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In Search of Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana

SEE ALSO: IN SEARCH OF BONNIE AND CLYDE and IN SEARCH OF THE BONNIE AND CLYDE MOVIE

(Yes, I realize these places don't really qualify as "Dallas Sights" but they are associated with Bonnie and Clyde so...)

[Ambush Site] [Gibsland] [Arcadia]

On Wednesday, May 23, 1934, the two-year-long crime spree of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow came to a bloody end on a lonely Louisiana highway. That morning, six lawmen - Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Manny Gault, Dallas County deputy sheriffs Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn, and Bienville Parish law enforcement officers Prentiss Oakley and Henderson Jordan were hidden in the brush on the east side of Louisiana Highway 154 (also known as the Sailes Road or Ringgold Road), waiting for Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow to pass by on their way to their rural hideout - an abandoned farm several miles further south. In the middle or on the side of the road (sources vary in regard to this detail) a seemingly disabled logging truck was parked, with its right front wheel removed. The vehicle belonged to Ivy Methvin, father of Henry Methvin, a Barrow gang member whose rural home was situated nearby. (Sources also vary as to whether Methvin was a willing or unwilling participant.)

Bonnie and Clyde ambush site. Click image for larger view.
Click image for larger view.

At about 9:15 a.m., as Bonnie and Clyde approached from the north, in a stolen 1934 Ford Sedan, they apparently spotted Methvin's truck and began to slow down, probably to see if they could be of some help. Suddenly, the lawmen sprang from their positions. Whether someone shouted "Halt!" or not is uncertain. Regardless, before Bonnie and Clyde could reach for their guns, the officers opened fire with automatic weapons. As they sprayed the pair of outlaws and their vehicle with literally hundreds of bullets, the car lurched forward toward the left side of the road, where it came to a halt in a shallow ditch. In a matter or moments it was all over.

Afterward, with the bloody bodies of Bonnie and Clyde still sitting in the front seat, the car was towed through Gibsland, then on to nearby Arcadia, the seat of Bienville Parish. There, scores of curious townspeople tried to get a peek at both the bullet riddled automobile and the bodies of the outlaw lovers, before they were taken home to Dallas for burial.

Below are some scenes of the ambush site and the nearby towns of Gibsland and Arcadia, as they appeared on the afternoon of May 31, 2003 - just a little more than sixty-nine years since that fateful day in 1934.


AMBUSH SITE

Bonnie and Clyde ambush site marker
Granite Marker
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The ambush site lies on the west side of Louisiana Hwy. 154, just a few miles south of the small town of Gibsland, which is about 41 miles east of Shreveport, just off Interstate Hwy. 20.

A granite marker, erected in 1972 marks the spot. Unfortunately, souvenir hunters have chipped away at it so much over the years that some of the text is no longer readable. A more recently erected metal plaque also commemorates the incident.

Bonnie and Clyde ambush site
Looking slightly Northwest
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Bonnie and Clyde ambush site
Looking North
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Bonnie and Clyde ambush site
Looking South
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Bonnie and Clyde ambush site
Looking East
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Bonnie and Clyde ambush site
The New Plaque
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GIBSLAND

Gibsland
Old Elementary School
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Gibsland
Scene in Gibsland
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Gibsland
Scene in Gibsland
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Gibsland
Bonnie and Clyde Museum
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Gibsland
Bonnie and Clyde Souvenirs
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While Bonnie and Clyde's car was towed past the elementary school seen above left, the tow truck stopped momentarily and children ran out and jumped on the car's running board, to take a peek at the outlaw couple's bullet-riddled bodies.

In 1934, the center building in the center photo above was a cafe where, reportedly, an unsuspecting Bonnie and Clyde ate their last breakfast before driving off down Highway 154 toward their imminent demise.

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ARCADIA

Arcadia
Arcadia Scene
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Arcadia
Arcadia Scene
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Arcadia
Arcadia from cemetery hill
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Henderson Jordan grave
Henderson Jordan grave
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Prentiss Oakley grave
Prentiss Oakley grave
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The gap between the buildings in the first two photos above left is where the furniture store/mortuary once stood, where the bodies of Bonnie and Clyde were first taken followng the ambush on May 23, 1934. The building was there until the late 1990s when, after a tornado damaged it, it was condemned as unsafe and torn down.

The middle photo is a view, looking north, from the hill where Arcadia Cemetery is located. Here you will find the graves of two of the lawmen who helped ambush Bonnie and Clyde : Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan and Deputy Sheriff Prentiss Oakley.

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Sources:

All color photos on this page were taken by the author of this web site and may not be reproduced without permission.

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Copyright © 2003 by Steven Butler. All rights reserved.