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Charles Smith

Charles Smith is a major character featured in Red Dead Redemption 2.



A relatively recent recruit to the gang, Charles is quiet and reserved but extremely competent in everything he does and virtually unbeatable in a fight. A decent, honest man who also happens to be deadly.
Description by Rockstar Games

Biography in RDR 2 (click to enlarge)

An infant Charles with his mother and father

Born to an African American father and a Native American mother, Smith became one of the most recent additions to the Van der Linde gang, joining roughly 6-7 months before the events of the game. He states that he and his father lived with his mother’s tribe until the US Army drove them away. His mother was captured by soldiers a couple years later and was never seen again, whilst his father fell into a depression and became an alcoholic. At the age of 13, Charles ran away and wandered the country alone. A veteran survivalist, Charles joined the Van der Linde gang while being in the Grizzlies, at some point in late 1898.

Events of Red Dead Redemption 2

Colter Chapter

After the failed ferry robbery in Blackwater, Charles regroups with the gang in the mountains after finding their horses and lends his horse, Taima, to Arthur, while giving Dutch his own. Although Charles says that he can stay outside and do more, Dutch tells him to go inside with the others and rest his burnt hand, an injury he likely sustained during the robbery. A few days later, Arthur talks to Pearson about food, who informs them that they won't be able to live on their current supplies. Charles offers to take Arthur hunting for deer in the wilderness, where Charles teaches Arthur how to use the bow, due to his hand injury. Arthur successfully hunts down two deer, allowing him and Charles to bring them back to Pearson. Charles is also put in charge of the horses and keeping watch over captured O'Driscoll member Kieran Duffy. He later takes part in the robbery of the Leviticus Cornwall train.

On the way down from the mountains, Charles, Arthur Morgan and Hosea Matthews stay behind from the main caravan to fix the wagon. During the repair, Hosea points out the Native Americans atop a nearby cliff and proceeds to tell Arthur and Charles their history. Following up on the discussion, Charles states that he doesn't know if he even has a tribe and ran away at the age of thirteen when his father became an alcoholic, and wandered the country before eventually falling in with the gang.

Horseshoe Overlook Chapter

Charles is present in the Valentine saloon when the fight breaks out. He can be heard cheering Arthur during his fight against Tommy. Later, he is seen with Javier overlooking Blackwater in the hopes of freeing Sean MacGuire. Charles proceeds to get a vantage point for when they attack the bounty hunters, while Arthur, Javier, and Josiah Trelawny attack head-on. They then rendezvous at the enemy camp and free Sean.

Arthur can go buffalo hunting with Charles at some point during this chapter. The two kill a buffalo, before Charles decides that they should investigate a site being circled by vultures nearby. They find a dead, rotting bison, angering Charles. They find more of them, and eventually come across two poachers. Without telling Charles why they killed the bison, Charles shoots one of them and encourages Arthur to kill the other; Arthur learns that they were meant to kill the bison and make it look like the native Americans were the ones killing them. The player is then given the option to either let him go or kill him. If Arthur lets him go, he'll get a boost to his honor and tell Charles that he could tell other poachers not to try a similar tactic in the future, though they were not actually poaching the animal meat and skin.

Charles, along with Sean, John, and Arthur, partakes in a train robbery, one of the last things the gang does at Horseshoe Overlook. During the operation, he deals with the engineer, allowing the other three to conduct the robbery.

After the gang realize they must relocate following the events in Valentine, Dutch sends Arthur and Charles to look for a new spot for camp. They head for Dewberry Creek, a location suggested by Micah. Upon arrival, they see a body of someone who got shot, and look around for clues. The pair come across a German mother and her children, whose father is missing. Reluctantly accompanied by Arthur, Charles searches for him, and they eventually find him tied up. After freeing him, the pair are attacked by bandits and, after fending them off, Arthur brings him back to his family while Charles goes back to the gang to divert the caravan to Clemens Point, a much better spot for camp.

