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We can't always fight nature, John. We can't fight change, we can't fight gravity, we can't fight nothin'. My whole life, all I ever did was fight...
Dutch van der Linde

Dutch van der Linde is a recurring character in the Red Dead series, appearing as a central character and one of the primary antagonists of Red Dead Redemption, as well as a central character in Red Dead Redemption 2.

With the addition of the Liars and Cheats DLC pack for Redemption, Van der Linde is also a multiplayer character model that may be selected in the 'Damnation' section of the Outfitter.

History

Background

DutchLindeBio

Biography in RDR 2 (click to enlarge)

Theoldguard

A young Dutch with Hosea and Arthur

Dutch was born in 1855[1] to an unnamed Dutch father and an English woman called Greta. Little is known about his younger days. His father fought for the Union in the American Civil War and died in a battle (heavily implied to be the Battle of Gettysburg). Because of his father's death, Dutch seems to have developed a grudge against Southerners. Dutch also mentions that he left his home when he was 15 years old because he rarely got along with his mother, who died in 1881 and was buried in Blackwater, although Dutch only found out several months after this from an uncle of his.

He valued freedom and liberties above all else and dreamed of living an independent existence. To attain these desires, Dutch began to resort to a life of crime. In the early days of his criminal life, Dutch had an "odd" partnership with Colm O'Driscoll, a fellow infamous outlaw and the leader of his own gang. At some point, Dutch met and befriended Hosea Matthews, a con artist who tried to rob Dutch who likewise tried to do to do the same to Hosea. Dutch and Hosea decided to partner up and later formed their own gang. Notable members that joined the gang at various times include Arthur Morgan, Micah Bell, John Marston, Abigail Marston, Bill Williamson, and Javier Escuella. At some point later, Dutch and Colm became bitter enemies after Dutch killed Colm's brother and Colm killed Dutch's lover Annabelle in retaliation, sparking a long blood feud between both gangs.

At this time, Dutch was an altruistic and idealistic rogue, believing the gang could make a difference in the world. He fashioned himself into something of a Robin Hood-like figure, taking money from the rich and wealthy who had plenty of it, and giving it to the poor and destitute who needed it. He saw himself as a symbol of the Wild West in its romanticized form, and a humanitarian champion of the people, opposing government control, supporting individual liberty and punishing general human cruelty and selfishness. His romantic image and charisma inspired his gang to believe in his anarchistic vision of a "Savage Utopia", and it was in the name of Dutch and his cause that they committed many violent crimes such as murder and robbery. By 1899, Dutch was reluctantly starting to realize that the way of life he held so dear was quickly becoming an unrealistic proposition and that the days of the Wild West were coming to an end.

Events of Red Dead Redemption 2

The leader of a sizable gang of outlaws and misfits. Idealistic, anarchic, charismatic, well‐read, well‐ lived, but possibly starting to unravel under the pressures of the encroaching modern world.
Rockstar Games' description of Dutch for Redemption 2.
The Van der Linde gang attempted an ambitious ferry robbery in Blackwater, but it ended in disaster and the gang was forced to flee into the blizzard mountains of Ambarino to escape the heat. The specifications of the heist are never fully revealed, but it's known that Dutch killed a defenseless young woman named Heidi McCourt during it. The events of Blackwater shook Hosea's faith in Dutch, though he admits that his faith in their mission had been dead for a long time before this.  

Colter Chapter

Dutch and his gang reluctantly travel into the heart of the blizzard in a wagon convoy, where they rest up in a small abandoned mining town called Colter. Dutch gives an inspirational speech to the gang and heads out with Arthur to meet up with either John or Micah, who went scouting. They come across Micah, who tells Dutch that he found a homestead which appears to have a party going on, and the three head out to investigate. After showing up at the homestead, the gang members soon learn that the residents are all O'Driscolls. A shootout erupts, with Dutch, Arthur and Micah eliminating them. After searching the house, they find a hysterical victim of the O'Driscolls named Sadie. Dutch comforts Sadie and puts a blanket around her, before taking her back to camp.

A few days later, Dutch and the gang attack some O'Driscolls camped nearby. The mission is a success, and the gang learns about a Cornwall train traveling nearby and finds dynamite to take it out. The gang then moves to attack the train, and although the dynamite doesn't go off, the train is eventually stopped and its loot is taken by the gang. Now with some money in their pockets, and the spring thaw coming, Dutch decides to finally depart from the mountains.

Horseshoe Overlook Chapter

Not long after arriving at the new camp location, Micah is arrested in the town of Strawberry. Dutch, knowing he can't go to Strawberry himself due to being wanted in the area, sends Arthur to break Micah out.

Later, Arthur reports to Dutch that he was approached by the Pinkertons, who know roughly where the gang were set up. Arthur then urges Dutch to relocate, but Dutch says that “they’re just trying to scare us”, and has the gang stay put for the time being.

Dutch and Strauss go to Valentine to see John and Arthur after they threw a successful train heist. During the visit, Leviticus Cornwall and his hired guns capture Strauss and John outside the saloon, and demands that Dutch comes outside. Dutch and Arthur rescue them, before fighting their way out of the town back to camp. Realizing that they can't stay in the area, he decides to move further east, and sends Charles and Arthur to investigate an area in Lemoyne for a new camp location.

