Ross and his superior, Andrew Milton, approach Arthur Morgan while he is out fishing with little Jack Marston at a river near Horseshoe Overlook. Milton tries to make a deal with Arthur, whereby if he hands over Dutch van der Linde to the Pinkertons, he will not be hanged for his crimes. Arthur angrily turns down the offer and the agents leave, with Ross mockingly telling Jack to enjoy fishing while he still can.
Ross and Milton approach Dutch and his gang at their camp in Clemens Point. Milton tries to convince the gang to turn on Dutch in exchange for being allowed to flee for a short time. This fails however, and the agents leave empty-handed.
Edgar Ross is seen in Annesburg with his superior, Agent Milton, while leaving a business meeting with Leviticus Cornwall. After Cornwall berates them for their lack of progress, Milton tells Ross that the pair have work to do.
Following Milton's death, Ross leads a large group of Pinkertons up to Beaver Hollow. While not physically seen, he can be heard yelling orders to his men and telling the gang to surrender.
At some point after 1899, Ross left the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Later on, Ross joined the National Bureau of Criminal Identification, an association tasked with recording information of criminal activity and assisting law enforcement. Ross continued to excel in his duty, attaining further praise and respect.
In 1907, Ross is appointed as the director of the early federal law enforcement body, the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) which would later become known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Ross and his new associate agent, Archer Fordham, find the corpse of Micah Bell in his hideout at Mount Hagen, and this puts them on a manhunt for the killer. The two agents are seen going to various towns and locations, interviewing a number of people. After going through Valentine and Rhodes, they manage to trace the culprit to John Marston at his ranch in Beecher's Hope, where they see him teaching Jack how to groom a horse. Just before the end credits roll, Ross and Fordham look on the ranch and leave, plotting their next move.
Events of Red Dead Redemption
Edgar is the 50-year-old leader of the local, fledgling government agency. He is a man whose faded physical prowess has been supplanted by his mental acuteness - a cynic who sees the worst in everyone, and who loves the power that the government has recently granted him. He sees himself as an individual who is completely above any law.
—Description of Ross in the GOTY Edition guide of Red Dead Redemption.
In 1911, prior to the events of Red Dead Redemption, Ross takes John Marston's family away from him in order to strong-arm him into hunting down some of his former comrades from the Van der Linde gang. Following the abduction of Abigail and Jack Marston, Ross and Fordham are seen escorting John Marston to the train station in Blackwater, during the opening credits of Red Dead Redemption. Ross is juxtaposed to Marston as wearing an unusually immodest three-piece suit.
Ross is only partially explained through early gameplay references to government agents in Blackwater and is obscured through Marston's reluctance to explicitly state his situation to his various allies.
After the player captures or kills Javier Escuella, Ross is seen to converse and exert his unique brand of self-righteous condescension on Marston. The player is required to meet Ross and Fordham at a bridge crossing between New Austin and Nuevo Paraíso. There, Ross leaves the player with instructions to further pursue Bill Williamson and return to Blackwater upon completion, before Javier is taken away in the automobile, dead or alive.
With Williamson and Escuella dealt with, Ross and his partner in the Bureau, Archer Fordham, are still unsatisfied. They then directly work with Marston in the Blackwater area to help him track down his former gang leader and mentor, Dutch van der Linde. After rescuing their informant, Nastas, from the Wreck of the Serendipity and attempting to prevent Dutch and his gang from robbing the Blackwater bank, Ross decides to launch a final dramatic assault on Van der Linde's camp with the assistance of the U.S. Army. During the assault, Marston eventually corners Dutch. Dutch chooses to commit suicide by throwing himself from a cliff; declaring to Marston that their time is up and that the Bureau will find another "monster" to justify their wages, a reference to the federal government's manipulation and the pursuit of them, and foreshadowing Ross's betrayal of Marston.
After Van der Linde's death, Ross is unimpressed with Marston's inability to have shot Dutch himself. Taking Marston's pistol and shooting Van Der Linde's mangled corpse, Ross states that it "looks better in the report that way". Ross and Fordham finally and unceremoniously relinquish their custody of Abigail and Jack, telling Marston they can be found at the Marston ranch on Beecher's Hope. Marston reunites with his family, living in peace with them and enjoying the life he had worked and killed for.
