1. Education

Video:Profile of Bonnie and Clyde

with Michael Sanchez

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are two infamous Texas bank robbers who earned notoriety as the Joplin Gang in the early 1900s. Learn about these two oft-romanticized criminals in this history video from About.com.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Education Videos
  • 20th Century History Videos

Transcript:Profile of Bonnie and Clyde

Today we'll be learning about great depression era outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie and Clyde's Early Life

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were both born in Texas in the early 1900's. Parker was one of three children and when her father died in 1914 her mother worked as a seamstress to support them. Always a good student, Parker took great pleasure in expressing herself through writing and poetry, a pastime that carried on into her adulthood.

Clyde Barrow was raised in a poor farming family and took to a life of crime early with his first arrest at the age of 16. Taking to armed robbery and car theft, Barrow was sentenced to Eastham Prison Farm in April of 1930. It was at Eastham that Barrow committed his first murder, beating another inmate to death for sexually assaulting him.

Bonnie and Clyde Get Involved with Crime

Parker and Barrow first met in January 1930, shortly before his sentencing to Eastham and upon his parole in 1932 reunited. With the help of a rotating crew of family and friends they formed the Barrow Gang and took to robbing stores, gas stations and the occasional bank. In August 1932, Barrow opened fire on two police officers outside a dance in Stringtown, Oklahoma. During the attack he shot the sheriff, wounding him, and killed a deputy, marking the first in a string of nine dead lawmen attributed to the Barrow gang. 

Bonnie and Clyde Get Famous

In April 1933, five Joplin, Missouri police officers, looking for suspected bootleggers, stumbled on the hideout of the Barrow Gang. A shootout followed, killing an officer and wounding another as well as one member of the gang. The criminals escaped leaving behind guns and many personal belongings including a camera and several rolls of film.

The film was developed and published by The Joplin Globe, becoming front-page news across the nation. The now legendary photos, depicting the gang clowning around as well as Parker sassily posing with cigar in mouth and gun in hand titillated the public and contributed to their celebrity status.

The End of Bonnie and Clyde

In January 1934, Barrow organized a breakout at Eastham Prison Farm aiding in the escape of several associates. This led the state and federal governments to hire former Texas Ranger Captain Frank Hamer to hunt down the Barrow gang once and for all. In May 1934, after studying the gang's movements for months, Hamer planned an ambush on a back road in rural Louisiana where Parker and Barrow were expected to travel. On the morning of the 23rd, after two days of waiting, Hamer and his posse saw Parker and Barrow coming down the road in a stolen car. The lawmen opened fire on the couple, killing them both and putting an end to their now-legendary crime spree.

Thanks for watching...

About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.