Clemens Point Chapter

After moving to the new camp location, Hosea, Arthur, and Dutch go riding. They encounter Sheriff Gray who has captured Trelawny, due to him running an illegal gold prospecting operation. After Arthur re-captures a group of outlaws who escaped, Trelawny is released. If the player wishes, Dutch, Arthur and Hosea can then go fishing. Later, Sheriff Gray decides to make Arthur, Dutch, and Bill deputies in order to crack down on an illegal moonshine operation funded by the Braithwaites. With the help of Archibald, the three gang members succeed in destroying the moonshine operation, earning favor with the Sheriff. Sometime later, after considerable persuasion from Micah, Dutch decides to attend a “truce” meeting with Colm O’Driscoll. The supposed truce meeting ultimately turns out to be a trap to catch Arthur, however, with the intention of luring in Dutch to capture him and give him to the Pinkertons. Arthur is badly injured while in captivity, but manages to escape.

After Jack is kidnapped by the Braithwaites, Dutch orders an assault on Braithwaite Manor. The gang members storm the manor and slaughter the vast majority of the Braithwaite family. After Jack is nowhere to be seen, the gang torches the manor and interrogates Catherine Braithwaite, forcing her to reveal to them that Jack is being held hostage by Angelo Bronte. Dutch then orders the gang to ride away and leaves Catherine sobbing on the ground at the foot of her burning mansion. The next morning, two Pinkerton agents named Milton and Ross appear at camp, to offer the gang members a deal. In return for taking Dutch, they pledge to allow the rest of the gang to flee and grant them amnesty. Dutch originally pretends to comply, but he then refuses and the rest of the gang ready their weapons and warn the agents to leave. Flustered, Agent Milton says that the gang are making a mistake and that he’ll be back with fifty men, before being escorted out. Afterwards, Dutch asks Arthur and John to investigate Shady Belle, a location originally discovered by Lenny, as a new place for camp.

Saint Denis Chapter

After moving to the Saint Denis area, Dutch, Arthur and John ride to the city and confront Bronte. Bronte agrees to give back Jack in exchange for doing a job for him. After Arthur and John deal with some grave robbers per Bronte’s request, Bronte releases Jack and gives them an invitation to the Mayor's party. At the Mayor's party, Dutch is welcomed by Angelo Bronte, who later tells Dutch that there is lots of money in a trolley station for him to rob. Soon afterwards, Dutch hears someone talking about Cornwall and tells Arthur to go and find out more about him, while he, Hosea and Bill work on finding some more leads.

Back at camp, Dutch begins making plans to rob the trolley station in Saint Denis. Arthur agrees to ride with Dutch, although Dutch suggests taking Micah as a third gun. Arthur disagrees, and instead asks for Lenny, which Dutch accepts. Immediately afterwards, the camp is assaulted by the O'Driscoll gang, who send Kieran's decapitated corpse coming into Shady Belle on horseback, before the two gangs face off in a brutal shootout. Dutch and his gang take shelter inside the Shady Belle manor to fight off the O'Driscolls. During the shootout, Dutch tells Arthur to find Sadie and get her inside the building, and helps fight off the O’Driscolls from inside the manor. Ultimately, the Van der Linde gang emerges victorious and is able to repel the O'Driscolls. After the battle, the gang see to disposing the enemy corpses, and Dutch orders Reverend Swanson to bury Kieran nearby.

Soon afterwards, Dutch decides to start working on the tip given to him by Bronte. He, Arthur and Lenny begin to rob the trolley station, only to discover that it contains almost no money at all, and they are forced to fight their way out, hijacking a trolley to escape out of the city. During the escape, the trolley that the three are in derails and crashes, with Dutch suffering a concussion in the crash as well as a head injury that he insists is nothing to worry about. After escaping, he vows revenge on Bronte for betraying him.

After the battle at Shady Belle, Dutch and Arthur go to the town of Lagras, where they make a deal with a fisherman to have him row the gang in behind Bronte's mansion in exchange for Dutch and Arthur helping him find one of his assistants who has gone missing in the swamp. Arthur and Dutch succeed in saving his assistant’s life when it is threatened by a huge alligator which is infamous in the swamps they're wading in, and the fisherman keeps his promise. Shortly afterwards, the gang arrive at Bronte's home, and after fighting through his Manor, capture him. With police closing around them, the gang manage to fight their way out and get back to the boat. Along the way back, Dutch kills Bronte for his betrayal, drowning him and then throwing his corpse overboard to be consumed by alligators, shocking John and Arthur.

In order to fund the gang’s escape from the country, Dutch decides that the gang should rob Lemoyne National Bank in Saint Denis. Although the robbery starts off smoothly, Hosea is captured by Pinkertons while orchestrating a distraction, and is then killed by Agent Milton in front of the gang, devastating Dutch. A violent shootout breaks out, before further misfortune unfolds for the gang when John is captured and Lenny is killed, during the gang's escape on the rooftop. The remaining six continue their escape and manage to hide in an abandoned apartment until nightfall, where they sneak down to the docks. In order for them to proceed, Charles distracts some Pinkertons guarding the area, allowing Dutch, Arthur, Micah, Bill and Javier to stow away on a boat destined for the south pacific, with the intention of coming back for the others later.