Clemens Point Chapter

Charles takes part in Uncle’s stagecoach robbery of the Cornwall carriage, which turns out badly, forcing the gang members to flee. Uncle, Bill, and Arthur, Charles shelter in a barn, hoping not to be seen. They are eventually found, and after the barn is lit on fire, they flee into the woods. They manage to fend off a final wave of attackers, before they can return to camp.

Later in this chapter, Charles and Arthur are sent by Dutch to search for Trelawny. After investigating his caravan and subduing a pair of bounty hunters in the woods, they confirm that Trelawny has been captured by bounty hunters. The two manage to slay the bounty hunters in the nearby maize fields, although one final one captures Arthur, only to be killed by Charles with a throwable weapon. Later on, Charles takes part in the assault on Braithwaite Manor, in the hopes of rescuing Jack.

Saint Denis Chapter

Charles, along with the rest of the gang, is involved in the robbery of the city's bank. He survives the ensuing gunfight, and later distracts some Pinkerton guards, which allows Dutch, Bill, Javier, Micah, and Arthur to board a boat and escape the country.

Guarma Chapter

During the gang’s temporary separation when five of its members land on Guarma, Charles (along with Sadie) is largely responsible for organising the rest of the gang. He was a key player in keeping the gang together and united after the failed bank robbery‘s impact on morale, as well as organising the gang’s relocation to Lakay. He also helped in stealing the bodies of Hosea and Lenny from the morgue, and burying them in Bluewater Marsh.

After Lakay is attacked by Pinkertons, Charles and Arthur are sent to scout out Beaver Hollow, in preparation for making it the new camp. During the expedition, Charles mentions that he had been helping the Wapiti Indians, including Rains Fall and Eagle Flies, while Arthur was away, saying that their current situation is not good. When the pair arrive at Beaver Hollow, they are forced to attack the Murfree Brood, who are occupying the hollow. The two clear it out, and kill all the members of the gang. After finding a girl who had been kidnapped by the Murfrees, Arthur takes her back to Annesburg while Charles goes back to the gang to direct them to the new camp at Beaver Hollow.

Beaver Hollow Chapter

Charles rides into camp with Eagle Flies, and introduces him as the son of Rains Fall, chief of the Wapiti Indians. Eagle Flies tells them how the US Army took their horses, and he wants help in taking them back from. Charles and Arthur decide to go along with Eagle Flies and Dutch, to stop things escalating. The four canoe silently alongside the army boat, before boarding and knocking out the guards. They then bring the horses back to the shore, where Eagle Flies and Dutch depart to the reservation and bring the horses back to the tribe.

Charles and Arthur accompany Rains Fall to a truce meeting with Colonel Favours. After the negotiations collapse, Favours arranges for Captain Monroe to be charged for treason, so Arthur and Charles each take a soldier hostage and successfully manage to drag Monroe away from the meeting. They immediately flee on horseback, with the Army on their tail. After a series of shootouts with the Army, Arthur and Charles eventually outrun them and arrive Emerald Station, where they send Monroe on to a train which is headed far away.

After Charles learns that Eagle Flies has been captured and awaits execution, he and Arthur go to Fort Wallace to get him back. Charles and Arthur sneak into the fort by scaling the back wall, stealthily killing some of the guards on the way. In order to rescue Eagle Flies, they realise they must cause a distraction; Arthur shoots a lantern to cause a fire, diverting the guards' attention. After they unlock Eagle Flies from his cell, soldiers attack them, resulting in a gun battle. Due to them being trapped in the fort, Arthur blows up a weak part of the fort's wall with dynamite, allowing the trio to escape. With soldiers pursuing them, the three manage to ride away from the fort and eventually canoe their way to safety. After doing so, Charles takes Eagle Flies back to his father.

Charles is present in the camp when Eagle Flies rides in and asks for them to help him attack the Cornwall refinery at the oil fields. Charles goes with the gang to help and joins Arthur's group, which rescues Eagle Flies, before meeting up with the rest of the gang at the warehouse. After Eagle Flies is mortally wounded, Charles, Arthur and Paytah help bring him back to the reservation. Afterwards, Charles effectively leaves the gang, instead opting to stay with the Wapiti Indians at the reservation and help them to flee to Canada in order to escape the US Army.

