A gang of criminals, dissidents and free-thinkers who have chosen to reject a corrupt system of power and live instead by their own code. As the price on their heads continues to grow, so does the struggle to remain free.
Dutch van der Linde led two distinct groups of outlaws across the Red Dead series, all named after him. For the sake of clarity, "Dutch's Gang" will be used to refer to the gang in Red Dead Redemption, whereas the "Van der Linde Gang" will be used to refer to the gang in Red Dead Redemption 2.
The Van der Linde Gang, occasionally referred to as Dutch's Boys is a central organization in Red Dead Redemption 2. This gang is disbanded by the end of Red Dead Redemption 2, setting the scene for the changed dynamic of Red Dead Redemption.
By the end of Red Dead Redemption, neither of the two gangs are active.
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Circa 1877, Dutch, then merely a common thief, encountered Hosea Matthews, another robber, on the road to Chicago. The two tried to rob one another, and were impressed by each other's skills, and laughed it off as a result. This sparked a friendship between the two, and they went on to found the Van Der Linde Gang with Dutch as its leader and Hosea as his right-hand man. In the early years of the gang, Hosea crossed paths with Bessie, a woman who would later become his wife.
Around this time, Dutch's ideology cemented, and his dream of a "savage utopia" was born. He wanted his gang to endeavor to steal from the rich and the wicked in order to give and help those in need, or those who are honorable but are tread upon by "the system". Dutch hoped their actions would serve as an example and that others who felt the same way would follow suite.
One of the gang's earliest cons took place in Ohio, in the town of Kettering. The pair managed to swindle twelve locals out of $300 by claiming to be merchants selling fabricated shares for a fictional company. After they were discovered, the local sheriff imprisoned them, however they managed to escape, all the while tying up said sheriff and robbing him.
Still in 1877, the gang grew further. Dutch, Hosea and Bessie met a young Arthur Morgan and de facto adopted the child. Dutch met and became romantically involved with Susan Grimshaw who'd join the gang as a result, and the group also picked up Copper, a pet dog with whom Arthur bonded. Together, they taught Arthur a number of skills useful for an outlaw, like shooting and hunting, as well as undertaking his education by teaching him how to write, read.
Soon after, Hosea and Bessie temporarily left the gang in order to start a legitimate, lawful life. Hosea kept drifting back to Dutch's side and eventually rejoined the gang in earnest, with Bessie sticking with him through it all. Dutch and Susan broke up, but the latter remained a gang member, and Dutch became involved with a new woman called Annabelle.
Some years later, in 1885, the gang was moving through Illinois where they happened upon some angry locals trying to hang a young John Marston. They taught John all the same skills they taught Arthur, and the two young gang members grew as close as brothers. Dutch would read philosophy to them while speaking at length about his worldview, trying to raise the boys to be honorable but distrustful of the government. John quickly became the gang leader's favorite.
Two years later, the Van Der Linde Gang successfully pulled off its first bank robbery. Looting $5000 worth of gold, the gang ended up distributing amongst the poor people of the town. They visited orphanages, shanty towns and run-down hovels in particular, helping out those in need. While it isn't specified, it is likely that this robbery is what made Dutch a wanted man, as he first gained a price on his head around this time.
Over the years, Dutch often encountered Colm O'Driscoll and his own gang, the O'Driscoll Boys. Dutch and Colm are almost utter opposites, with Colm mocking Dutch's ideals and considering his followers to be expendable. Initially, the gangs had a truce, and even reluctantly cooperated in some jobs in spite of their differences, but this situation radically changed when Dutch killed Colm's brother for unknown reasons. In order to take revenge, Colm killed Annabelle, which greatly soured Dutch and led to open hostility between the gangs. The feud would last until the O'Driscoll Boys were disbanded.
Over the course of the ensuing years, the Van Der Linde Gang traveled all throughout the west, pulling job after job. Dutch maintained his philosophy and world view in the face of adversity, but eventually the world eroded his faith in his ideas. Seeing modernity and "civilization" encroach upon even the furthest reaches of the west, we'd become increasingly disillusioned.
