In Netflix's new movie The Highwaymen-which is inspired by true events-two former Texas Rangers set out to find and kill Bonnie and Clyde, the notorious duo who roamed the country committing crimes during the Great Depression. If you're not too familiar with the infamous pair, you might be wondering: How did Bonnie and Clyde die?
Bonnie and Clyde knew they were doomed. Before Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Champion Barrow met their gruesome fate on May 23, 1934, while they were still robbing their way around the middle of the country, Bonnie penned a poem with the concluding line, “It’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.”
So when they were shot down in a storm of police bullets-a sandwich still clutched in Bonnie’s hand-even they can’t have been too surprised. It was a predictable end to the story of a pair of rebels who went their own way. Like Cool Hand Luke and Easy Rider’s Captain America, they had to die for Law and Order to reassert its authority. That’s the mythology Bonnie and Clyde have become part of.
Of course, beneath the myth is the less-glamorous true story. Here are some of the facts about the real-life deaths of Bonnie and Clyde.
Where did Bonnie and Clyde die?
Six police officers-four from Texas, two from Louisiana-had set an ambush on a rural road in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Believing Bonnie and Clyde would meet up with one of the Barrow gang nearby, they’d hidden in the bushes, guns ready. The lawmen were just about to give up on the morning of May 23, 1934, when they heard Bonnie and Clyde’s Ford V8 approaching.
How many bullets were fired at Bonnie and Clyde's car?
The officers had cajoled one of the Barrow gang’s relatives into standing by the roadside pretending his truck had broken down. When Bonnie and Clyde stopped to help, one of the police opened fire, killing Clyde instantly. The car began to slowly roll forward as Bonnie screamed and the posse started shooting in earnest. Later, one of the men estimated they’d fired off 150 shots.
Did anyone try to arrest Bonnie and Clyde before they were killed?
Initially, the six officers claimed they’d simultaneously sprung from the bushes and yelled, “Halt!” Later accounts had one of the younger lawmen shooting without warning, with the others following his lead. Either way, the police knew that Bonnie and Clyde didn’t hesitate to shoot their way out of trouble, and had loaded up on guns accordingly. They were ready to kill, and Bonnie and Clyde never fired a shot.
How many times were Bonnie and Clyde shot?
It’s probable that Clyde, at least, never knew what hit him; the rifle shot to his head killed him instantly. Bonnie had time to scream before she was cut down, a sound that haunted the men long after. As the car drifted slowly forward, they kept shooting. It rolled to a stop and an officer approached, firing a final series of shots through the window into Bonnie. Officially, the coroner found 17 entrance wounds on Clyde and 26 on Bonnie. The bodies were so mangled that the funeral home had trouble embalming them. “When all was said and done,” one officer said later, “they weren’t nothing but a bunch of wet rags.”
Did people celebrate the death of Bonnie and Clyde?
As soon as the news got out, gawkers flocked to the death scene. Souvenir hunters set upon the nearby trees with pocket knives, hoping to dig bullets out of the trees. Locks of hair and parts of Bonnie’s dress were cut away. One man tried to cut off Clyde’s ear. (You can see footage of the aftermath here.)
What happened to Bonnie and Clyde’s car?
Police eventually towed the bullet-riven car to a nearby town, with the bodies still inside. That too became a spectacle; some 16,000, by later estimates, lurked around town hoping for a glimpse of the infamous pair. The car in which Bonnie and Clyde died is still viewable in the casino at Whiskey Pete's in Primm, Nevada.
What happened at their funerals?
The bodies of Bonnie and Clyde were shipped to Dallas, where their families made the mistake of allowing public viewings. Some 10,000 people swarmed around the funeral home for a peek at Clyde’s corpse; Bonnie’s mother estimated another 20,000 came to see her daughter’s body, though they were not as rowdy. The funerals were similarly overpacked, with Clyde’s pallbearers having trouble squeezing through the crowd to his gravesite.
Where are Bonnie and Clyde buried?
In the poem about their inevitable end, Bonnie hoped she and Clyde would be buried side by side. They weren’t, since Bonnie’s mother wouldn’t allow it. Instead, Bonnie was buried in Fishtrap Cemetery, then later moved to Dallas’s Crown Hill Memorial Park. Clyde’s grave is next to his brother in Western Heights Cemetery in Dallas. His chosen epitaph reads, “Gone but not forgotten.”
('You Might Also Like',)