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1933 Shootout in Dexfield Park with the Barrow Gang - Bonnie & Clyde

Since 1933, Dexter, Iowa's Dexfield Park has been known for  the shootout that occurred there with the Barrow Gang. At that time, the gang consisted of Clyde Barrow, his girlfriend Bonnie Parker, Clyde’s older brother Marvin “Buck” Barrow and his wife Blanche, and teenager W. D. Jones.

Bonnie and Clyde were together only two years, but between 1932 and 1934 they committed a dozen murders and a string of robberies.  Remarkably, Bonnie had been an A student in high school, and was married to someone else, while her sister-in-law, Blanche, Buck Barrow's wife, was a preacher’s daughter.

The Barrow gang hid out in Dexfield Park campground for five days in July of 1933, recuperating after a shoot-out in Missouri. Buck Barrow had a severe head wound. Every day Clyde would drive into Dexter where he bought meals, medicine, and even clothing.

Dexter was on White Pole Road, so it was not uncommon during this era to have travelers coming through town and strangers staying at Dexfield Park, but it was noticed that although most people headed their cars into parking places in Dexter, these visitors, who always came to town in pairs,  backed their Ford into parking spots and left the engine running.

One morning some local Girl Scouts who were also camping in Dexfield Park, took a long hike and came upon the Barrow Gang's campsite.   Later the girls learned they had waved at and greeted the Barrow Gang.

The Barrow Gang was discovered after someone found bloody bandages and alerted authorities.  A posse of about fifty officers, including Dexter’s lawman John Love and County Sheriff Clint Knee, surrounded the gang early July 24.  Bonnie, Clyde, and W.D. Jones escaped and then hiked to the John Vallie Feller farm where they stole a car.

For more information:

The Dexter Museum has artifacts, pictures and maps from Dexter’s brush with the notorious Barrow Gang.

John Neal Phillips.  Running With Bonnie and Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults. University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.  Preview Available on Google Books.