Though John lives peacefully for a time, Ross later violates the agreement in order to wipe out the Van der Linde gang. With the help of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marshals, Ross launches an all-out assault on the ranch in Beecher's Hope. Marston holds off waves of the attackers, fighting mercilessly to defend his family. Eventually, the Marston family retreats to a barn, and John sends his wife Abigail and his son Jack away from the ranch on a horse. Ross and his agents surround the barn, fully armed with their guns pointed at the door.
Deciding to sacrifice himself in order to secure his family's future, and accepting that he is not leaving the ranch alive, Marston exits the barn slowly and faces the attackers. Pulling out his gun, Marston takes down as many soldiers as he can, but is quickly gunned down by the firing squad, of which Ross himself is a member. Ross is seen in the crowd lighting a cigar as Marston falls to his knees. Marston does not acknowledge Ross or say a word. After drawing his last breath, Marston collapses. Ross, the lawmen, and the soldiers then leave the ranch, leaving John's dead body to be found by Jack and Abigail.
Three years pass, and Ross continues working in Blackwater under the Federal Bureau, until retiring in 1913. During this time, Abigail dies of unspecified causes and Jack grows into a nineteen-year-old man.
After paying respects and mourning at the graves of John, Abigail, and Uncle, Jack returns to Blackwater. At the train station, he runs into Howard Sawicki, a younger Bureau agent, and inquires about Edgar Ross. He learns that Ross had received a "chest full of medals", and that he retired to a small cabin with his wife on Lake Don Julio in Cholla Springs, New Austin. Despite his retirement, however, it is apparent that the Bureau still hounds Ross for work due to his level of fame within their organization.
Jack Marston visits Ross' retirement home in Lake Don Julio, where he meets Edgar's wife, Emily Ross. She tells him that he is hunting with his brother, Phillip Ross, on the south side of the San Luis River, in Mexico. Jack then crosses into Mexico and finds his brother hunting along Rio del Toro. Phillip tells Jack that Edgar is hunting ducks downstream. Proceeding west along the river, Jack discovers Edgar shooting at a flock of ducks and confronts him about the death of his father.
Ross shows no remorse for having betrayed and killed John, claiming the one ultimately responsible was John himself and the life John lived. Ross declares that he would similarly have no hesitation to kill Jack, then tells him to leave before he kills him. Jack refuses to leave, resulting in a climactic duel. Ross is gunned down, thus Jack is successful in avenging John.
You see we - me and Archer - we're the bad guys. We enforce the rules. Now, while the rules may not be perfect, they're really not so bad. Yeah, see I'll tell you what the alternative is. It's not complicated. It's about one man and his gun versus another man. Sure, civilization may be dull, but the alternative, Mr. Marston, is hell.
Throughout the events of Red Dead Redemption, Ross is portrayed to epitomize the unfair and detestable nature of the corruption in the federal government during its time. He is indifferent, snide, amoral, disloyal, unscrupulous and inequitable to a fault. This is demonstrated most when he abducted John Marston's family in order to strong-arm him into hunting the former members of the Van der Linde gang, changing the terms of their agreement in order to suit his needs, and subsequently betraying Marston, despite all he had done for Ross.
Ross advocates federalism and acknowledges the hypocrisy of his methods as necessary, displaying an 'end justifies the means' attitude to law enforcement. Ross views himself as someone who enforces the rules and explains to John that the alternative outcome to having rules in civilization is simply "hell". Even though Ross admits the potential corruption of law enforcement, he still views himself and the agency as more justified than the outlaws they hunt, namely Dutch van der Linde. While Ross places the agency on a higher moral high ground than outlaws, he himself doesn't seem to be motivated by any morally justifiable reasons. Throughout Red Dead Redemption, Ross is only concerned with achieving personal glory and even mocks the citizens of Blackwater by calling them "scum" while berating John Marston. Ross' disdain for outlaws is also shown in Red Dead Redemption 2, when he mockingly tells four-year-old Jack Marston to enjoy his fishing when he still can, just for the sake of it.
In several instances throughout the game, Ross displays a rather dark, dry, morbid sense of humor. He joked that Abigail was "killed in a prison riot last week" and at one point threatened John with execution by electric chair instead of allowing him to see his family, if John did not co-operate with them.
He may have also held some prejudicial views, like calling Nastas a savage after first encountering him, and assuming that he might not speak English even after being told that Nastas was an informant.
