This is about Charles Starkweather, who was 19 when he went on a murder spree in 1958. Along with his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate, he killed 10 people in Nebraska and brought out fears that rebellious movies and rock music were creating a new breed of offenders. Springsteen considered "Starkweather" as the title.
The 1973 movie Badlands, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, was inspired by Starkweather's story. After seeing a poster for the movie in a theater lobby .