|“||It's a nasty world out there, and it's catching up with us...||„|
Strauss was born circa 1846 into poverty in the city of Vienna, Austria. By the age of twelve, his brother was already a petty crook beating night watchmen for food scraps. Strauss' father sold his youngest, a nine-year-old named Anna, away into bonded labor in order to provide for the rest of his family, breaking her brothers' hearts. Due to his health problems, Leopold was sent off to the United States with his uncle at seventeen, landing right in the middle of the New York City draft riots of 1863. The fiery, hellish-looking sight of war-torn Brooklyn gave Strauss's uncle a fatal heart attack, leaving Leopold all alone in an unfamiliar land. After running illegitimate scams for years, Dutch van der Linde picked up Strauss and inducted him into his gang, where he became the group's accountant and eventually started up a loan sharking business.
Events of Red Dead Redemption 2
Horseshoe Overlook chapter
Soon after the gang arrives at Horseshoe Overlook, Strauss goes into Valentine and starts up his loansharking business. He asks Arthur to collect money from three debtors: Chick Matthews, Mr. Wróbel, and Lilly Millet. Soon afterwards, Strauss gives Arthur the name of another debtor: Thomas Downes. During the confrontation with Mr. Downes, Arthur learns that he and his family are destitute and simply have nothing to give, along with the fact that Thomas has Tuberculosis. Disappointed, Arthur leaves the ranch and reports to Strauss that his visit was fruitless, as well as telling him that he was a "fool" to lend them money in the first place.
Thomas's wife Edith may show up at camp later cursing Strauss and informing him that her husband has died. Strauss is unmoved by this, and simply bequeaths the debt to Edith, who leaves the camp in distress.
Alongside John Marston, Strauss is briefly taken hostage in Valentine by Leviticus Cornwall's private guards, who wants Dutch brought to justice for robbing his train. In the ensuing gunfight, Leopold is shot in the leg and has to be carried to safety by the other gang members.
Clemens Point chapter
Strauss gives Arthur two names of the men he needs to collect money from. The first one, a unemployed man named Winton Holmes, is located in a camp north of Strawberry and is unable to pay back his debt. However, he has been tracking a rare white cougar and says he plans to slay it and use its pelt to pay back his debts. The endeavor is successful, and Arthur slays the cougar, although Winton loses his life in the process.
The other, Gwyn Hughes, is an undertaker apprentice who is unable to pay back his debt. To do so, he exhumes the corpse of an old lady who was buried with a diamond brooch. With this money, his debt is repaid.
Later on, as Arthur prepares to rob a bank with Bill, Karen and Lenny, Strauss asks him to collect the last of the debt from Thomas' wife Edith, since she had inherited the debt after his death. Arthur does so, and the debt is repaid.
Saint Denis chapter
Strauss asks Arthur to collect money from a fisherman named Algie Davison. Algie tells Arthur he has the money, before attacking him and attempting to kill him. After Algie is dealt with, his son Nate gives Arthur the location of the money.
Strauss also assists the gang in robbing a wealthy businessman and gambler Desmond Blythe on The Grand Korrigan riverboat. During a poker game, he sits behind Blythe and subtly conveys to Arthur whether or not he should bet, based on how good Blythe's hand is. Later, the guards are alerted due to the sound of Arthur's gunshot upstairs, resulting in Leopold escaping with Arthur, Javier, and Trelawny. When they get to shore, Arthur shows Strauss the Reutlinger pocket watch, who confirms that it is a genuine Reutlinger.
Beaver Hollow chapter
Arthur finds Weathers on the roadside in Grizzlies East, where he is trying to fix a broken wagon. Weathers tells Arthur he can't pay off the debt in money, but Arthur can have his supplies instead. Almost immediately afterwards, US Army soldiers from Fort Wallace come to arrest Weathers for desertion, resulting in he and Arthur having to fight off the group. Afterwards, a Wapiti woman reveals herself, who Weathers has entered a relationship with. Weathers offers Arthur the woman's silver locket as his payment, and the player is then given the choice to either absolve the debt, or accept the payment.
After dealing with Weathers, Arthur goes to Annesburg to collect from Londonderry. Unfortunately, the foreman at the mine informs Arthur that Londonderry has died, but suggests that his widow could perhaps pay back the debt. After riding to his widow's house, Arthur discovers that due to Strauss's debt, the Londonderry family have had to work many odd jobs to pay it off and thus got themselves indebted to many others in the process. It soon becomes apparent that Mrs. Londonderry cannot pay it off, and that she cannot sustain herself or her child as it is (while also having to sell her property). Arthur can then choose to just absolve the debt, or give her money in addition to this.