Charles would later return to Roanoke Ridge after the disbandment of the Van der Linde gang, and bury the bodies of Arthur and Susan.

Beecher's Hope Chapter

Uncle and John learn in 1907, eight years later, that Charles is alive and in Saint Denis. They ride to the city, and find him participating in a fighting tournament. Charles wins the fight, after agreeing to allow his opponent to win. The Italian gangsters working for Guido Martelli, who Charles made a deal with to lose the fight, decide to enact revenge after being tricked; they follow John and Charles to the docks, where four men confront the pair, and get slain in the ensuing exchange of fire. John and Charles manage to flee the city, before going to Beecher's Hope.

At Beecher's Hope, Charles comes to buy wood and tools for a new house at the ranch. He hires two bodyguards to help escort them, but they are attacked by the Skinner Brothers. Charles and John kill the Skinners, before finding the dead body of one of the hired guns. After depositing the wood back at the ranch, Charles brings his body to Blackwater for burial. Charles then helps build the house along with John and Uncle, and in celebration for finishing it, they have a drink. While hungover, Uncle is kidnapped by the Skinners, so the two set out to find him and stealthily assault the camp. Despite Charles' fears that Uncle may need to be put out of his misery if his injuries are too severe, he discovers that this is not the case, to his relief. Afterwards, Charles says that the Skinner Brothers have been weakened and that they are unlikely to trouble them again.

Sadie comes by the ranch, and tells Charles and John that she has found out how to get to Micah. After John agrees to accompany them, the trio ride to Strawberry. On the way, Charles reveals that he wants to settle in Canada and start a family of his own there. They eventually arrive at Strawberry, where they soon find Cleet. After threatening Cleet with hanging, he reveals that Micah is at Mount Hagen with his gang, and they set out for the mountain. After finally reaching Mount Hagen, Charles is immediately shot in the right shoulder by a sniper. Due to his gunshot wound, he is forced to rest in cover behind a rock while Sadie and John ascend the mountain. When Sadie is later stabbed during an altercation with one of Micah’s men, Charles shoots and kills her attacker, thus saving her from being killed. With Charles and Sadie both having sustained injury, they stay behind while John continues.

After returning to the ranch, Charles attends John and Abigail's wedding. He later gives his farewells to the Marston family, Uncle, and Sadie as he leaves the ranch. Charles's fate is uncertain, but it can be assumed that he left for Canada to pursue his intentions of living and raising a family there.



Charles has been described as a quiet and reserved person, yet very competent in everything he takes part of, especially fights, to the extent that he is able to successfully compete with a flawless record in fighting tournaments such as in Saint Denis in 1907. He is very courageous and selfless, providing whatever help he could to the Wapiti Indian reservation, rescuing Captain Monroe and Eagle Flies from the US Army, and telling Sadie and John to run from Micah's men first while he would supposedly catch up later despite being critically wounded. He is nearly always calm, only showing visible happiness or anger on a few short occasions.

Arguably the most honorable member of the gang, Charles is cool-headed and reluctant to kill; the continuing blood spilled by the gang is ultimately what causes him to become disillusioned with it and helping the Wapiti Indians instead. He disapproves of people who are nothing but vicious killers, such as his notable disdain for the Callander brothers and Micah. He is also compassionate towards wild animals, and shows rare visible anger when encountering the poachers killing bison for sport. He despises racism, throwing Micah to the ground instantly for calling him a redskin, and being visibly impressed by Dutch's fair treatment of all races. He is also shown to be thoughtful and kind, burying Arthur in a particularly picturesque spot with a decorated gravestone.

Ultimately, he can be described as altruistic. He is quick to help anyone who has helped him or who is in need of help in spite of however bad his condition may be or how little benefit it may be to him. He teachers Arthur to use a bow while still wounded (in spite of Arthur's protests) to save the gang from certain starvation, proactively searches to reunite the German family (in spite of Arthur's protests again) and unconditionally helps John construct the ranch at Beecher’s Hope in 1907.

