In the middle of the Great Depression, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker meet when Clyde tries to steal Bonnie's mother's car. Bonnie, who is bored by her job as a waitress, is intrigued with Clyde, and decides to take up with him and become his partner in crime. They do some holdups, but their amateur efforts, while exciting, are not very lucrative.
The duo's crime spree shifts into high gear once they hook up with a dim-witted gas station attendant, C.W. Moss. The three are joined by Clyde's brother, Buck and his wife, Blanche, a preacher's daughter. Soon a long-simmering feud between Bonnie and Blanche begins; the once-prim Blanche views Bonnie as a harpy corrupting her husband and brother-in-law, while Bonnie sees Blanche as an incompetent, shrill shrew.
Bonnie and Clyde turn from pulling small-time heists to robbing banks. Their exploits also become more violent. When C.W., the get-away driver, botches a bank robbery by parallel parking the car, Clyde shoots the bank manager in the face after he jumps onto the slow-moving car's running board. The gang is pursued by law enforcement, including Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who is captured and humiliated by the outlaws, then set free. After a raid kills Buck, injures Bonnie and Clyde, and leaves Blanche sightless and in police custody, Hamer tricks Blanche, whose eyes are bandaged, into revealing the name of C.W. Moss, known in the press only as an unnamed accomplice.
The Ranger locates Bonnie, Clyde and C.W. hiding at the house of C.W.'s father, who thinks Bonnie and Clyde -- and an elaborate tattoo -- have corrupted his son. He strikes a bargain with Hamer: in exchange for a lenient jail sentence for C.W., he helps set a trap for the outlaws. When Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed while stopped by the side of the road, the police riddle their bodies with bullets in a blood bath.