Between Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Redemption, Dutch has gone into hiding. Following a botched robbery in 1906, in which John Marston was wounded and left for dead by the other gang members, Dutch's increasing violence pushed the members apart until the group was disbanded. Dutch faked his death and disappeared, possibly to Columbia. Unbeknownst to the people living in West Elizabeth, Dutch survived and after a few years in hiding, he founded a new gang, mainly comprised of Native Americans.
Events of Red Dead Redemption
Following the death of Bill Williamson at the hands of John Marston in Escalera, the former outlaw is sent after the leader of his old gang, Dutch van der Linde. Edgar Ross, the government agent assigned to John Marston, sent him after his former boss.
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John teamed up with a Native American double agent working with Dutch's new gang, as well as professor named Harold MacDougal in order to track down Dutch, who was hiding out in Cochinay, his mountain camp. After John fights his way up to the hideout, he takes down one of Dutch's scouts and uses his binoculars to scope out the gang leader. He first witnesses Dutch killing a lawman, but John's position is given away so he saw through the binoculars that Dutch took aim at him. The shot smashed the binoculars, but John got off with just a knockout.
Operating on the knowledge that Dutch and his new gang are preparing for a bank robbery, John and a group of soldiers prepare an ambush for the outlaw. Their plan falls apart after the gang murders a civilian, and they fail to break through the gang's defenses initially, and even when they finally do, it's only achieved with Marston's help. John rushes forward to confront Dutch, but his former boss has taken an unnamed woman as a human shield. When the opportunity for escape presents itself, he shoots the hostage and escapes.
Following the botched mission, Marston meets Professor MacDougal in the Blackwater hotel to discuss their next move, but this time Dutch is on the offensive and surrounds the building with his posse, shouting to John that he will kill him and the Professor for sport. The duo escape via rooftop and John fends off pursuing gang members, escorting MacDougal to the Manzanita Post train station.
Later, Ross sends Marston and the US Army to Dutch's hideout, where they wipe out his gang in a long battle. Eventually reaching Dutch, John and he confront one another in a final duel which John wins, pushing Dutch back to a cliff. Here they converse about their conflict, and Dutch explains that he cannot change and defy his own nature, and tells John that they (outlaws, believers of old values) are a 'dying breed'. He then jumps to his death, preferring that fate over capture.
When Edgar Ross catches up to them, Dutch is already dead, but the agent takes John's gun and shoots the body. Since it was John's mission to hunt down his former gang, him killing Dutch would 'look better on the reports'.
During Red Dead Redemption 2, Dutch is much more in control of his own emotions than he is after the dissolution of the gang and during Marston's hunt for him. He's assertive, charismatic and always elegant. Moving westward, he intended to lead the gang far enough so that they are beyond the reach of the law where they can live free, away from the perceived oppression of the modern world, and he is driven by these ideals instead of malicious intent in planning the gang's heists. However, his path to insanity and disillusionment begins as the gang starts falling apart.
Initially, Dutch was an idealistic renegade operating on the fringes of society, breaking the law while following his own moral code. His initial persona lines up almost completely with a generic Robin Hood fable, as he was an anti-government militant stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, opposing governmental oversight and control, fighting for ideals of liberty and independence, and using these tenets to justify his many crimes including thievery, burglary and murder. He saw himself and his gang members as warriors of the people, gunslingers sticking it to the man, so to say. He believed in an anarchist utopia, and that the actions of his gang would make the world a better place in the long run, using ends to justify means.
However, the opposite of this vision was becoming reality right before his eyes. Increased government oversight and the influx of new technologies were killing the typical frontier way of life that has existed in the Wild West for an era, and with the long-term goal clearly impossible to achieve, the atrocities Dutch committed in the name of this better world became just that - atrocities. This hopelessness and confrontation with his own deeds disheartened the gang leader profoundly. He drowned his sadness in further crime, masking it with growing outbursts of violence no longer restricted by his former moral code.
This devolution from an idealist faux-revolutionary into an everyday outlaw thug also affected those who followed him. The members of Dutch's Gang joined the outlaw precisely because of his attractive vision of the future and his 'mission', and seeing him abandon it out of hopelessness also disheartened them.
Due to his father's role in the Civil War, Dutch harbored a dislike of Southeners.
Red Dead Redemption
- "Great Men Are Not Always Wise"
- "At Home With Dutch"
- "The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)"
- "And The Truth Will Set You Free"
Red Dead Redemption 2
- "Outlaws from the West"
- "Old Friends"
- "Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall?"
- "Eastward Bound"
- "Americans at Rest"
- "Paying a Social Call"
- "A Quiet Time"
- "A Fisher of Men"
- "The Sheep and the Goats"
- "A Strange Kindness"
- "The New South"
- "American Distillation"
- "Advertising, The New American Art"
- "Magicians for Sport"
- "Blessed are the Peacemakers"
- "Blood Feuds, Ancient and Modern"
- "The Battle of Shady Belle"
- "The Joys of Civilization"
- "Angelo Bronte, A Man of Honor"
- "The Gilded Cage"
- "Horsemen, Apocalypses"
- "Urban Pleasures"
- "Country Pursuits"
- "Revenge is a Dish Best Eaten"
- "Banking, The Old American Art"
- "Welcome to the New World"
- "A Kind and Benevolent Despot"
- "Hell Hath No Fury"
- "Paradise Mercifully Departed"
- "Dear Uncle Tacitus"
- "Fleeting Joy"
- "That's Murfree Country"
- "Visiting Hours"
- "Just a Social Call"
- "A Rage Unleashed"
- "Goodbye, Dear Friend"
- "Favored Sons"
- "My Last Boy"
- "Our Best Selves"
- "Red Dead Redemption"
- "Old Habits"
- "American Venom"
- While Dutch's nationality is never brought up in the storyline, and he has a strong western American accent, many references to him being from the Netherlands are made. However, it is never clear whether these are just done for fun, or if they indicate he is indeed Dutch in more than just name. Beyond his family name, van der Linde (adhering to correct Dutch spelling where "van" and "der" are not capitalized), his orange outfit matches the national colors of the Netherlands.
- Dutch was partially depicted as some kind of intellectual warrior in spite of his crimes. He is often referred to as being learned, and following his death, the area of his hideout can be explored, revealing a small library and a desk with a typewriter, meaning he was interested in consuming and producing literature.
- In Red Dead Redemption, Dutch can be seen carrying the semi-automatic pistol and the Cattleman revolver.
- Dutch's mother Greta is buried in Blackwater.
- Dutch occasionally uses an alias "Aiden O'Malley", which is a reference to GTA 4.