Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Caught up in a youthful romance gone wrong, there’s arguably no female outlaw more infamous in the West than Bonnie Parker (1910-1934). Raised in Texas and married at fifteen to a high school sweetheart, Parker was soon separated when her husband went to jail for robbery. At the age of twenty, Parker met ex-con Clyde Barrow through a friend, and it was love at first sight. Two weeks after they met, Clyde was imprisoned for five counts of auto theft, and the smitten Parker smuggled a gun into jail to break him out. Thus began their two-year crime spree that lit up headlines across a Depression-worn country. Together with their gang, they committed over a hundred robberies, burglaries, and murders across the Southwest. In a police raid, photos were found of Parker posing with a cigar hanging out of her mouth and a gun at her hip, cementing her image as a cigar-smoking, heartless murderer, though she smoked only cigarettes, and multiple reports have suggested that Parker never once pulled the trigger. The nation was riveted by her image because the pair’s lawlessness also demonstrated her sexual liberation—Parker’s running around with Clyde while remaining legally married to another man was considered just as outrageous as the crimes themselves. She died in a blaze of police gunfire alongside Clyde in their now-iconic Ford during a high-speed chase.