Bonnie and Clyde, there’s just something about this gun-toting, crime-loving pair of love birds that continues to intrigue. The 3-network, 2-night event that kicks off Sunday is just the latest example of the decades-long affair with this spunky Texas duo.
Over the years, crooners from Merle Haggard to Mel Torme have sung about them, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway offered a ’60s-chic spin on them, and in recent years, the famed La Jolla Playhouse staged an award-winning musical about them, entitled, aptly enough, Bonnie & Clyde.
But let’s get real. The real Bonnie Parker didn’t look like Faye Dunaway or Holliday Grainger, and Clyde Barrow didn’t look like Warren Beatty or Emile Hirsch. This duo did more than pose in chic photo stills with guns — they actually robbed banks … and killed people, a total of 12, during some of their bungled robberies. But we just can’t let this story go, thanks, in no small part, to the black-and-white images from the early 1930s showing Bonnie in a really cool-looking beret, as she points a gun in jest toward her fedora-wearing guy pal, Clyde. So sweet.
The Real Bonnie & Clyde: Start in Dallas
If you’re looking to get past the continued misty-eyed hype over this duo, here’s an idea: Take a Bonnie and Clyde tour through Dallas. Granted, you may still get a Robin Hood-esque spin on events from tour organizers, but you’ll also get a gritty look into Depression-era America. Just look to Red River historian Robin Cole-Jett, a Dallas-area history teacher at a local junior college, for the tour.
“Theirs is a fascinating story that reveals not just the ‘hard times’ of the Depression era,” says Cole-Jett, “but also the social and class differences in the economically and racially segregated city of Dallas in the 1920s and 1930s.” In fact, you may be surprised to learn how many landmarks still remain, adds Cole-Jett.
Eager for a preview? Here’s a roundup of some Bonnie and Clyde places to see, not only in Dallas, but nationwide.
Bonnie and Clyde Car (Las Vegas)
See the bullet-ridden car driven by Bonnie and Clyde at Whiskey Pete’s, roughly 45 minutes south of Las Vegas. On May 23, 1934, law officers killed Bonnie and Clyde in a roadblock ambush, piercing their car with more than 100 bullets.
Bonnie and Clyde Garage Apartment (Joplin, Missouri)
Bonnie and Clyde took their crime spree to Missouri. Here’s the apartment in Joplin, MO, where the Barrow gang (in addition to Bonnie and Clyde, the gang had 7 additional people) hid out after a series of robberies in Missouri and nearby states.
Ponder State Bank (Ponder, TX)
Legend has it that Bonnie and Clyde either robbed this bank in the northeastern Texas town of Ponder, or attempted to rob it. Either way, one thing’s for certain: They probably wouldn’t have minded robbing it.
Bonnie Parker’s Gravesite (Dallas)
Bonnie Parker’s grave at Crown Hill Cemetery in Dallas reads: “As the flowers are all made sweeter by the sunshine and the dew, so this old world is made brighter by the lives of folks like you.” No word on whether her victims shared that sentiment.
Bonnie’s Pistol (Huntsville, TX)
The Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, TX, is home to Bonnie and Clyde artifacts, such as a nickel-plated pistol found in their bullet-ridden car.
Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Site (Gibsland, LA)
This stone marker notes the ambush site, on the stretch of Louisiana Highway 154, south of Gibsland, LA, where Bonnie and Clyde were shot to death by a posse of 4 Texas officers.
Clyde Barrow’s Gravesite (Dallas)
Clyde’s grave in Dallas’s Western Heights Cemetery reads, “Gone but not forgotten.” Clyde chose those words.
Jail Where Bonnie Spent the Night (Kemp, TX)
Bonnie Parker spent the night in this 1-room jail, in Kemp, TX, in 1932; the city is roughly 1 hour southeast of Dallas.
Where Bonnie & Clyde Slept … Maybe (Decatur, TX)
Bonnie and Clyde may have spent a few nights in one of the cabins at the Texas Tourist Camp in Decatur, TX, roughly 60 miles northwest of Dallas.