During this time, the gang grew significantly, taking on all sorts of folk who wanted to escape their lives for some reason or other. As time went on, the gang put less and less effort into helping the needy, and rather began to focus on supporting itself and ensuring the survival of its members in relative comfort. As things deteriorated, Dutch became associated with Leopold Strauss and entered the loansharking business, which often preyed on those already poor to begin with.
Due to the initial mission and morals of the gang being increasingly ignored, and the increase of violence and killing carried out during jobs, Hosea Matthews would become entirely disillusioned. Nonetheless, he stayed with the gang due to his friendship with Dutch.
The gang grew with all sorts of misfits and castaways during this period. The Callander brothers - Mac and Davey - joined up as muscle, and would later be described as "vicious bastards". Mary-Beth Gaskill was saved from a vengeful man whom she pickpocketed. Simon Pearson joined up to be the gang's cook, and had a storied past in the Navy. Tilly Jackson joined after she had to flee another gang she was part of for killing the cousin of that gang's leader, Anthony Foreman. Karen Jones brought in her conning skills, and was good with a pistol too. The man simply known as Uncle was a thief who was picked up for his skills, but allowed to stay for his ability to entertain once the former turned out to be less of an attribute.
In a kind of trend, several gang members started out trying to rob Dutch only to be recruited - Sean McGuire and Bill Williamson. While usually, it was the gang saving the new members, Orville Swanson was the one who saved Dutch during their meeting, and the drug addicted reverend joined up. Josiah Trelawny became associated with the gang as well, and though technically a member, he'd often disappear at length and then appear once more. As an informant, this was considered conducive to his work and thus allowed.
Just as the gang gained members, sometimes it lost some too. A gang member who would not be named is mentioned to have betrayed Dutch and his followers at some point, for which they hunted down and killed him. Later on, around the same time when Bill joined the group, he introduced them to Abigail Roberts, a prostitute who would join the gang to service its members until she fell in love with John Marston, and gave birth to Jack, John's son. The gang would raise Jack collectively, with all the members acting as aunts and uncles.
Soon after Jack was born, John left the gang for a year. Due to Abigail being a prostitute and thus having sexual relations with most gang members, Jack's parentage was uncertain which caused a great deal of friction between John, Abigail and the rest of the gang. Arthur, who was particularly close with John, felt his departure to be a betrayal. While John returned a year later and was welcomed with open arms by most, the damage done to his relationship with Arthur was permanent and the rift between them would only grow.
Javier Escuella joined the gang in 1895. Dutch met him while the two were stealing chickens from the same pen, and Dutch brought the young Mexican former revolutionary on board. Due to a great deal of similarities between their ideals - even though Dutch's were fading - Javier became one of Dutch's most loyal followers.
In the winter of 1898, the gang enjoyed its most peaceful era, though the preceding journey was difficult. Moving through Montana, the gang's dog Copper died after eating several large salmon caught by Hosea, and the gang moved through difficult terrain during the colder months. However, once they settled in the western foothills of the Grizzlies, they lived in peace for a while with plentiful food. At this time, Dutch found a plot of land for sale that they could purchase to live as they see fit, however he became suspicious of law enforcement, and the gang had to travel once more.
On their way through the Grizzlies, several more new members joined the Van Der Linde Gang. These included Charles Smith and Lenny Summers, the latter of whom would develop a strong mentor-mentee relationship with Hosea. Jenny Kirk was also picked up when they met her on the roadside. A fateful encounter with Micah Bell also resulted in his recruitment - Bell saved Dutch's life when the latter angered locals buy trying to sell them stolen gold.
Moving further east, the gang wound up in West Elizabeth. The biggest town in the region, Blackwater, was going through significant changes as it was being industrialized. Micah persuaded Dutch to rob a boat coming to the town carrying a motherlode from a bank, in spite of vehement disagreement from both Hosea and Arthur.
