloped film, which, once developed, revealed the now-famous images of Bonnie and Clyde in various poses, holding guns. Also in the apartment was Bonnie's first poem, "The Story of Suicide Sal." The pictures, the poem, and their getaway, all made Bonnie and Clyde more famous.

Car Fire

Bonnie and Clyde continued driving, frequently changing cars, and trying to stay ahead of the law who were getting closer and closer to capturing them. Suddenly, in June 1933 near Wellington, Texas, they had an accident. As they were driving through Texas toward Oklahoma, Clyde realized too late that the bridge he was speeding toward had been closed for repairs. He swerved and the car went down an embankment. Clyde and W.D. Jones made it safely out of the car, but Bonnie remained trapped when the car caught on fire.

Clyde and W.D. could not free Bonnie by themselves; she escaped only with the aid of two local farmers who had stopped to help. Bonnie had been badly burned in the accident and she had a severe injury to one leg.

Being on the run meant no medical care. Bonnie's injuries were serious enough that her life was in danger. Clyde did the best he could to nurse Bonnie; he also enlisted the aid of Blanche and Billie (Bonnie's sister) as well. Bonnie did pull through, but her injuries added to the difficulty of being on the run.

Red Crown Tavern and Dexfield Park Ambushes

About a month after the accident, Bonnie and Clyde (plus Buck, Blanche, and W.D. Jones) checked into two cabins at the Red Crown Tavern near Platte City, Missouri. On the night of July 19, 1933, police, having been tipped off by local citizens, surrounded the cabins. This time, the police were better armed and better prepared than during the fight at the apartment in Joplin. At 11 p.m., a policeman banged on one of the cabin doors. Blanche replied, "Just a minute. Let me get dressed." That gave Clyde enough time to pick up his Browning Automatic Rifle and start shooting.

When the police shot back, it was a massive fusillade. While the others took cover, Buck kept shooting until he was shot in the head. Clyde then gathered everyone up, including Buck, and made a charge for the garage. Once in the car, Clyde and his gang made their escape, with Clyde driving and W.D. Jones firing a machine gun. As the Barrow Gang roared off into the night, the police kept shooting and managed to shoot out two of the car's tires and shattered one of the car's windows. The shattered glass severely damaged one of Blanche's eyes.

Clyde drove through the night and all the next day, only stopping to change bandages and to change tires. When they reached Dexter, Iowa, Clyde and everyone else in the car needed to rest. They stopped at the Dexfield Park recreation area.

Unbeknownst to Bonnie and Clyde and the gang, the police had been alerted to their presence at the campsite by a local farmer who had found bloodied bandages. The local police gathered over a hundred police, National Guardsmen, vigilantes, and local farmers and surrounded the Barrow Gang. On the morning of July 24, 1933, Bonnie noticed the policemen closing in and screamed. This alerted Clyde and W.D. Jones to pick up their guns and start shooting.

So completely outnumbered, it is amazing that any of the Barrow Gang survived the onslaught. Buck, unable to move far, kept shooting. Buck was hit several times while Blanche stayed by his side. Clyde hopped into one of their two cars but he was then shot in the arm and crashed the car into a tree. Bonnie, Clyde, and W.D. Jones ended up running and then swimming across a river. As soon as he could, Clyde stole another car from a farm and drove them away.

Buck died from his wounds a few days after the shootout. Blanche was captured while still at Buck's side. Clyde had been shot four times and Bonnie had been hit by numerous buckshot pellets. W.D. Jones had also received a head wound. After the shootout, W.D. Jones took off from the group, never to return.

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