Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was born in Rowena, Texas, on October 1, 1910. Parker was a good student in high school, but dropped out in her second year to marry Roy Thornton. In 1929, Roy was caught for robbery and sentenced to five years in prison. They never divorced.
Clyde Barrow was born on March 24, 1909 in Telico, Texas as the sixth of eight children to Henry and Cummie Barrow.
In January 1930, Bonnie and Clyde met at a mutual friend's house. The attraction was instantaneous. A few weeks after they met, Clyde was arrested for a burglary and sent to jail. He escaped by using a gun Bonnie had smuggled to him. He was recaptured and sent back to prison. He was paroled in February 1932, rejoined Bonnie, and resumed a life of crime.
Between 1932 and their deaths in 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were believed to have committed 13 murders and several robberies and burglaries. Because of numerous photos taken of them and by them, their reputation in pop culture took on a life of its own. Author-historian Jeff Guinn explains that it was the release of these very photos that put the outlaws on the media map and launched their legend: "John Dillinger had matinee-idol good looks and Pretty Boy Floyd had the best possible nickname, but the Joplin photos introduced new criminal superstars with the most titillating trademark of all - illicit sex. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were wild and young, and undoubtedly slept together. Without Bonnie, the media outside Texas might have dismissed Clyde as a gun-toting punk, if it ever considered him at all. With her sassy photographs, Bonnie supplied the sex-appeal, the oomph, that allowed the two of them to transcend the small-scale thefts and needless killings that actually comprised their criminal careers."
Their lives came to a violent end on May 23, 1934. It was learned that Bonnie and Clyde, with some of their gang members, had staged a party at Black Lake, Louisiana on the night of May 21, 1934 and were due to return to the area two days later. Before dawn on May 23, a posse composed of police officers from Louisiana and Texas, concealed themselves in bushes along the highway near Sailes, Louisiana. In the early daylight, Bonnie and Clyde appeared in an automobile and when they attempted to drive away, the officers opened fire. Bonnie and Clyde were killed instantly.