As preparation, the gang surveyed possible places in New Austin to hide out in following the heist. The robbery went ahead, however the agents of the Pinkerton Detective Agency ambushed the gang with suspicious haste. The following battle and desperate escape was a disaster. Dutch killed an innocent bystander called Heidi McCourt in a particularly cruel way, and gang members John, Jenny, Mac and Davey were injured.
The gang managed to loot the money and stash it in a safe place, and following Dutch, they escaped into the mountains of Ambarino.
Events of Red Dead Redemption 2
The gang succeeded in escaping immediate pursuit from the Pinkerton agents. Dutch led them far north, through the mountains. The further north the gang travelled the colder the weather became, and in spite of it being May, heavy snowfall slowed them down. A blizzard helped mask their tracks and delay the law enforcement. Out of caution, Dutch sent Micah and John ahead into the wilderness as scouts.
In the meantime, Arthur found a suitable place for the gang to set up camp in, at least temporarily. Colter, an abandoned mining town provided some shelter from the cold. Jenny and Davey, two of the wounded from the heist, die before the gang reaches Colter however. The weather and the losses have broken the morale of the gang, so Dutch tries to raise spirits with an inspirational speech, before heading out with Arthur to seek out the scouts.
While the pair are out looking for John and Micah, Arthur tries to ask Dutch about what went wrong during the Blackwater robbery, but Dutch is avoidant. Before their conversation goes anywhere, they happen upon Micah who discovered an inhabited homestead nearby, and the three plan to ride up and ask for some help. As they get closer, they find a dead body by a ruined cart and a pack of O'Driscoll thugs squatting in the house.
After killing most of the O'Driscolls, Arthur learns from one of the thugs that their gang is planning a train heist. Meanwhile, Micah finds Sadie Adler hiding in the cellar, whom he mistakes for another O'Driscoll thug, while she thinks the same of him, causing a struggle. In the fight, a lantern is knocked over setting fire to the house. Dutch manages to clear up the confusion, and it turns out that the dead body outside was Sadie's husband whom the O'Driscolls murdered. They escape the burning house, and Dutch offers to bring Sadie to the camp.
When the trio return to camp, they learn that John hasn't yet. Arthur believes John has abandoned the Van Der Linde Gang once more, but the others are concerned. After some persuasion from Abigail, he and Javier go out to look for John the next day, whom they find badly injured in the wilderness. John recounts that he was attacked by wolves, and as Javier takes him back to camp, Arthur fights off some returning wolves.
Once everyone is back at the camp, Dutch and Hosea get into a disagreement about how to proceed. Hosea is critical of Dutch's plan and that the gang has been moving ever further east instead of returning to the West as planned. Dutch, on the other hand, is adamant that the best course of action is to sit out the storm, collect the stashed money, make some extra on top of it and then go back west. He also sends someone from the gang to give Sadie's husband a proper burial before they move on.
Charles Smith rides out with Arthur to hunt and gather food, giving the gang's cook Pearson something to make meals with. Micah and Bill get into a fight that's broken up by Dutch when he proposes an attack on the nearby O'Driscoll camp. Arthur cautions the gang leader, suspecting Dutch is motivated by a desire to get revenge, however he assures Arthur he wants to steal the O'Driscoll's dynamite and supplies in order to survive and grab the train heist from them.
When the gang assaults the camp, Colm has already left, leaving only thugs behind. The Van Der Linde Gang kills all of the O'Driscoll gang members, and find not only the dynamite but detailed plans for the train robbery as well. Using the plans, Dutch proceeds with the heist. Hosea cautions Dutch against the robbery because the train is owned by Levicitus Cornwall. Cornwall is highly influential and extremely wealthy, meaning crossing him will earn the gang a powerful enemy. Dutch laughs off the warning and sends Bill and Arthur to set up the dynamite.
Once the train arrives, the detonator fails meaning the dynamite doesn't explode as planned. Arthur, Lenny and Javier chase after the moving train and jump on, however Javier falls off. Arthur and Lenny managed to fight their way through and stop the locomotive, allowing the other members to catch up and help fend off the guards. Arthur recovers $1000 in bonds from the train, and the gang escapes.
