Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at the Primm Valley Resort and Casino
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
     
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Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at Primm Valley Resort and Casino photograph by Jeffrey Sward Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at Primm Valley Resort and Casino photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at Primm Valley Resort and Casino photograph by Jeffrey Sward Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at Primm Valley Resort and Casino photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at Primm Valley Resort and Casino photograph by Jeffrey Sward Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at Primm Valley Resort and Casino photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts at Primm Valley Resort and Casino photograph by Jeffrey Sward  
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Bonnie Parker (October 1, 1910 - May 23, 1934)
Clyde Chestnut Barrow aka Clyde Champion Barrow (March 24, 1909 - May 23, 1934)

 

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow collaborated on nationwide crime spree from 1932 until their deaths in 1934. Bonnie met Clyde in West Dallas, Texas in January 1930 and the pair combined to commit 13 murders, numerous kidnappings, and several burglaries and robberies. The FBI and many local law enforcement agencies engaged in one of the largest manhunts in United States history.

Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed instantly by a posse of lawmen led by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer on May 23, 1934. The location of the ambush was three miles north of Sailes, eight miles south of Gibsland, on Highway 154 near the junction of Highway 793, north of Brushy Creek, Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Bonnie was shot 23 times and Clyde was shot 25 times. The posse used Browning Automatic Rifles (BAR) and other weapons. The BAR is a very powerful weapon. Some bullets went completely through one car door and still dented the opposite car door. A total of 167 bullets were fired.

Bonnie and Clyde have captured the imagination of every subsequent generation. Their lasting appeal is something of a mystery. Some factors might include:

  • Their crime spree included several bank robberies at the height of the Great Depression. Banks were extremely unpopular in that era because of frequent foreclosures and bank failures.
  • Their nomadic nature.
  • Rugged individualism.
  • David and Goliath.
  • Romeo and Juliet.
  • Rooting for the underdog.

Read the history of the FBI Bonnie and Clyde case.

The car in which Bonnie and Clyde were killed was a 1934 Ford V8. The car was stolen from the driveway of Jesse and Ruth Warren in Topeka, Kansas. After the shoot out, the Ford V8 was returned to the Warrens. Later the car was sold for $3,000 and exhibited at state fairs and carnivals. Eventually the death car was obtained for $250,000 by the Primm Valley Resort and Casino.

The exact quantities of weapons found in Bonnie and Clyde's 1934 Ford V8 death car are a matter of some debate. The following is a summary of the lists of weapons reportedly found in the 1934 Ford V8:

  • Three 30-caliber Browning automatic rifles (BARs) (definite)
  • One ten-gauge sawed-off shotgun (definite)
  • One twenty-gauge sawed-off shotgun (definite)
  • Six or seven Colt 45-caliber automatic pistols (definite)
  • One Colt 32-caliber automatic pistol (probably)
  • One Colt 38-caliber revolver or pistol (probably)
  • One Colt 45-caliber revolver (probably)
  • 2000-3000 rounds of ammunition (definite)
  • The most heinous weapon of all: one saxophone (definite)

Clyde is known for his letter to Henry Ford praising the merits of the Ford V8. The complete text of the letter from Clyde Barrow to Henry Ford appears below.

Bonnie is known for her autobiographical poetry. Two poems by Bonnie Parker appear below.

An interesting history of Bonnie and Clyde is found on the Court TV Web Site.

An excellent collection of contemporary photographs are available on Frank R. Ballinger's Bonnie & Clyde Hideout.

A collection of Bonnie and Clyde artifacts is on display at the Primm Valley Resort and Casino, in Primm Valley, Nevada. Primm Valley is just north of the California border on the Interstate 15. The display is located in a foyer between two large casinos. It is necessary to walk through miles of casino to reach the display. Artifacts on display include:

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Exact text of letter from Clyde Barrow to Henry Ford

[Stamp begin] Henry Ford RECEIVED APR 13 1934 Secretary's Office [Stamp end]

Tulsa Okla
10th April
Mr. Henry Ford
Detroit Mich

Dear Sir: -

While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got every other car skinned and even if my business hasen't been strictly legal it don't hurt any thing to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8 -

Yours truly,
Clyde Champion Barrow

 

     

The Story of Bonnie and Clyde (The Trail's End)
By Bonnie Parker


You've read the story of Jesse James
Of how he lived and died
If you're still in need,
Of something to read
Here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang
I'm sure you all have read
How they rob and steal,
And those who squeal
Are usually found dying or dead.

There's lots of untruths to these write-ups
They're not as ruthless as that
Their nature is raw,
They hate all the law
The stool pigeons, spotters and rats.

They call them cold-blooded killers
They say they are heartless and mean
But I say this with pride,
That I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.

