Thursday, July 19, 2012


7/20/1933 - A gun battle between the Barrow Gang (Clyde Barrow, Bonnie Parker, Buck Barrow, Blanche Barrow, and W.D. Jones) and a posse of thirteen takes place, culminating a series of outlaw stupidities that include:

*Hiding out on the outskirts of Kansas City, Missouri, while the area is still abuzz seeking the killers of four officers of the law and bank robber Frank "Jelly" Nash on 6/17.  The initial dumb, Buck is so upset with Clyde that the brothers are not talking to each other when they arrive in Platte City, Missouri.
*Unknowingly selecting a site within spitting distance of their beds that serves as a gathering place for local cops and members of the state highway patrol ... info bonding over cold beers, fast food, and music at the Red Crown Tavern, also a service station and grocery.

                                Red Crown Tavern with Tourist Court behind
*Paying the rental fee of $4.00 for two brick cabins of the Red Crown Tourist Court using change taken in a series of gas station robberies in Fort Dodge, Iowa, earlier in the day.

                                              The Red Crown Tourist Court

*Checking into the Red Crown Tourist Court as a party of three, but allowing the owner-operator of the motor court, N.D. Houser, to see five people enter the cabins.
*Letting Houser see the gang park their Ford V-8 in the attached garage "gangster style," facing out for a quick getaway.
*Blanche Barrow running errands in the area for two days in skintight riding breeches, jodhpurs, which draw attention and comments from the locals that will be remembered even 40 years later.
*Twice paying for meals for five with more silver and copper from their gas station conquests.
*Using a vehicle, that when Houser takes down its license plates for registration against the rooms rented, bears stolen tags from Oklahoma.
*Drawing attention that something not right might be going on by taping newspapers over the windows of both of the cabins ... a doubled-edged sword that also keeps the gang from seeing if danger is headed their way.
*Buying bandages and a list of medical supplies at the local drugstore for Bonnie's burn wounds from a car crash that took place in June that druggists throughout the Southwest are advised to let law enforcement know about if purchased.
*Clyde ignoring Blanche's warning that every person in the market across the street stopped talking when she walked in.

Firing positions readied and the garage blocked by a makeshift armored car (a regular car with extra steel plating), convinced that they have trapped a band of outlaws, armed with pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and metal bullet-proof shields, at around 1:00 in the morning a mix of state and local cops led by Missouri Highway Patrol Captain William Baxter and Platte County Sheriff Holt Coffey wake the occupants of the cabins.

                                                        Coffey & Baxter

"Sheriff ... open up!"  And indeed the Barrow Gang does open up, with Browning Automatic Rifles they have recently been stolen from the National Guard Armory in Enid, Oklahoma, blasting away at anything that moves.  Outgunned, the police are saved by the darkness of the night making it hard for the gang to bullseye their targets, the shields deflecting numerous deadly rounds, and just plain good luck, but they do take damage ... Sheriff Coffey is wounded in the neck, in the less than reliable armored car Jackson County officer George Highfill takes bullets to both knees, and officer Holt Coffey, Jr. is hit in the arm.  Advantage outlaws, and that advantage increases enough to allow them to escape when bullets set off the horn in the armored car which the posse interprets as a signal to cease fire, unwilling to risk further injuries, the wounded Highfill backs the armored car out of its blocking position, and a tear gas rocket misfires and sends its toxic fumes over the lawmen instead of the bandits it was intended to incapacitate.  Shooting all the while, with Clyde at the wheel and the gas pedal floored, the outlaw filled Ford V-8 explodes out of the garage, just misses hitting Sheriff Coffey, turns on to Highway 71 and vanishes into the night.  But it has not been a clean getaway, making his way to the car from his cabin, Buck Barrow is struck by a round from Captain Baxter's machine gun that enters the outlaw's left temple and exits his forehead, taking a fatal amount of brain matter with it, and his wife Blanche is blinded by glass splinters that find both of her eyes when the lawmen unloose a final volley into the windows of the gang's fleeing vehicle.

                                     Buck dying of head wound received at Platte City
                                                 Blanche days later in Iowa

And escaping with only the clothes on their backs and the weapons in their hands, the bandits are forced to leave behind food, medical supplies needed by Bonnie, and a major portion of their potent arsenal which includes six more stolen BARs, ammunition, and forty-seven Colt .45 automatic pistols!  Gone, but not forgotten by members of the law, the gang will next turn up in Iowa ... and another gun battle will take place. 


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