Terror On The Prairie: Bonnie & Clyde

by Grace Ann

Oklahoma’s history is colorful and filled with even more colorful characters. The ENN series “Terror on the Prairie” introduces you to the outlaws that made their mark on Oklahoma.  

Bonnie and Clyde are a pair of outlaws known around the world, but they also spent time committing crimes in Oklahoma. To understand their story you have to start at the beginning.

“They were boyfriend and girlfriend and they got into robbing and he was already a criminal and I think that excited her,” Michael Williams, the curator of the Oklahoma Territorial Museum in Guthrie, said.

Bonnie Parker was from Rowena, Texas and was already married to a man in prison for murder when she met Clyde Barrow. The two ran off together to start their own life of crime.

“I think the reason they got into crime is they ran out of options,” Williams said.

It was the Great Depression and, to some, crime seemed like easy money. However Bonnie and Clyde didn’t just rob banks and people. They left a trail of bodies in their wake.

While the couple became infamous, they were far from well known at the time their crime spree started. It wasn’t until 1933 when someone found pictures of them at a crime scene that the couple became household names. 

They were seen as a romantic outlaw couple and the public was both outraged and intrigued by the young lovers.

In their 18 months on the run they murdered 13 people.

One of those murders was a constable from Miami, Oklahoma. Bonnie and Clyde abducted and wounded the police chief of the town as well.

The law caught up with Bonnie and Clyde on May 23, 1934 after one of the longest and most colorful manhunts of the time, Bonnie and Clyde drove into an ambush. Officers opened fire on their car, shooting more than 150 bullets into the vehicle, killing the outlaw couple and putting an end to their reign of terror.

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