The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship


Publication Title

Minnesota History

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2011


On May 19, 1933, the First State Bank of Okabena, Minnesota was robbed. For decades there remained two conflicting views as to the identity of the robbers. The popular belief has been that Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were responsible. The sober, official explanation holds that Tony, Mildred, and Floyd Strain were the culprits--after all, the Strains were arrested, tried, and convicted of the robbery. So who really did it? This article draws upon prison records, trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, law enforcement files, and interviews with eyewitnesses and descendants to settle this question once and for all. It not only identifies the actual perpetrators of the robbery, it exposes a police cover-up and puts to rest many long unresolved mysteries associated with the crime, including the identity of the gun-toting woman with the flaming red hair.


This article was published in the winter 2010/11 issue of Minnesota History, a magazine published by the Minnesota Historical Society. The article was originally published at