Soon, the snow begins melting and the weather turns warmer. This prompts the gang to move on, and Dutch leads them to New Hanover. Here, Hosea suggests camping in Horseshoe Overlook, where they settle. On their way, their caravan was watched by some Wapiti scouts. Once settled, Dutch gives the gang another inspirational speech, and together they come up with a story to use if any questions arise. They're a recently laid-off group of workers from afar looking to eke out a living.
During their downtime in Horseshoe Overlook, Leopold Strauss begins loansharking and gives money to a few locals. Arthur saves an utterly drunk Reverend Swanson from being run over by a train nearby. A few of the gang members, specifically Tilly Jackson, Karen Jones and Mary-Beth Gaskill get bored staying in the Van Der Linde camp, and get Arthur and Uncle to take them to a nearby town called Valentine.
Mary-Beth spends her time scoping out leads on lucrative jobs, while Tilly and Karen try to make a bit of cash by pickpocketing drunken men, whom they distract. This plan is foiled after Tilly is discovered by the vengeful former gang-leader Anthony Foreman and Karen is attacked by one of their drunk victims in the Saints Hotel. Arthur saves both women from their respective aggressors.
After the altrecation, Karen explains that she found out information about the local bank that could be used in the planning of a potential heist. Arthur encourages her to keep collecting useful information. The enforcer is soon recognized by a man called Jimmy Brooks who was present in Blackwater during the robbery. After a short conversation, Jimmy makes a run for it, and Arthur gives chase. During the chase, Jimmy tumbles over a cliff, where Arthur has the chance to either save the man or kill him. Should Arthur save Jimmy, he threatens him into silence, and Jimmy gives him a pen as gratitude for saving his life.
During this time while the gang is camped at Horseshoe Overlook, the gang come across Kieran Duffy tied to a tree. He was seen by Arthur earlier at an O'Driscoll camp, and due to this association the gang takes Kieran to be interrogated. After being tortured and threatened with castration, Kieran confesses that he hates Colm O'Driscoll and has been mistreated by the gang, and is willing to help.
He leads them to one of Colm's many safehouses where the leader may be hiding out. After fighting through the thugs and reaching the house, a random O'Driscoll member bursts out an attacks Arthur, but Kieran saves the enforcer's life. Since Colm is absent, Arthur assumes Kieran betrayed them, however after the former O'Driscoll points out he saved Arthur's life, and after the other participating gang members persuade him, Arthur lets Kieran join their gang.
Meanwhile, Charles, Javier and Bill head over to a saloon in Valentine called Smithfield's. Arthur joins up with them, after which Bill bumps into a patron sparking a bar fight that spreads to involve almost every patron. Arthur is attacked by a patron called Tommy, who picks up the enforcer and throws him through the window. Out on the street, the two engage in a brawl which Arthur wins. As he is about to kill Tommy, local farmer Thomas Downes steps in, and Arthur spares the man.
Dutch arrives in Valentine and seeks out his men. Once they meet, he reveals that Josiah Trelawny has returned to the gang and brought information about Sean. Sean hasn't been heard of since he got separated from the rest of the gang during the escape from Blackwater, and everyone assumed he died. As it turns out, Sean survived the escape but was captured by bounty hunters who intend to sell him to the Pinkertons. Dutch scolds Bill for causing such a large fight after he sends Arthur, Javier and Charles to accompany Trelawny to scout the camp of the bounty hunters.
The team goes to a hill back near Blackwater, and plan to spring Sean before he is taken to prison. They see the officers escorting an imprisoned Sean off a boat towards a camp. Trelawny acts as diversion while the others quietly eliminate some of the guards, however a large gunfight ensues that culminates in the rescue of Sean, who was tied up hanging upside down from a tree at the bounty hunter camp. When they return, a party is thrown to celebrate Sean's return.
