Patty Hearst was just your average college aged white girl in 1974, attending a west coast school and getting into all sorts of hijinks involving revolting against her parents and their staunchly conservative belief system. Oh yeah, she was also the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, who had created the largest media business in the world in his time, which is probably why she got kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).
The SLA was a far left group of violent radicals which originally started as a small college group, entirely made up of middle class white kids, with the much less radical mission of tutoring black inmates. However, things kind of went off the rails when one of the inmates being tutored, a man named Donald DeFreeze, escaped prison, by literally just casually walking off, and took refuge with a few of his study buddies. DeFreeze then took control of the group, shifting it from an extracurricular to an urban guerrilla group/sex cult. This included the writing of a manifesto, training in firearms, and the usual wanton free love that goes along with such things. All of this might sound weird, but remember, it was the 1970's. The dozen or so members of the SLA's first strike for a racially equal communist utopia was the murder of Marcus Foster, the first black superintendent of the Oakland school district. Yes, it was all exactly as crazy as it sounds. Unfortunately the murder didn't go quite as well as expected and two members were arrested.
The SLA kidnapped Patty Hearst in February of 1974 with the hope of using her to negotiate the release of their imprisoned comrades. She was chosen because she lived nearby. Unfortunately they overestimated her importance so the negotiations got nowhere. Changing tactics, the SLA then demanded the Hearst family give $70 of free food to every needy person in California. However, given that this would have cost an estimated $400 million, an amount the Hearst family did not have, the idea was as well abandoned. As a sign of good faith the Hearst family did take out a loan of $2 million to give food to the needy in just the Bay Area, but this went bad when fights broke out at the distribution centers.
While all of these shenanigans were going on Patty was kept in a dark closet with just a flashlight and SLA reading material to keep herself entertained. After only about three or four weeks of such treatment she denounced her former life and joined the SLA as a full fledged member. She then participated in a bank robbery with the group, waving around an automatic rifle and screaming like a madwoman, which of course made the national news because holy shit. Patty then helped the group again, this time in a couple of carjackings in order for the group to flee south to Los Angeles. Unfortunately for the SLA, Los Angeles turned out to be a bad move. A shoplifting incident gone bad turned into Patty shooting up the front of a store with a machine gun. Tiring of such antics, a person who knew where the SLA was holing up alerted the police. Things went from bad to worse, ending with a two hour shootout which ended with a burnt down house and the death of six SLA members, including DeFreeze.
Deciding that Los Angeles wasn't all it was cracked up to be, the surviving members of the group fled back north to the Bay Area to lay low and try and recruit new members. However, after a year they tried to rob another bank during which a mother of four was shot. They then tried to bomb two police cars, but were too inept to make bombs that worked. Unable to find anyone to hide them, the group fell apart and the majority of its members, including Patty, were arrested in September of 1975. During the trial, Patty claimed she had been brainwashed, but not buying it the jury convicted her to a seven year sentence. However, this sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and she received a full pardon from President Bill Clinton in 2001. After her release Patty married a policeman and became prominent in the East Coast society and charitable fundraising scene.