Guarma Chapter

Along the way, the ship is caught in a storm and perishes, and all the gang members besides Arthur jump overboard and swim over to a nearby shore and regroup there. Not long after Arthur finds his way back to them, the local military arrest them and transport them in shackles to jail. Along the way to the jail, the soldiers are attacked by rebels and a shootout ensues. In the scuffle, Arthur manages to unlock their shackles, and the gang attacks and kills their guards in the area. Hercule Fontaine, the revolutionary leader tells the gang to follow him. Hercule leads the remaining gang to a small rebel outpost, stocked with Bolt Action Rifles. Army reinforcements soon arrive, but they get defeated. The gang then retreats to the rebel outpost of La Capilla.

Dutch and Arthur rest for a short time at La Capilla, before they both go to rescue Javier, who was captured in the battle with the Guarma military. Arthur and he go to a cave where an old lady named Gloria is. Dutch pays her gold to lead them through the cave, to Aguasdulces. It is then that she demands more money, and when Dutch doesn't pay her, she pulls a knife on him. Dutch grabs her by the throat and kills her, much to Arthur’s dismay, although Dutch responds by saying that she would have betrayed them later anyway, which Arthur highly doubts. The pair then enter Aguasdulces, where they see Colonel Fussar and a group of soldiers leading a donkey that is dragging Javier along. Dutch quickly sees a way to cause a distraction in the sugar refinery. Dutch and Arthur cut up the bags of sugar, spilling the sugar on the floor, which blows up the furnace. In the ensuing chaos, they rescue Javier, before fighting their way out of the settlement.

The gang then goes to the rebel stronghold of Cinco Torres. Not long after arriving, a Cuban warship approaching, and swarms of enemies attack. The gang and Hercule shoot at them from above, before moving down to the beach and fighting them off head-on. Realizing the warship has to be stopped, the gang begin an assault against it, and the warship is eventually sunk by cannon fire.

They then set out making their way to the ship. While fighting in Aguasdulces, Dutch breaks into the workers’ cabin and finds Arthur being held at gunpoint by Levi Simon. Dutch points his gun at Simon, before Fussar comes in, where he and Dutch hold each other at gunpoint. The standoff ends when Arthur kicks the ship captain his rifle, who kills Simon by shooting him in the chest. Fussar flees the cabin and runs. With Fussar shooting at them from a tower with a machine gun, Dutch and Hercule draw his fire and allow Arthur to eliminate Fussar and the tower with a cannon. With Fussar and his troops gone, they finally reach the port. They then set sail for the mainland at last.

After coming back to the gang at Lakay, the gang is attacked by Pinkertons. They narrowly fend off the attack, killing several Pinkerton agents, and Dutch tells Arthur and Charles to go north to investigate Beaver Hollow for a possible new camp location.

Beaver Hollow Chapter

Dutch begins to grow increasingly paranoid, and orders Arthur and Sadie not to rescue John from Sisika Penitentiary, as Dutch believes he is a traitor. After they rescue him anyway, Dutch gets furious for the insubordination. Later, Dutch goes to Annesburg with Micah and Arthur for a "social call" with Leviticus Cornwall. Dutch confronts Cornwall after arriving in his yacht, and eventually offers Cornwall his life in exchange for ten thousand dollars, his yacht and safe passage away from the place, to which Cornwall laughs and refuses. In response, Dutch decides to pull the trigger on Cornwall, in a seemingly spontaneous manner, and shoots him in the chest. With Cornwall killed, Dutch, Arthur, and Micah are forced to fight their way out of the town.

At some point, Colm O’Driscoll is caught and sentenced to death by hanging in Saint Denis. Aware that Colm had escaped the past two times, Dutch and Arthur attend his execution disguised as police officers with Sadie to sabotage any rescue attempt. The sabotage succeeds and Colm is successfully hanged, although Sadie is unable to contain her rage and opens fire on the O’Driscolls, initiating a firefight. Afterwards, Dutch and Sadie return to Beaver Hollow.

Eagle Flies later rides into Beaver Hollow and tells the gang that the army stationed at Fort Wallace has taken their horses, and he needs help to get them back. Dutch, seeing an opportunity to distract the government’s attention away from the gang, agrees. He calls for Charles and Arthur to follow him, and the four men ride east where they plan on stealing horses from a government ferry. The four of them swim to the boat, sneak on board, and knock out the guards. They then grab the horses and flee back to shore. After reaching the shore, Dutch accompanies Eagle Flies in taking the horses back to the reservation while they plan their next move.

Dutch orders Arthur to meet up with him and a group of Indians led by Paytah and Eagle Flies. Dutch tells him that they plan on trapping the soldiers in the canyon and tar-and-feathering them, and the two get to work. After placing dynamite next to the trees, they wait for the soldiers to arrive, and blow the dynamite. The trees collapse, blocking the road, and they order the soldiers to drop their weapons. Unfortunately, reinforcements arrive and swarm the would-be-ambushers. They fight their way down the pass, but all the Indians are either killed or captured, and Arthur and Dutch are forced to run. They flee to the top of a cliff, and after being surrounded by the army, jump to the rapids below, allowing them to escape.

