Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) and Clyde Chestnut Barrow (March 24, 1909 - May 23, 1934) were American criminals who traveled the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression, known for their bank robberies—although they preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the Public Enemy Era between 1931 and 1934, and they are believed to have killed at least nine police officers and several civilians. They were killed in May 1934 during an ambush by law officers near Gibsland, Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
The portrayal in the press of Bonnie and Clyde was sometimes at odds with the reality of their life on the road, especially for Bonnie Parker. She was present at 100 or more felonies during the two years that she was Barrows companion, although she was not the cigar-smoking, machine gun-wielding killer depicted in the newspapers, newsreels, and pulp detective magazines of the day. Nonetheless, numerous police accounts detail her attempts to murder police officers (although gang member W. D. Jones contradicted them at trial). The picture of Parker smoking a cigar came from an undeveloped roll of negatives that police found at an abandoned hideout, and the snapshot was published nationwide. Parker did chain smoke Camel cigarettes, although she never smoked cigars. According to historian Jeff Guinn, the photos found at the hideout resulted in Parkers glamorization and the creation of myths about the gang.
Arthur Penns 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway revived interest in the criminals and glamorized them with a romantic aura.