After returning to camp, Arthur has a conscience crisis and decides to banish Strauss from camp for ruining so many lives with his loansharking, in addition to the fact that Strauss was inadvertently responsible for getting Arthur sick, from his confrontation with Thomas Downes.
When John is leaving with Charles in Saint Denis, he informs John that Strauss was captured by the Pinkertons and interrogated. He died in custody without revealing any information about the gang; John praises him for staying loyal until his death, saying he was an example of someone who was “strong in ways you can’t see”.
Strauss was noted to be a serious and unemotional man, which allowed him to be effective in his job as the main operator behind the Van der Linde gang's loan sharking business. Despite this, he was extremely devoted to the gang, refusing to give up any of his friends to the Pinkertons despite being expelled from the gang and being under torture. Strauss' eventual death in custody ultimately meant that he sacrificed himself for the gang, thus achieving his own redemption in the process.
Strauss is a 53-year-old man with grey hair, a long nose, big ears, thin lips, and a somewhat large mouth. He usually wears a white shirt, a light grey jacket, dark grey trousers, boots and a pair of glasses. Sometimes, he is seen wearing a dark green waistcoat instead of his grey jacket, and he wears a multicolored scarf while in Colter.
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- "Outlaws from the West"
- "Enter, Pursued by a Memory"
- "Eastward Bound"
- "Money Lending and Other Sins I"
- "Money Lending and Other Sins II"
- "Money Lending and Other Sins III"
- "The Sheep and the Goats"
- "A Strange Kindness"
- "Money Lending and Other Sins IV"
- "Sodom? Back to Gomorrah"
- "Blood Feuds, Ancient and Modern"
- "The Battle of Shady Belle"
- "Money Lending and Other Sins V"
- "A Fine Night of Debauchery"
- "Horsemen, Apocalypses"
- "Fleeting Joy"
- "That's Murfree Country"
- "Money Lending and other Sins VI"
- "Money Lending and Other Sins VII"
|“||Herr Morgan, Herr Morgan. Busy, my friend?||„|
|—Strauss initiating "Money Lending and Other Sins I & II"|
|“||You know how it is... people is happy to borrow off someone like me, but more enthusiastic paying back to someone like you.||„|
|—Strauss encouraging Arthur to collect the debts.|
|“||It's legal work, Mr. Morgan. Debtors belong in prison... we are doing them a favor.||„|
|—Strauss' reaction to Arthur criticising his loan sharking business|
|“||Well, people who aren't desperate don't seem so interested in my propositions.||„|
|—Leopold about loan sharking|
|“||I don't believe in absolutes, just shades of gray. Compromises.||„|
|—Strauss in a conversation with Dutch during "The Sheep and the Goats"|
|“||Well, it turns out the pursuit of freedom is not a cheap business. Not for us, and not for some of the locals.||„|
|—Strauss about his new clients: Winton Holmes and Gwyn Hughes|
|“||The man, the debtor, Thomas Downes... apparently he's dead. His wife... I believe he has a wife and child. She will assume the debt of course.||„|
|—Strauss informing Arthur about Thomas Downes' death|
|“||I rather fancied Australia. A similar kind of people to us... lots of opportunity.||„|
|—Strauss about the gang's future|
|“||By the age of twelve, my brother was beating night watchmen so he could steal some bread for us. My little sister, Anna. She was sold into servitude by father at the age of nine. We cried so much the day she left.||„|
|—Strauss about his past|
|“||Nice watch. Yes, it's a Reutlinger alright.||„|
|—Leopold about the take in "A Fine Night of Debauchery"|
|“||Your commitment to your duties is admirable. You know, Mr. Morgan, you are... well, I'm sorry for you.||„|
|—Leopold about Arthur's illness|
|“||You know... they-they say the sick delude themselves. I was your friend.||„|
|—Strauss confused about Arthur throwing him out of camp.|
- Strauss’ biography inaccurately states he was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which wasn't formed until 1867. He was actually born in the Austrian Empire.
- Despite being born in Austria, Wróbel refers to him as a Prussian while Arthur Morgan is searching his home.
- During camp Poker game's Strauss says that his brother taught him to play during a winter in Vienna, and that he never beat him once.
- After being kicked out of camp by Arthur in "Money Lending and Other Sins VI & VII", he can be seen riding away on a light gray Shire horse.