Charles is also emotionally distant and socially awkward. By his own admission, he prefers people when he does not have to listen to them. However, he does warm up to both Arthur and John, notably showing rare visible happiness upon reuniting with the latter in 1907, and states that he is done with being alone for the sole reason of being able to sleep easier at night.

He also feels directionless, which combined with his desire for social interaction, is likely why he joined the gang in the first place. During a possible campfire conversation, Charles vents about his lack of understanding of life. He feels that he has no purpose but to suffer, and after considering his mother's kidnap, father's alcoholism, early escape from home and subsequent extreme loneliness, it is easy to see why. He feels his life is stuck in America, and this is likely why he chooses to emigrate to Canada for a true fresh start by the game's end.


Charles has a very muscular build, which is accompanied by extreme strength and athleticism. He has very long, free-flowing black hair which he later turns into a mohawk/braid look, seen after returning from Guarma. He also has dark skin, with light stubble and scarring on his face. He usually wears a blue shirt with a dotted white pattern, brown trousers, black boots, a gunbelt and a necklace, which is accompanied by a black, winter coat or a blue wool coat with a hood, in Chapters 1 and 2 respectively.

By 1907, his hair has returned to its original style of being very long and free-flowing. He has an Eagle feather attached to his hair, and wears a pinstriped white shirt with an undone brown vest, dark grey trousers, and black boots.

Mission appearances

Red Dead Redemption 2


I don't kill for fun. I kill when I need to.
Charles Smith
Any day we can die. We're about to break an Indian Chief's son out of a cavalry fort. We can both die tonight.
Charles to Arthur Morgan
How do you rob and kill people pleasantly? We don't, in spite of Dutch's talk.
Charles to Hosea Matthews
You're never too old to learn... I imagine.
Charles preparing to teach Arthur to hunt
Dutch is different. He treats me fair. Most of you do. And for a feller with a black father and an Indian mother, that ain't usually the case.
Charles to Arthur during their time in Colter
Where the bison went, my people went. They were the center of all life... we couldn't survive without them. They provide us with everything... food, clothing, shelter, tools. There was a lot of respect...
Charles on bison
Other human beings seem to understand why they were born, but, for me... it seems like I was born to hurt and suffer myself. That doesn't always seem like a really good reason. Uh... I wish there was another way. But here, in this land, uh... I feel very stuck.
Charles in a random campfire interaction
All this death and for what? Just so we can have enough money to be able to run from what we've done?
Charles lamenting the state of the gang
Those money, those bonds, whatever it is... I don't want a cent. There's too much blood on it.
Charles declining his cut for the refinery attack
We lived a very bad path...
Charles reflecting on his time in the Van der Linde gang
I... I think I might get out of here. Go North. Canada. Find a woman. Start a family if I can. I see how that life... well, I'd like to try it.
Charles planning his future


  • Charles is Roger Clark's favorite character.[1]
  • If the player antagonizes the camp enough, Charles will punch Arthur and throw him out of the camp, just like Lenny, Javier, Bill, Sean and John.
  • Charles is the only character that allows Arthur to ride his horse.
  • Charles’ sidearm and weapon of choice is a Sawed-off Shotgun with a black and white varnish; he is unique from other gang members in that his personal sidearm is not a revolver.
  • Occasionally, if Arthur has spent a long time away from camp, Charles may be one of the members of the gang who can be sent by Dutch to track Arthur down. After he has found Arthur, the player then has the option to fast travel back to camp with him.
  • There is an unused mission cutscene from Chapter 4 found in the PC files of the game. It shows Charles leaving camp on horseback.[2] Part of this cutscene can be seen in the second trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 where he says "We need an extra gun." This is not included in the final version of the game.
  • Unlike Sadie, Charles is listed in a 1907 newspaper article alongside Micah, Bill, Javier and John as being a wanted member of the Van der Linde gang who is "still at large".[3]