Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker captured the imagination of Depression era America.  Although their actual success at crime was a far cry from the myth, people were starving to be distracted from the dire reality of the dust bowl and economic devastation.

For about three years, 1931-1934, the “Barrow Gang” traveled Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri attempting to rob banks but more often small grocery stores or filling stations.  Clyde was blamed for murders he didn’t commit. Criminal masterminds they were not, but the newspapers built them up into larger-than-life characters; publishing photographs of the couple that had been found at an abandoned hideout.

The portrayal in the press of Bonnie and Clyde was sometimes at odds with the reality of their life on the road, especially for Bonnie Parker. She was present at 100 or more felonies during the two years that she was Barrow’s companion, although she was not the cigar-smoking, machine gun-wielding killer depicted in the newspapers, newsreels, and pulp detective magazines of the day.

In May 1934 Frank Hamer, a legendary Texas Ranger, assembled a well-armed posse around Gibsland, Louisiana on Louisiana SR 154, not far from US 80, and they put over a hundred slugs into their bodies, bringing an end to their short but exciting run.


He grew up a poor boy in Texas
A little smarter than the rest, and restless
He looked around and didn’t see no justice
The cards were stacked against a poor man
Told himself he’d not be poor again

She had honey golden hair and was so cute
Got away with anything she’d do
Loved the movies and said she’d be in one too
The dreams of a poor girl ain’t free
But nothin’ could dent her belief

He stole cars and robbed grocery stores
Then bigger crimes that could not be ignored
Killed a lawman, when they sent him down he swore
They’d never take him alive again
He’d die before he went back to the pen

When she met him she sure liked his flash
For a time they ran wild and fast
But even they knew it couldn’t last
A Texas Ranger was on their trail
Said he’d chase ‘em all the way to hell

Blamed for crimes they didn’t even commit
Magazines and newsreels reported it
Didn’t matter if the facts didn’t fit
That Ranger was closin’ in
There was just one way it could end

1934 saw widespread trouble
Folks started rooting for the fugitive couple
The Law staked ’em out with a lot of muscle
They never really had a chance
Those bullets sure made ’em dance

© 2019 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP). The songs and stories on the Highway 80 Stories website are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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f. d. leone


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