exually abused as a young girl, Kate "Ma" Barker (Shelley Winters) grows into a violently powerful woman by the 1930s. She lovingly dominates her grown sons, and grooms them into a pack of tough crooks. The boys include the cruel Herman (Don Stroud), who still shares a bed with Ma; Fred (Robert Walden), an ex-con who fell in love with a fellow prisoner; and Lloyd (Robert De Niro), who gets high on whatever's handy. Together they form a deadly, bizarre family of Depression-era bandits.

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