Eagle Flies shows up at Beaver Hollow with a large force of warriors from the reservation and tells the gang that the army raided the reservation. He then asks for the gangs to help in destroying the Cornwall company distillery in retaliation. It is then that Rains Fall steps in, and begs for his tribe not to go to war again, still remembering the death and destruction they suffered in their previous war against the military. They instead ride off, leaving the gang behind. After a quick discussion, the majority of the gang follows, only to arrive to find the battle all but over. Many Wapiti were dead, Eagle Flies is fighting for his life amidst the chaos, and a small group of warriors have been surrounded near the warehouse. The gang assaults the distillery and is able to save the remnants of the Wapiti force, and they split into two groups with Dutch leading a force to take the warehouse. Under heavy fire, they make little progress until Arthur's force arrives, and they begin to drive back the enemy. After fighting to the warehouse doors, Dutch and Arthur enter and pick through the building to find anything valuable, with Dutch finding a pile of government bonds. As they leave, however, a pipe bursts and it causes Arthur to be knocked over and stunned. He is attacked by a small group of soldiers, but Dutch exits the warehouse upon witnessing this and leaves Arthur to die, making no attempt to save him. After Arthur is saved by Eagle Flies (who is mortally wounded in the process), Dutch denies leaving Arthur to die when confronted, and rides with the money back to camp.

Dutch and Micah plan "one last score" off of a nearby train that is carrying army payroll. When Arthur arrives, he reveals that Uncle, Pearson, and Mary-Beth have all fled, and calls them cowards. After Arthur suggests letting John and his family go too, Dutch becomes furious, but quickly calms down and seemingly agrees, although it is apparent that he does not take the agreement seriously. During the robbery, John is shot and falls off of the train. Dutch claims that he'll try to save John and leaves for a while. When he comes back, he claims that John had died.

Following the robbery, the gang learns that Abigail has been arrested for murder. Despite the gang's code, Micah quickly points out the risks of making a rescue attempt and presses Dutch to abandon her. Dutch agrees with him, and the gang head back to camp, infuriating Arthur and Sadie, who go after her themselves.

When Arthur returns to camp, he reveals that Agent Milton's informant was in fact Micah. This initiates a standoff between Arthur and Micah, who draw on each other. Arthur tries to convince Dutch that Micah is the rat, while Micah denies it and says to Dutch that they can achieve a lot together, although Dutch remains silent. Soon afterwards, John appears and reveals that not only did he survive the train robbery, but that Dutch, fearing John was a traitor, made no attempt to rescue him. He sides with Arthur, followed by Susan Grimshaw, who points a shotgun at Micah and tells him to put down his guns. Javier then announces that the Pinkertons are coming, distracting Miss Grimshaw and giving Micah the opportunity he needed to shoot her, resulting in Susan's death. Dutch finally takes out his guns and joins Micah, with the majority of the gang united behind him. Dutch and the others point their guns at John and Arthur, and prepare to shoot them, but the showdown is cut short by an attack from the Pinkertons, and in the chaos, Dutch and his men slip away, leaving John and Arthur to fend for themselves.

He eventually reappears, either at the ruins of the camp or in the mountains depending on Arthur's choice. Either way, he intervenes in the fight between Micah and Arthur. Arthur, with his final breaths, pleads to Dutch and swears that Micah is the traitor. Micah asks Dutch to come with him and take the money, but Dutch, unable to bring himself to decide who to turn on, simply walks away, signifying the end of the Van der Linde gang.

Beecher's Hope Chapter

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Dutch shoots Micah

Eight years later, Dutch comes out of hiding to join Micah's Gang and helps Micah to finally retrieve the Blackwater money. At some point later in 1907, John and Sadie storm Mount Hagen in order to get revenge on Micah for his betrayal of the gang. After a wounded Sadie appears and breaks the deadlock between John and Micah, Dutch reveals himself and steps into a three-way standoff with them, while Micah manages to take Sadie hostage. Although Dutch initially appears to be on Micah’s side, he eventually shoots Micah in the chest, mortally wounding him and freeing Sadie. While initially shocked, Micah tries to shoot both John and Dutch, but John seals Micah’s fate by repeatedly shooting him. With Micah dead, Dutch walks away, ignoring John's attempts to thank him. He also consciously leaves the Blackwater money behind, financially securing Sadie, Charles, and the Marston family for life.

Post-Redemption 2

Van der Linde had not been seen nor heard from in a few years, and despite claims of sightings he was thought to have perished in a fire following a botched robbery in 1906. Meanwhile, another article in 1907 suggests he is active in the tall trees area (suggesting that he had at least been scouting the Cochinay location). During one of the cutscenes in "The Gates of El Presidio", it is said by Javier Escuella that Dutch is “in Colombia“ and not likely to be seen ever again. This would later turn out not to be the case as Dutch would later come out of hiding at some point between 1907 and 1911 and formed a new gang, taking up residence in a fortress at Cochinay.

