From 1930 to 1934, the city of Texas was plagued by the crimes of Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, Clyde Chestnut Barrow and their small group of criminal associates, known as the Barrow Gang.
By 1934 – which would ultimately be the year of their death, Bonnie and Clyde were believed to have committed 13 murders as well as over a dozen bank robberies and several burglaries.
Now, the story of how they were killed at the hands of two Texas rangers is the subject of Netflix’s film The Highwaymen.
Starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, the new film follows Frank Hamer and Maney Gault’s operation to end Bonnie and Clyde’s long running crime spree.
Watch the trailer for Netflix’s The Highwaymen here. Post continues below…
Whether you’ve watched the film or not, this is the true story behind the operation which saw the end of one of America’s most popularised crime couples.
Who were Frank Hamer and Maney Gault?
After prison officer Major Joe Crowson died when the Barrow Gang orchestrated the escape of multiple criminals in the January 1934 Eastham Breakout, the Texan authorities vowed to capture and kill those involved.
Initially there was apprehension among some officials who were against killing a woman, which was a major taboo at the time among law enforcement, however Texas’ first female governor, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson and Texas Department of Corrections chief Lee Simmons eventually persuaded Hamer to take the job as a contract Highway Patrol officer. To form his team, Hamer brought on Gault and Bob Alcorn, Ted Hinton, Prentiss Oakley and Henderson Jordan.
Before being commissioned to hunt down Bonnie and Clyde, Hamer and Gault were already acquaintances. Years before reuniting to take down the Barrow Gang, the pair were neighbours in the Riverside area of Austin.
Although very few details of Hamer and Gault’s operation exist, it’s believed the pair travelled for up to 500 miles a day while living off a basic diet of crackers and sardines.
Throughout the operation, the two rangers stalked Bonnie and Clyde for 102 days across 15 states until they finally came face to face with the infamous couple.
Although Hamer and Gault were lauded as heroes among Texans following the takedown of Bonnie and Clyde, they turned down dozens of movie and book offers, choosing to avoid the fame that Bonnie and Clyde had revelled in.
“They made a pact that none of them would talk after that because killing a woman was a hard thing to deal with,” Kevin Costner, who played Hamer in the film, told Fandango.