Heart of Louisiana: Bonnie and Clyde Museum

They met in Texas in 1930. She was 19, he was 21. When Bonnie Parker met Clyde Barrow, she was married to a man in prison for murder. Clyde was soon jailed for burglary.

But his new girlfriend smuggled in a pistol and Barrow escaped. And Bonnie and Clyde launched a high profile crime spree across six states that left at least a dozen people, including 9 law officers, dead.

"Bonnie was basically a good girl. She just had one problem...bad taste in men," says Boots Hinton, owner of the Bonnie and Clyde Museum.
Boots Hinton learned about Bonnie and Clyde from his dad, Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Ted Hinton. The elder Hinton was part of a 6-man posse that tracked Bonnie and Clyde and ambushed and killed the couple along a rural Louisiana road.

Today, Boots Hinton owns and operates the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in the tiny north Louisiana town of Gibsland.

Back in the early 1930's, the building was home to Maw Canfields Café, a breakfast stop for Bonnie and Clyde on the day they died.

"Clyde gets the two sandwiches to go. They take off down the road. Bonnie has time to take two bites. Clyde drives 7 miles and met their maker. That was a darn short breakfast," Hinton says.

The posse spent two days and two nights hiding in the woods along this dirt road. They suspected that Clyde and Bonnie were headed to the home of Ivy Methvin, the father of a member of Barrow's gang. Here's where the story gets controversial. Some accounts claim that Methvin cut a deal to keep his son out of prison and flagged down Bonnie and Clyde at the ambush site. But Hinton tells a much different version of what happened when Methvin drove by the posse.

"They took him off there 75 feet behind the firing line and handcuffed him to a tree. Ted said the old man was not a willing participant," said Hinton.

The old man's truck was left partially blocking the roadway.

"Jacked the left front wheel up, took the front tire off and laid it down. Now they had a trap," says Hinton.

Bonnie and Clyde almost avoided this ambush. The lawmen who had been hiding in the woods were getting tired of waiting, and they had picked a time to call it quits. Fifteen minutes before they had decided to leave, they heard Clyde Barrow's car speeding down the road.

There's disagreement whether Bonnie and Clyde were commanded to surrender before the lawmen opened fire. Hinton says his dad told him the officers yelled "halt". A local deputy fired the first shots. That's when the entire posse began shooting rifles, shotguns and pistols, firing nearly ever bullet they had at the idling car.

"Ted said one thing ran through everyone of those officers mind simultaneously, instantaneously, this clown's gotten out of 11 traps. Is this number 12. And with that, everybody unladed. They were scared he was getting away again," claims Hinton.

Hinton's father also shot film minutes after the ambush which shows the ferocity of the gunfire.

"The car has in it 167 holes. Counting entrance and exit holes. Bonnie had 53 in her and Clyde had 51 in him. That's a lot of lead flying around. My dad jumped over the hood jerked the door open on Bonnie's side and she fell out and he caught her. And he told me son, she was breathing when I caught here. But by the time I gathered her up to put her back in the car, she wasn't, Hinton recalls.

Today, you'll find a stone marker along Louisiana Highway 154 south of Gibsland. It bears the scars of the public's fascination with the lawbreaking young lovers.

"Ted said it was a love story. He said it would put Romeo and Juliet to shame."

Not only was Deputy Ted Hinton one of the six lawmen who shot Bonnie and Clyde, he actually knew the couple. He and Clyde had previously work