Events of Red Dead Redemption

When Bill Williamson and Javier Escuella are dealt with in Mexico, Edgar Ross declares that John is not finished hunting his old gang. He is told that Dutch is back in the West Elizabeth region and that Marston is obliged to kill him. Together with a Native American named Nastas and Professor Harold MacDougal, John tries to hunt down Dutch. Nastas tells Marston and MacDougal of Dutch's fortress in the mountains called Cochinay, where he has recruited a new gang consisting of Native Americans that lived in poor conditions on local reservations. Dutch takes advantage of the natives mutual hatred of the government and has created an army now holed up in the mountainous fortress. Dutch's Gang has been attacking and harassing settlers outside of Blackwater. The Blackwater Ledger makes mention of an incident where Dutch and his gang killed two men on a homestead north of Blackwater.

John and Nastas investigate and scout Cochinay with the goal of locating Dutch himself. Nastas is injured while climbing the mountains, so John continues the climb alone. After killing a scout, John picks up his binoculars. When looked through, John observes Dutch executing a captured police officer. After looking away, John returns his glance on Dutch again only to see Dutch now aiming at him. A shot is fired, but it hits the binoculars, causing John to fall back and get knocked unconscious. Satisfied, Dutch holsters his pistol. Not long after, the Bureau of Investigation receives word that Dutch's Gang has robbed the Blackwater Bank and has taken hostages inside.

After taking a sniping position and gaining entrance to the bank, John confronts Dutch with a group of sheriffs and has him corned in an upstairs office. However, Dutch is holding a young woman hostage at gunpoint. Dutch takes the moment to speak with John, all the while slowly making his way towards the exit. Dutch asks about John's family, remarking how fast time flies before berating his marriage to Abigail telling the sheriffs that John "married a whore". When John brings up that Dutch had left him to die years prior, Dutch dismisses this and mocks John for being an "errand boy" for the government. Dutch suddenly inches closer to the door and shoots the young woman in the head while throwing her corpse into John's arms. John and the Lawmen pursue Dutch on horseback after realizing he escaped in an automobile parked outside the bank. They come across the automobile, now wrecked, and with Dutch nowhere in sight.

Later, Dutch and his gang surround the Blackwater Hotel while John and Professor MacDougal are inside. Shouting up at John, he announces that he plans on killing John and the Professor for "sport". However, John and MacDougal escape out of a window and across the rooftops before reaching a pair of waiting horses. John is then able to safely escort MacDougal to the train station at Manzanita Post.

The U.S. Army launches a full scale assault on Cochinay. After weakening Dutch's forces by luring them out of Tall Trees and into the Great Plains where the army ambushes them, John Marston, Edgar Ross, and Archer Fordham ride to Cochinay with a garrison of U.S. Army soldiers with the intention of killing Dutch and ending his gang. The army assaults Cochinay, gunning down most of Dutch's Gang. John tells the American Army Captain to tend to his wounded while he faces Dutch alone. Seeing John coming, Dutch mounts an armor-plated Browning Gun and attempts to use it to gun down John. However, John shoots an oil lantern fixed behind Dutch, causing a fire that forces him off the gun. Dutch then flees into the caves with John chasing after him. The caves lead to atop a mountain cliff where John holds Dutch at gunpoint.

Dutch tosses his gun off the mountain and the two exchange words. Dutch discusses the inevitability of his situation and the changing times. He laments that his whole life he tried to fight societal change but that in the end, like gravity, change was always constant and inevitable. John asks Dutch why he could never give up if he knew his fight for change was in vain. However, Dutch explains that he couldn't give up as it was too much in his nature to fight despite being fully aware of the futility of his rebellion, saying "That's the paradox, John. You see?". John coldly claims that if Dutch won't surrender, he'll have to shoot him. Dutch smirks at this and comments on the hypocrisy of law enforcement, saying that after his death, the law will find "another monster" to target and use that to justify their wages. Dutch takes a step back towards the mountain cliff and says "Our time has passed... John" before allowing himself to fall back off the cliff to his death, choosing suicide over capture. Edgar Ross later shoots Dutch's corpse with a pistol in order to make it look like John shot him, claiming that it "looks better in the report that way".

Dutch's prediction of the Bureau not stopping after his death came true. In “The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed”, John himself became the next target of the agency and this subsequently leads to his death.

Near the location where Dutch died, an unmarked grave can be found which is presumably his. The most likely explanation for this is that one of his surviving gang members went back to bury their leader after the battle.

Character

Philosophy

The promise of this great nation. Men created equal, liberty and justice for all. That might be nonsense too. But it's worth trying for. It's worth believing in. Can't you see that, friend?
Dutch reassuring Arthur Morgan to have faith in his ideal America
Dutch seems to carry a philosophy similar to other characters in Red Dead Redemption. Dutch has an anarchistic worldview and seems to want a world that goes somewhere along the lines of a Hunter-Gatherer Society, a world that opposes technology and governmental control and where men fight to survive and live the lifestyle they choose, free from any rules and regulations; a world where men live very much like they did in the old Wild West. Dutch shows a common disgust and contempt for urban cultured towns like Blackwater or industrialized cities like Saint Denis. As these locations serve as a monument to technological and industrial progression and government-enforced order and peace, all of which Dutch violently opposes. Dutch equates technological and industrial progression as powerful ways the federal government can exert authority and control over the population, especially disenfranchised groups of people such as the Native Americans and people who live in poverty.

