Red Oak is located in Ellis County on I-35 twenty miles south of the Dallas, Texas metropolitan area.
Red Oak was incorporated in 1949. The population was 350 in 1950 and 1,882 in 1980.
In 1967 Red Oak was used as the site for three days of filming for the motion picture Bonnie and Clyde. A local woman, Mrs. Mabel Cavitt, made a brief appearance as Bonnie Parker's mother.
In 1987 Red Oak had an estimated 2,425 residents, most of whom were commuters to Dallas or Fort Worth. In 1990 the population was 3,124.