The Highwaymen (2019)


Two retired cops collecting their pensions get strapped for one more case.

The Highwaymen (2019)

The Highwaymen (2019)

The story of Bonnie and Clyde is usually portrayed as a glamorous and romantic couple on the run from bumbling cops.  They are seen as Robin Hood types, spreading their ill-gotten gains around to the poor denizens of Depression Era Mid-Westerners. 

click here for our today in history on Bonnie and Clyde

The truth is far from this romanticized version of the brutal killers.  Bonnie and Clyde often robbed small businesses and funeral homes when banks seemed too secure or well-guarded.  They killed numerous people including a total of 9 law enforcement officers in their two-year crime spree. 



The Highwaymen (2019) tells the story of the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde from the law enforcement perspective.  The film portrays two of the former Texas Rangers who located and eventually killed the deadly duo. 

Frank Hamer, played by Kevin Costner, was a recently retired Ranger who was brought back into the game to hunt down the pair.  The film shows him as conflicted, knowing the difficulty and seriousness of the task he is confronted with.  He eventually takes on the case and recruits his former co-worker, Maney Gualt, played by Woody Harrelson to assist in the manhunt. 


The two former lawmen disagree with the approach of the FBI and run afoul of the self-righteous Bureau.  Through old fashioned police work, they come up with a theory of Bonnie and Clyde’s travel plans.  As their investigation continues more cops are killed.  Hamer and Gault take the killings hard and are determined to put a stop to the murderous crime spree.  Assembling a team of investigators and an impressive arsenal that would impress any gun buff, the former Rangers ride out to track down their perps. 

The movie is a good look at old fashioned detective work.  Getting out in the field and conducting interviews, using some persuasion and a little muscle, they gain cooperation and intelligence.  Their careful analysis results in a plan.  Costner and Harrelson are great as the two lawmen, mixing some dark humor with the seriousness that comes with any investigation where cops are killed. 

Director John Lee Hancock ties the movie together with some great photography, costumes, cars, and truly captures the atmosphere of the post-1929 Great Depression.  A good soundtrack and a good buildup to the final showdown makes for great entertainment. 

The movie runs a little over two hours, which gives it time to capture the intricacies of the investigation while portraying the heartbreaking trauma of the victims of the murderous outlaws.   It is a great movie for the good guys and breaks the false narrative of the romantic outlaw.  It can be found on Netflix where it was released after a limited run in theatres.  So, pull up the Netflix app, borrow a code if you have to, and check out this movie where the good guys get their due. 


Thanks for following The Ops Desk and have a great weekend! 



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