Another part of Dutch's philosophy seems to be a desire to return to the older ways. While the New West of the 20th century promotes clothing, technology, and civilization, Dutch seems to want to move back to the Old West of the 19th century which promotes survival, discipline, and fitness and using skill and courage to overcome hardship. As the culture in the west progresses towards a modernist view that praises and rewards forced conformity, incorporation, order and employment on a large societal scale. Dutch would prefer people to remain civilized where they are and allow the Old West to survive in the way to which it has grown accustomed, and if the Federal Government will not allow him or his people to live their lives the way they wish, he will fight for his perceived right to live as he wishes.

It should be noted that Dutch's heavy emphasis on personal values such as liberty, equality, cultural tolerance and natural law aligns with Enlightenment ideas that encompassed the Age of Enlightenment movement during the 18th century. Many of the models and theories proposed during this time are currents of thought that Dutch frequently uses to share his beliefs. Dutch is particularly a frequent user of the Social Contract which is an enlightenment examination model used to highlight how individuals in a society surrender their freedoms to a higher power or authority. Dutch's worldview states that law and political order are not natural nor dependent on government and that human rights are universal and inalienable. Dutch often laments that in the New West, individual rights and freedoms must be sacrificed to an authority he views as greedy, dishonest, exploitative and prejudiced. The Old West is the perfect environment for a society based on natural rights, which is why Dutch violently opposes anything that threatens to end this way of life.

Personality

Dutch himself is shown to be a merciless killer who justifies killing innocent people or lawmen as a way of combating the corruption of the federal government. Despite his brutal ways, Dutch is shown to be educated and unlike many outlaws genuinely believes he is committing these crimes for idealistic reasons rather than greed. His anti-government and pro-individualist idealism created a charisma that attracted a following of people who had been downtrodden by the society they lived in. Several members of the gang were orphans, widowers, minorities, town drunks or former prostitutes; people who had felt they had no purpose until they joined the gang. This created a strong sense of unity within the gang and a great sense loyalty between Dutch and his gang members.

Despite at times being rather brutal in his methods, Dutch would often joke around with his fellow gang members and had a kind, playful disposition. He would often make motivational speeches to encourage the gang to come together in times of hardship while preaching that "loyalty" and "faith" were among the highest and most honorable tenets. Before Hosea's demise, he often consulted him and Arthur on important decisions, putting it to a discussion and vote between the three of them when deciding on the direction of the gang, demonstrating how much their opinions meant to him.

At the peak of his power, Dutch displayed genuine compassion for his fellow gang members and treated them as family members in a way that made them feel appreciated. He complimented them on their resilience and ability, thanked them for their loyalty, and saw to it that they were supplied, fed, and sheltered. His generosity endeared him to new members, many of whom had known little but harshness, pain, and struggle. His capacity to believe in others and help them believe in themselves was reciprocated, as they in turn believed in him.  He employed a highly flexible command system within the gang. Although he demanded that members give loyalty and do their share for the gang as a whole, he also encouraged them to be themselves, make use of their free time, and optimize their own talents and skill sets. Thus, at his best, Dutch commanded a balanced brand of leadership that not only required followers to have structure and discipline but also allowed them to express freedom and individuality.

Throughout his life, Dutch was known to demonstrate incredible courage that was much admired by his followers. Especially as events unfolded by 1899, his fearlessness often overlapped into recklessness. While facing rival gang leaders, Mafia dons, power barons, or law agents, Dutch often had no qualms with confronting any such opponent head-on. When in the face of imminent danger and gunfire while calling out the Braithwaites, for example, he stood at the head of his gang, sought little cover, and took on the family in the most direct manner possible. He had the utmost faith in his gang to overcome almost any situation regardless of the odds and regarded his most capable lieutenants such as Arthur Morgan and John Marston as his collective ace in the hole.

The Pinkertons' relentless pursuit along with the constantly increasing pressure from civilization that the Van der Linde gang faced during its final months began to affect Dutch. He became more driven by ego, money, and vengeance, beginning to outright despise anyone who questioned him. As his behavior grew more aggressive, violent, and erratic, so did his plans. Dutch callously killed powerful figures like Angelo Bronte and Leviticus Cornwall solely out of vengeance with little regard for the outcome, going against his previous ideology that revenge was a fool's game. This increased attention and dangerous consequences for the gang as a whole.

After the disastrous bank heist in Saint Denis, Dutch puts a tighter grip on the gang and takes his valuing of loyalty to an extreme by labeling anyone who questions him as a "doubter" and lessened the freedoms the other members of his gang once had. This makes it easier for him to make flat decisions that decide the course of the gang without taking any input or criticism from those he is leading. Unlike before, he started to value Arthur's opinion less and less due to doubts he had in him and would consult with Micah more because he'd never question Dutch. In fact, whenever a member of the gang questions Dutch's actions, he immediately sees the act of doing so as traitorous and a threat.

