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Read & Watch Series: 1959 Murder of the Clutter Family in Olathe, Kansas

Updated on August 21, 2016

Richard “Dick” Eugene Hickock and Perry Smith had developed quite the bond while serving time in a Kansas prison. Prior to their release, they conspired with one another to rob a wealthy rancher about which another inmate, Floyd Wells, had told them:

The Clutter family
The Clutter family | Source

The wealthy rancher was Herb Clutter in Olathe, Kansas.

It will probably never be known just exactly what happened in the Clutter home that November night in 1959, but according to Smith’s account as told to Capote, he was solely responsible for the murders after becoming enraged at Hickock, who wanted to rape Nancy Clutter.

When all was said and done, all four members of the Clutter family were dead and the killers never found their treasure.

When the Clutters were discovered brutally murdered inside their home, police immediately begin asking, "Who could have done such a horrible thing?'

Soon enough they would have their answer - straight from the killers' mouths.

The Book: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood, one of the many works of famed author Truman Capote, was a book most definitely ahead of its time. Its extraordinary success opened the door to true crime genre of today.

Readers are left with a sense Capote is sympathetic to Hickock and especially Smith, the latter who seemed to live an especially troubled childhood. Personally, I wasn’t swayed into sympathy, yet I’ve heard from many others who were.

No doubt Capote, who seems to have lived a less-than-idyllic childhood and lived an open homosexual lifestyle as an adult (long before it was acceptable), felt a special bond with Smith.

As a matter of fact, it has long been rumored that Capote and Smith developed a more intimate relationship, as much as one being in prison would allow, during the time of Capote’s research for the book.

Classified by many as the best true crime book even today, In Cold Blood is 343 pages of fascinating storytelling of two criminals who gained outstanding notoriety across America in a single November night.

The Movie: In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood stars Robert Blake as Perry Smith, Scott Wilson as Richard "Dick" Hickock, and John Forsythe as Alvin Dewey. The film follows the trail of Smith and Hickock; as they break into the home of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, kill all four members of the family who are present, go on the run, and are found and caught by the police, tried for the murders, and eventually executed.

Released in 1967, the movie is entirely in black and white

© 2016 Kim Bryan

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