Weird History

A Timeline Of Bonnie And Clyde’s Spree Of Love And Crimes  

Setareh Janda
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The release of Netflix's The Highwaymen begs an important question: What is the true story of Bonnie and Clyde? Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow truly did live a fast and wild life on the wrong side of the law. A timeline of Bonnie and Clyde's spree offers a play-by-play of the critical events in the couple's short-lived lawbreaking career.

Bonnie and Clyde's spree occurred against the backdrop of the Great Depression. Both Texas natives, Bonnie and Clyde were close in age - Clyde was born in 1909 and Bonnie in 1910 - and united in circumstance, since both came from families that often struggled to make ends meet. Their attraction quickly turned into a relationship, no doubt heightened by their shared ambition for fortune and fame. Holding up stores and banks became a means for the pair to gain wealth and excitement in down-and-out America.

Their reckless run across the middle of the country - from Texas to Minnesota - made the pair infamous across the country. Given their good looks and brazen tactics, Bonnie and Clyde became romantic outlaws in the public eye - even as they left a bloody trail in their wake. Law enforcement was always a step behind the duo until authorities finally caught up with them on a quiet Louisiana highway in May of 1934. Bonnie and Clyde's fall by police ambush was just as legendary as their lives.

Though they had only known each other for a few years - having met in 1930 and passed in 1934 - Bonnie and Clyde's notorious escapades have ensured that their names will be forever linked.

January 1930: Bonnie And Clyde Meet
January 1930: Bonnie And... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list A Timeline Of Bonnie And Clyde’s Spree Of Love And Crimes
Photo: Jones/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow's relationship began when the two first met in early 1930. Nineteen-year-old Bonnie was married at the time, though she was estranged from her husband, who was serving time. This inconvenient fact did nothing to stifle her nascent romance with Clyde, however.

Though Clyde ended up in police custody shortly after the pair met, their feelings for one another were apparently strong enough to outlast his absence. He even made a ring for her while in the pen. 

February 1930: Clyde Is Locked Up And Bonnie Helps Him Escape
February 1930: Clyde Is ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list A Timeline Of Bonnie And Clyde’s Spree Of Love And Crimes
Photo:  Dallas (Tex.). Police Dept./Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

By the time he was 21, Clyde Barrow had committed a litany of misdeeds. A few weeks after meeting Bonnie, Clyde began serving a sentence at Eastham Prison Farm. Though Bonnie helped break him out - she smuggled in a side arm that Clyde used in his escape - he was quickly tracked down.

Clyde would remain locked up for nearly two more years until he was paroled in February 1932.

March 1932: The Barrow Gang Is Formed
March 1932: The Barrow G... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list A Timeline Of Bonnie And Clyde’s Spree Of Love And Crimes
Photo:  FBI/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Doing hard time did nothing to end Clyde Barrow's life of delinquency - if anything, he embraced it even more pointedly once he was released. He formed a loose band of ruffians that held up small stores, gas stations, and banks.

Members of the group came and went, but Bonnie was a constant presence. Though their focus may have been hold-ups, the crew was also allegedly responsible for a string of slayings in 1932. Their targets included both civilians and officers of the law.

April 19, 1932: Bonnie Is Taken Into Custody
April 19, 1932: Bonnie I... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list A Timeline Of Bonnie And Clyde’s Spree Of Love And Crimes
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The group's early exploits weren't always successful - Bonnie even ended up in the pen after attempting to hold up a Texas store. Bonnie wrote poetry to occupy her mind, and promptly returned to her infamous ways with Clyde when she was released after two months.