Dutch commonly referred to John Marston and Arthur Morgan as his brothers or sons with Dutch himself and Hosea becoming fatherly figures for John and Arthur, implementing a family-like relationship with the gang members that have stuck by him for over several years. However, as Dutch became more nihilistic and paranoid, Arthur and John begun to question his leadership and decisions, resulting in Dutch becoming increasingly resentful and suspicious of their motives. His paranoia and disdain for the "doubters" is shown when Dutch leaves both John and Arthur to die (as well as leaving John to be arrested by Pinkertons during the bank robbery in Saint Denis).

When Arthur is almost stabbed to death by a soldier while fighting alongside Dutch, it is clearly shown that Dutch deliberately left Arthur to die when he could have helped him. However, once confronted by Arthur on the subject, Dutch denies this and acts as if it never happened, whilst telling him not to be a "fool" and that "everything is coming together, exactly as I planned".

Not long after, Dutch would leave John to die during a train robbery following an argument with Arthur on allowing John to leave the gang to protect his family. Dutch was silently angered at the prospect that John was willing to leave the gang to protect his own family. When John was shot and left behind, Dutch lied to the entire gang, claiming that John had died. However, unexpectedly, a wounded John turned up to confront Dutch about leaving him to die. Again, Dutch denied it. Years later, when confronted by John during a bank robbery, Dutch would admit that he made a mistake, but immediately and callously brushes off the betrayal by saying, "I never claimed to be a saint."

A testament towards how much Dutch values loyalty can be seen in Dutch's relationship with Micah Bell. During the final days of the Van der Linde gang, Micah became Dutch's most trusted consultant, as Micah, unlike Arthur, never openly questioned any of Dutch's actions no matter what they were. Dutch trusted in Micah so much that when Arthur revealed that Micah was the Pinkerton spy, Dutch couldn't bring himself to admit this fact, even after Micah shoots and kills Susan Grimshaw. It was only years later that Dutch would finally come to terms with Micah's betrayal and exact vengeance.

By 1911, the once idealistic rogue had degenerated into a delusional maniac and frantic killer who was secretly aware that all of the horrible crimes he committed had changed nothing about the government or society. In his final moments, Dutch expresses remorse for his actions, telling John that he couldn't stop fighting for his ideas even though he realized the futility of it because he is unable to combat his own fundamental nature. He even described himself as a "monster". Before committing suicide, Dutch told John that "Our time has passed", signifying his acceptance that the Old West way of life was dead and his ideals along with it.

Appearance

Pre-1899

As seen in an old photograph on Arthur Morgan's wagon, Dutch is shown to be clean shaven and with longer hair at the back.

1899

In 1899, Dutch is shown as an average built man with a thick, black mustache and soul patch under his lips, he also has dark black, slick backed hair that curls at the end. He is always seen in elegant suits or fancy clothing, often wearing a black and red vest with a blue and white pinstripe shirt, with gold chains on his vest, sometimes with a smart black jacket and, more commonly, a black hat. During the Saint Denis bank robbery, he wears a white shirt and red vest with a long, black tailcoat. While in exile on Guarma, his appearance becomes unkempt; he has an elongated moustache and he develops stubble around his face, while his white shirt and red waistcoat that he wore for the robbery become loose and tattered.

During the first chapter, he wears a navy blue, knee-length winter coat and rifleman gloves, and when he attends the mayor's party, he wears a black three-piece suit and a top hat, but with his bow tie and waistcoat being an off-white silver.

1907

During the Epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2, Dutch briefly appears with an unkempt beard and even longer hair with grey streaks, wearing a very long, thick, black winter coat and gloves.

1911

By 1911, Dutch has aged considerably and has large white streaks through the sides and top of his hair, but has regained some of its previous color since 1907. He has also gained some weight and wears an orange shirt and brown pants with a black and silver necklace. He also shaved his beard off, sporting a mustache without the soul patch and shorter hair.

Relationships

Main article: Dutch van der Linde/Relationships

Mission appearances

Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption 2

Quotes

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • "You coming, buddy?" – Dutch to Arthur after rescuing him from Rhodes jail.
  • "We need to get those people warm and fed." – Dutch to Arthur during the midst of a blizzard.
  • "We are gonna borrow a little money from old Uncle Sam, and be out of his hair, once and for all." – Dutch to the gang.
  • "You kill, I kill. You rob, I rob. Only difference I can see is I choose whom I kill, and rob, while you destroy everything in your path." – Dutch to Leviticus Cornwall
  • "Hello, son. Mrs. Adler, been quite a while." – Dutch reintroducing himself to John in 1907
  • "I ain't got too much to say no more..." – Dutch, moments before shooting Micah

Red Dead Redemption

Single-player

  • "It's nice to see you again, John."

