It was during the Great Depression that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went on their two-year crime spree (1932-1934). The general attitude in the country was against government and Bonnie and Clyde used that to their advantage. With an image closer to Robin Hood rather than mass murderers, Bonnie and Clyde captured the imagination of the nation.
In some ways it was easy to romanticize Bonnie and Clyde. They were a young couple in love who were out on the open road, running from the "big, bad law" who were "out to get them." Clyde's impressive driving skill got the gang out of many close calls, while Bonnie's poetry won the hearts of many. Although Bonnie and Clyde had killed people, they were equally known for kidnapping policemen who had caught up to them and then driving them around for hours only to release them, unharmed, hundreds of miles away. The two seemed like they were on an adventure, having fun while easily side-stepping the law.
As with any image, the truth behind Bonnie and Clyde was far from their portrayal in the newspapers. Bonnie and Clyde were responsible for 13 murders, some of whom were innocent people, killed during one of Clyde's many bungled robberies. Bonnie and Clyde lived out of their car, stealing new cars as often as possible, and lived off the money they stole from small grocery stores and gas stations. Sometimes Bonnie and Clyde would rob a bank, but they never managed to walk away with very much money. Bonnie and Clyde were desperate criminals, constantly fearing what they were sure was to come -- dying in a hail of bullets from a police ambush.