Notorious Robbers and Gangs

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The Biography Channel Premiered Jan 01, 2009 Unknown

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  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Full Episode

    The real story of the gangsters immortalized in the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Viewers will be surprised to learn that the Sundance Kid was killed in the Bolivian gunfight, depicted in the movie, but Butch escaped.moreless
  • Bonnie & Clyde

    Full Episode

    She was a lonely waitress longing for excitement and romance. He was a volatile ex-con who vowed he would never go back to prison. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow found each other in the slums of Dallas and for two years they led a notorious gang on a murderous crime spree covering five states. Bonnie and Clyde were hotly pursued by hundreds of law enforcement officials and have been romanticized by the public for 60 years.moreless
  • Ma Barker: Crime Family Values

    Full Episode

    The legend of Kate "Ma" Barker began not with her birth - but her death. It's a story of a plump, matronly woman, thought to be the leader of one of the most notorious gangs of the 1930s - the Barker-Karpis gang. J. Edgar Hoover called Ma Barker "one of the most vicious, dangerous and resourceful criminal brains" of his era. The FBI chief claimed that Ma was instrumental in teaching her four sons a life of crime: from stealing - to kidnapping - to murder. Though her boys went on to be violent criminals, making the FBI's most wanted list - there was never any evidence that Ma committed any crimes herself, or planned the crimes that her sons went to prison for. Many historians believe it was Hoover who launched the legend of Ma Barker, after, they say, the elderly woman was mistakenly killed by FBI agents in a bloody gun battle.moreless
  • Pretty Boy Floyd: The People's Bandit

    Full Episode

    During the first two decades of the 20th century, Charley Floyd was no different than any other boy growing up in those early depression years. Raised on a humble cotton farm in southeastern Oklahoma, Charley farmed and made moonshine as generations of Floyds had done for years prior. However, while sweating in the blazing cotton fields with blistering fingers, this bright young energetic boy was dreaming of something a little better than growing up a moonshiner and small time tenant farmer. The bitter circumstances of the 1920s helped the young, restless Charley Floyd break the family cycle. There was a lot more money to be had by robbing the immoral and ruthless rich. Bank robbery appeared to be the best means of achieving this goal. As with many other Americans during the turbulent infancy of the new country, Charley believed there were only two types of thieves: those who robbed with a six-shooter and those who robbed with a fountain pen. The more banks that Charley robbed, the more he helped the helpless. There were an untold amount of farmers and sharecroppers that Charley bailed out of bankruptcy and farm foreclosure. By robbing banks and destroying mortgages, he catapulted himself into one of the most beloved, celebrated criminals in American history.moreless
  • John Dillinger: Public Enemy #1

    Full Episode

    Like most boys growing up in small towns, John was a bit mischievous in his youth, but he was also well-liked by the other boys and a good baseball player. After quitting school in 1920, John had a number of jobs and even joined the Navy, from which he quickly deserted. Soon after marrying a 16-year-old girl named Beryl Hovious, John got drunk with Ed Singleton, an older boy with a criminal record, and the two of them hit elderly grocer Frank Morgan over the head trying to rob him of his money. John's father, a deacon at the local church, told John that telling the truth is always best. Bad advice. He did--and the judge gave him an extremely harsh sentence--10 to 20 years in jail. Dillinger spent the next nine lonely years in prison, half at Indiana's Pendleton Reformatory and half at the State Prison in Michigan City--Indiana's "Big House". Here Dillinger was imprisoned with hardened and professional criminals. He became good frineds with bank robbers in particular, and they taught him everything they knew. Also during this time, his wife divorced him. The day he was finally released, the step-mother whom he had come to love died. John Dillinger was now nearly 30-years-old and embittered. Just weeks after his release from prison in May of 1933, and in the middle of the Depression, Dillinger began one of the most well-known bankrobbing sprees of all time. His well-planned getaways, ability to outrun and consistently embarrass the police and FBI, combined with his charisma and good looks made Dillinger the mythical figure he still is today. He was arrested twice and escaped prison in daring and improbable fashion--once even bluffing his way out of jail with a piece of wood carved to look like a gun. When he wasn't bluffing his way out of jail, he was shooting his way out of traps set by the cops. There were several such incidents. These escapades cemented his place in the headlines. Dillinger was great copy and sold tremendous numbers of newspapers. He became Amermoreless
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