But the laws fooled around, kept taking him down,
And locking him up in a cell
Till he said to me,
"I'll never be free,
So I'll meet a few of them in hell"

The road was so dimly lighted
there were no highway signs to guide
But they made up their minds,
If all roads were blind
They wouldn't give up till they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer
Sometimes you can hardly see
But it's fight man to man,
And do all you can
For they know they can never be free.

From heartbreak some people have suffered
From weariness some people have died
But take it all in all,
Our troubles are small
Till we get like Bonnie and Clyde.

If a policeman is killed in Dallas
And they have no clue or guide
If they can't find a fiend,
They just wipe their slate clean
And hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.

There's two crimes committed in America
Not accredited to the Barrow mob
They had no hand,
In the kidnap demand
Nor the Kansas City Depot job.

A newsboy once said to his buddy
"I wish old Clyde would get jumped
In these awful hard times,
We'd make a few dimes
If five or six cops would get bumped."

The police haven't got the report yet
But Clyde called me up today
He said,"Don't start any fights,
We aren't working nights
We're joining the NRA."

From Irving to West Dallas viaduct
Is known as the Great Divide
Where the women are kin,
And the men are men
And they won't stool on Bonnie and Clyde.

If they try to act like citizens
And rent them a nice little flat
About the third night,
They're invited to fight
By a sub-gun's rat-tat-tat.

They don't think they're too tough or desperate
They know that the law always wins
They've been shot at before,
But they do not ignore
That death is the wages of sin.

Some day they'll go down together
And they'll bury them side by side
To few it'll be grief,
To the law a relief
But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.

The Story of Suicide Sal
by Bonnie Parker

We each of us have a good alibi
For being down here in the joint
But few of them really are justified
If you get right down to the point.

You've heard of a woman's glory
Being spent on a downright cur
Still you can't always judge the story
As true, being told by her.

As long as I've stayed on this island
And heard confidence tales" from each gal
Only one seemed interesting and truthful-
The story of "Suicide Sal".

Now Sal was a gal of rare beauty,
Though her features were coarse and tough;
She never once faltered from duty
To play on the up and up.

Sal told me this tale on the evening
Before she was turned out free
And I'll do my best to relate it
Just as she told it to me:

I was born on a ranch in Wyoming;
Not treated like Helen of Troy,
I was taught that rods were rulers
And ranked as a greasy cowboy.

Then I left my old home for the city
To play in its mad dizzy whirl,
Not knowing how little of pity
It holds for a country girl.

There I fell for the line of a henchman
A professional killer from Chi
I couldn't help loving him madly,
For him even I would die.

One year we were desperately happy
Our ill gotten gains we spent free,
I was taught the ways of the underworld
Jack was just like a god to me.

I got on the F.B.A. payroll
To get the inside lay of the job
The bank was turning big money!
It looked like a cinch for the mob.

Eighty grand without even a rumble-
Jack was last with the loot in the door,
When the teller dead-aimed a revolver
From where they forced him to lie on the floor.

I knew I had only a moment-
He would surely get Jack as he ran,
So I staged a big fade out beside him
And knocked the forty-five out of his hand.

They rapped me down big at the station,
And informed me that I'd get the blame
For the dramatic stunt pulled on the teller
Looked to them, too much like a game.

The police called it a frame-up
Said it was an inside job
But I steadily denied any knowledge
Or dealings with underworld mobs.

The gang hired a couple of lawyers,
The best fixers in any mans town,
But it takes more than lawyers and money
When Uncle Sam starts shaking you down.

I was charged as a scion of gangland
And tried for my wages of sin,
The dirty dozen found me guilty-
From five to fifty years in the pen.

I took the rap like good people,
And never one squawk did I make
Jack dropped himself on the promise
That we make a sensational break.

Well, to shorten a sad lengthy story,
Five years have gone over my head
Without even so much as a letter-
At first I thought he was dead.

But not long ago I discovered;
From a gal in the joint named Lyle,
That Jack and his moll had got over
And were living in true gangster style.

If he had returned to me sometime,
Though he hadn't a cent to give
I'd forget all the hell that he's caused me,
And love him as long as I lived.

But there's no chance of his ever coming,
For he and his moll have no fears
But that I will die in this prison,
Or flatten this fifty years.

Tomorrow I'll be on the outside
And I'll drop myself on it today,
I'll bump 'em if they give me the hotsquat
On this island out here in the bay...


The iron doors swung wide next morning
For a gruesome woman of waste,
Who at last had a chance to fix it
Murder showed in her cynical face.

Not long ago I read in the paper
That a gal on the East Side got hot
And when the smoke finally retreated,
Two of gangdom were found on the spot.

It related the colorful story
Of a jilted gangster gal
Two days later, a sub-gun ended
The story of "Suicide Sal".

 
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