Ross is a purveyor of modernism and scientific progress, expressing his support for future technology and new discoveries. Despite being older than Marston, Ross chooses to ride in automobiles and use modern weapons.
Edgar Ross has slightly buzzed dark brown hair with a thick mustache. Ross is always seen wearing his Pinkerton uniform: a crimson Parisian vest and dark grey frock coat, a bowler hat with silver trimmings accompanied by black pants and matching tie.
As of 1907, Ross' appearance has been altered somewhat. He has aged slightly, with what appears to be small amounts of grey in his now middle-parted hair. He is not seen with a bowler hat, and instead wears an ascot tie, a crimson opulent vest with a chain, black riding gloves and an equally dark frock coat.
By 1911, Ross has aged considerably. His hairline has receded and his hair and mustache have completely grayed; he also appears to be shorter. He wears a three-piece suit, consisting of a beige dress jacket with a grey vest and a white shirt beneath, all while sporting a red tie and a brown bowler hat.
In 1914, Ross' facial appearance is the same. However, his attire has changed since his retirement, consisting of an off-white shirt with beige suspenders along with a red bandanna and wide brimmed hat.
Nobody is playing games with you, Mr. Marston, but if we were to play some games there would be some very interesting ones we could play. Like hanging you for murder, or confiscating all your property like that little farm of yours, or putting you in an electric chair. Those are the sorts of games we could play, but we chose to play a different game, so calm down, and play along with us.
The life you lived.. you don't just walk away from that, buy a few chickens and make it all disappear. You should be dead or rotting in a jail cell by now. We are giving you a chance at new life, a chance at redemption. You can't erase the past, Mr. Marston... But we can.
Come on, Marston. Moral degeneracy waits for no man. Let's hurry along.
Mr. Marston, please, I have never insulted your meager intelligence. Do not insult mine.
Come on, Archer, let's go find somebody else we can annoy.
Oh, spare me the noble savage fall on my sword tripe, will you, old boy? It's nauseating. You don't wish to be dead. You're an insignificant creature, desperately clinging onto life like the rest of the scum in this town.
Yeah, I know it's tough. You like Dutch. He's a charming fellow. He makes sense. He's like one of those nature writers from back East. Only he takes things a tiny little step too far. Rather than just loving the flowers and the animals and the harmony between man and beast, he shoots people in the head for money. And disagreeing with him. Now, I'm not a great intellect, but the metaphysical leap from admiring a flower to shooting a man in the head because he doesn't like a flower, is a leap too far.
"Edgar" is an English name, meaning "fortunate and powerful".
"Ross" is a Scottish surname, referring to a region in northern Scotland; it is derived from Gaelic "ros", meaning "promontory" or "headland".
Ross' height seems to differ between games. While in Redemption I he is much shorter than most characters like John and Fordham, in Redemption II he appears to be around the same height as Fordham and others like Milton.
The character of Ross shares numerous traits and thematic elements with Frank Tenpenny, the main antagonist of Rockstar Games' 2004 title Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Both are presented as corrupted law enforcers who abuse their power and connections to force the protagonist into working under their guidance, all while being portrayed as highly hypocritical individuals.
Edgar Ross and Jack Marston are the only two major characters who appear in all four years of time in which the story takes place: 1899, 1907, 1911 and 1914.
Ross and Jack Marston only appear to directly meet on two occasions - at the beginning and end of the Redemption saga. On both occasions, one of them is on the bank of a river and Ross was holding a shotgun and holstering a Cattleman Revolver.
Red Dead Redemption
Despite being a "man of modernism" he is seen using the Winchester Repeater as his weapon of choice, a model introduced in 1892 and was almost two decades in production by the time the events of Red Dead Redemption occurred.
Similarly, his favored handgun, the High Power Pistol, was already about 8 years into production as of 1911.
Ross' corpse can be looted for $400 after the duel.
If a powerful handgun is used, Ross' corpse might fall into the river, not allowing players to loot him unless pushed out of the river by walking slowly into the corpse.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Ross' relationship with Agent Milton is fairly ambiguous. While they do share similar views on society, it is unknown whether they cared for each other as comrades or whether Ross saw Milton’s death as an opportunity to advance his own career.
Despite working with the Bureau, in 1907 Ross still wears his badge from the Pinkerton Detective Agency.