Multiplayer

  • "I saw your friends runnin' off with their tails between their legs."
  • "C'mon my fine, patriotic friends."
  • "Come closer, I've got a surprise for you."
  • "Who do you think you are?"
  • "Meet one of the few benefits of your civilization."
  • "Go to hell!"
  • "You should've stayed at home."
  • "You're all cowards!"
  • "You're weak; you always were. You never had the stomach for this."
  • "Well, come and get it then."
  • "I am settin' these people free."
  • "We'll kill every last one of you!"
  • "You're even weaker than I thought."
  • "Why don't you look me in the eye?"
  • "Get the hell away from me!"
  • "You're a dead man."
  • "I'll make you so sorry."
  • "You made a big mistake comin' here."
  • "This time, I'll make sure you're dead!"
  • "Crazy?! Oh, I'll show you crazy, you just keep comin'."
  • "We're takin' what's ours!"
  • "I'll cut your throat."
  • "Go back to your whore wife!"

Trivia

Red Dead Redemption

  • Ironically, Dutch uses a Semi-automatic Pistol, a prime symbol of future technology compared to the typical revolver still used by many, when he is against civilization and modernization himself. He also uses an automobile to flee from Blackwater after robbing the bank, which is also a prime symbol of modern technology, compared to the horse he previously had circa 1899.
  • In the mission "And The Truth Will Set You Free", when Dutch is forced off the machine gun, he has a High Power Pistol in his holster. When he is fleeing through the caves, the first time he fires at you is with a High Power Pistol, the second time he fires is with a Semi-automatic Pistol, and when he is cornered, he has a Cattleman Revolver, although on occasion the game will glitch and he will be holding a Semi-Automatic Pistol while sometimes in "The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)", he will have a Cattleman in his holster and the Semi-Automatic Pistol in his hand. This is most likely a glitch as it also happens to John sometimes in "The Gates of El Presidio" among other instances.
  • John implies that he still has respect for Dutch, when he says to Agent Ross, "I'd kill you a hundred times before I killed Dutch if it were an option." The fact that John says this even right after watching Dutch shoot an innocent woman in the head could raise concerns about John's character as a person but is likely meant to show John's opinion towards Ross, more arguably, who he sees as even worse than Dutch, probably because Ross has the power that he is corrupt with, which is the key thing Dutch has always been against as well as how John also condemned Dutch for being "the same crazy bastard he turned into" for murdering the innocent woman.
  • After Dutch's death, his lair can be explored. There is a well-stocked bookshelf and a desk with a typewriter, further emphasizing his intelligence and his paradoxical relationship with modernity. There is also a bathtub hidden behind a makeshift curtain.
    • These contradictions may also be intentionally emblematic of an underlying hypocrisy in Dutch and his gang. As John points out to Javier Escuella their philosophies were an excuse, which is something "[they] all knew." But it also could be speculated that Dutch did truly believe in his ideology (as well as Bill Williamson, Javier Escuella, John Marston and others), but lost his mind and moral code due to his disillusionment and feelings of futility of his ideology creating positive change beside murdering and robbing
  • At the edge of the cliff on the mission "And The Truth Will Set You Free" Dutch appears to be wounded in the torso despite appearing unharmed moments earlier.
  • Although it is never expressly revealed as to whether they were his precise target, Dutch appears to be a frighteningly skilled shooter, as he is able to shoot John's binoculars from well over 100 feet away. Dutch manages to do so from about a 70-degree upwards angle, with the wind, cold and gravity effects of being on a mountaintop working against him, and above all with a single shot from what is meant to be a mid-range pistol, taking little over a second to correct his aim.

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • In the mission "The New South", Dutch tells Arthur that his father was killed in a field in Pennsylvania fighting Southerners during the Civil War. This heavily suggests his father was killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most famous battles of the Civil War.
  • His alias "Aiden O'Malley" is a reference to a character with the same name in Grand Theft Auto IV.
  • Dutch's mother, Greta van der Linde, is buried in Blackwater and her grave can be found in the game beside the Blackwater chapel.
  • Dutch's speech on the cliff at the end of the mission "Favored Sons" mirrors his last words said to John Marston in "And The Truth Will Set You Free".
  • If the player antagonizes him enough, Dutch will shove Arthur. He shares this outcome with Micah.
  • During a random encounter at Horseshoe Overlook, Dutch will state to members of the gang that his mother's ancestry hails from Lincolnshire County in England, while his father's family is from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
  • Dutch uses a pair of custom Schofield Revolvers which have black, steel frames, pearl grips and golden engravings. While he is in Guarma, however, he uses a pair of Double-action Revolvers.
  • Arthur says that Dutch has a very strong bond with his horse, The Count. He also says that The Count won’t let anyone other than Dutch ride him, and that he was bucked "faster than a bull" when he once tried to mount it.
  • Dutch is seen with his own unique hunting knife, although it is never used.
  • Dutch has a unique looking bandana - it has a checked red and white pattern, which differs from the plain black colour that the rest of the gang use.
  • Dutch's more violent and aggressive personality change after Chapter 4 could be a result of brain damage, caused by a tram crash where Dutch suffered a concussion. However, given that Dutch's sanity began declining even before the failed robbery in Blackwater, it is most likely that this wasn’t the case.

Gallery

Red Dead Redemption

Promotional

In-game screenshots

Multiplayer

Red Dead Redemption 2

Artworks

Promotional

Trailers

References

  1. Red Dead Redemption - Game of the Year guidebook.

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