Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Highwaymen


I really, really loved the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, but I didn’t believe a minute of it. It was pure fiction, from beginning to end. These were not nice people, there was no romance about them. This movie sets the record straight and shows them for the despicable scum thugs they were. America idolized them, and it’s hard for me to understand why. Desperate for heroes, I guess. These heroes killed at least nine police officers, some of them execution-style as they lay on the ground bleeding and pleading. Bonnie was probably the most psychopathic, but Clyde was no prize, either.

Here Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner are aging Texas Rangers brought out of retirement by Governor “Ma” Ferguson, (Kathy Bates) to hunt the fuckers down and, making no bones about it, shoot to kill. Which they did. Both Costner and Harrelson do a good job here. It’s a pretty good film, worth seeing.

We see some of the celebrity hysteria surrounding them when the “death car” is towed through town, riddled like a piece of Swiss cheese, with the bodies still inside, also pretty torn up. People in the crowd fight each other for a piece of bloody clothing or other memento.

That didn’t actually happen. It was even worse. The fine citizens of Louisiana actually went out to the site of the ambush and started looting there. One man tried to cut off Clyde’s trigger finger.

I remember that the Bonnie and Clyde Death Car!!! used to make the rounds of drive-in movies in the South when I was young. I never went to see it.

Ma Ferguson was a genuinely odd character. She was elected Governor after her husband, Pa Ferguson, was impeached, convicted, and prohibited from holding political office for life. So Ma ran, under the slogans “Two For the Price of One,” and “Me for Ma, and I Ain’t Got a Durned Thing Against Pa.” That’s Texas for you. Every election used to have massive turnouts from local graveyards, and they all voted Democrat.