Bonnie & Clyde were gunned down on a country road in Louisiana on this day in 1934, each of them dying from multiple armour-piercing rifle bullet wounds. They were 23 and 25 years old respectively, and their careers as public enemies had included a series of petty thefts and needless murders of private citizens and public officials.
Other public enemies of the time were more effective operators. John Dillinger, who was also infamous at this time, was extremely good looking, and held up major banks across the land, earning spectacular hauls for himself. Pretty Boy Floyd also robbed major banks and had a very cool sounding name.
Neither of these two earned the amount of press and hysteria that Bonnie & Clyde achieved, yet Bonnie & Clyde were minor criminals, holding up gas stations for $28 at a time. Their killings were senseless and at times accidental.
If Clyde Barrow’s gang had been just him and his brothers and friends, then the media coverage would have been a footnote in the mid-west locals.
Bonnie Parker made all the difference in the world. She was cute, sassy and she and Clyde weren’t married.
It was a story that didn’t die. It went national and eventually global as Bonnie & Clyde shot, robbed and murdered their way into the history books. Their spectacularly dramatic deaths ensured the story lived on for weeks longer and became folk legend.
Arthur Penn’s 1967 movie helped ensure that Bonnie & Clyde would be remembered for generations.