In Cold Blood (1967)

The 1967 film “In Cold Blood,” based on the classic “non-fiction novel” of the same name by Truman Capote, was filmed primarily around Kansas, with some additional scenes shot in Missouri, Nevada, California and Colorado. Published one year after the book, the filmmakers strove for authenticity by shooting at quite a few of the locations where the crimes actually happened.

The book tells the true story of the Clutter family, Herb, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon, who were murdered in the night by a pair of men they had never met before, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith. While incarcerated in prison, Dick Hickock caught word from a fellow prisoner of the Clutter farm, where the owner, Herb Clutter, supposedly kept a safe filled with large amounts of cash in the home. Unbeknownst to Hickock and his co-conspirator, Perry Smith, this information was false. The pair proceeded with their home invasion plans and tragically murdered the entire family in the morning hours of November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. Author Truman Capote became interested in the story, traveled to Holcomb and began writing, which continued for years until the completion of the book.

For the film adaptation, director Richard Brooks was able to film scenes at the actual former Clutter house in Holcomb. The home sits tucked away along an isolated, unpaved road, where no neighbors heard the gun shots inside on the night of the crimes. The home still looks mostly the same as it did back in 1959. The path up to the home is private and when the surrounding land is harvested and barren, the house looks particularly isolated.

LOCATION: 611 Oak Ave, Holcomb, KS 67851

Here is the long, tree-lined path up to the home, where Dick and Perry, played in the film by Scott Wilson and Robert Blake, drove up in the dead of night to perpetrate their crimes. Oak Road remains paved and open to the public until about this point, before it becomes private.

Upon arrival, if you weren’t paying attention and didn’t know beforehand, you might not even realize the path is private. There is only this small, hand painted sign, noting it as such. This is located at the same spot as the above shot, on the left hand side.

You can in fact see the home from several of the surrounding roads, such as S West St, but the views are all from afar.

There are several other locations that are open to the public, which remain surprisingly unchanged decades later. Dick and Perry are seen driving throughout quite a bit of the film, with Perry stopping at this gas station in Garden City. The building still looks very similar to how it appeared in the film, with the same brick work. Perry walks along the side of the building, to the restroom on the right.

LOCATION: 407 E Kansas Ave, Garden City, KS 67846

Hartman’s Cafe appears a couple times in the film, which is located just down the road from the Clutter house.

LOCATION: 305 N Main St, Holcomb, KS 67851

While a different restaurant now occupies the space, it still operates as a dining establishment.

The courthouse where Dick and Perry stand trial is the Finney County Courthouse, where the real trial took place after their capture.

LOCATION: 425 N 8th St Garden City, KS 67846

After the murders are depicted in the film, the bodies are discovered and the coroner is seen driving to the crime scene from this intersection, which remains mostly unchanged.

LOCATION: Near 102 N Main St, Garden City, KS 67846

Much like reading the book or watching the film, it is a sobering experience to visit what are, in many instances, the real locations from one of the most famous true crime stories in American history. Holcomb is not your typical travel destination city, it is a small town that requires going out of your way to visit, but in many ways, you’ve likely visited towns just like it many times before.

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