During this time, Lenny and Micah were patrolling the countryside near the town of Strawberry, where Micah was wanted and subsequently arrested. Dutch knew that he is too high profile to appear, so he sends Arthur to the town to retrieve the two gang members. First, he went to the Strawberry saloon to help Lenny calm down. After drinking plenty, the two either wake up in a cell or outside the town in the countryside.
Following this, Arthur goes to fetch Micah, however he is reluctant to do so initially. After he springs Micah, the latter goes on a rampage through the town to recover his custom weapons. Once the pistols are recovered, the two part ways outside the town with Micah refusing to return to camp without presenting something to Dutch as an apology for his carelessness. Later, Arthur helps Micah rob a train, that gets attacked by some O'Driscoll thugs in the meantime. Upon escaping with the loot, the two finally return to camp.
A couple of days pass by. Hosea hears news of a bear in the nearby woods that is allegedly 1000 pounds, which he intends to hunt down with Arthur. The older Hosea can't take the difficulties of the trip, so they call it off before they find the huge bear. Later, Hosea gets a lead from Seamus, a new associate who runs a racket at a nearby ranch. Based on this lead, he and Arthur rob a stagecoach.
While at the camp, Abigail wants to broaden young Jack's worldview and skillset. As a result, Arthur takes Jack on a fishing trip and teaches the young boy the ropes. While out on the trip, Pinkerton agents Andrew Milton and Edgar Ross approach the enforcer. They offer a full pardon to Arthur if he sells out Dutch van der Linde. Arthur refuses and hurries back to camp, where he urges Dutch to move to a new hideout. The leader decides to stay in spite of the risk.
John comes up to a way to make some cash by stealing sheep being herded towards Valentine for an auction. Arthur and John succeed in making off with the sheep, but when trying to sell them the livestock manager takes a 25% cut, and the price of the sheep is further reduced resulting in a significantly smaller payout than the gang had anticipated. Frustrated, Arthur and John meet Dutch and Leopold in a saloon.
Their meetup is interrupted by Leviticus Cornwall, who wishes to confront Dutch about the robbed train. Cornwall and his thugs take Leopold and John hostage, and the ensuing shootout results in Leopold's injury. After Dutch and Arthur save John and Leopold, they are forced to fight their way out of town before splitting up to be harder to track. Upon regrouping at the camp, Dutch finally decides to move.
He sends Arthur and Charles to scout out a new location in Lemoyne, and they settle on an area called Dewberry Creek. It turns out that this area doesn't have enough cover, so they pick a second location near Flat Iron Lake called Clemens Point.
Once the gang has settled into their new camp, Arthur, Hosea and Dutch go off on a fishing trip together. On the way, they encounter Trelawny being hauled off with other arrested outlaws. Sheriffs Leigh and Archibald explain upon questioning from the trio that Josiah has been imprisoned for running an illegal gold prospecting operation. While Dutch is trying to sweet-talk the two lawmen into letting Trelawny go, the other criminals he is locked up with break free and run loose.
Dutch sends Arthur after the escaped brigands, and the enforcer succeeds in recapturing all of them. In exchange for his help, the two sheriffs agree to let Trelawny go, and the groups part in friendship. In the conclusion of their interrupted fishing trip, Dutch and Hosea hatch a plan to exploit their good standing with Leigh and Archibald. They convince a drunk Leigh Gray to deputize all three of them.
These new "deputies" then help out Gray with some troublesome Lemoyne Raiders. Meanwhile, the gang begins to dig up info about the two major families in the area, the Grays and the Braithwaites, who have been feuding for some while and are openly hostile to one another. Arthur goes to investigate the Grays while Hosea looks into the other family. The gang learns that the feud between the families may be related to hidden gold.
Determined to nick that gold for themselves, the gang gets involved with the families and their conflict. Arthur meets Beau Gray, who is in love with Penelope Braithwaite. Due to the conflict between the families, they must keep their relationship a secret, and Arthur ends up carrying messages back and forth between them. While this doesn't reveal anything about the gold, Beau is very grateful, which grants Arthur a good reputation with his family.
During the investigation, the gang manages to steal a large haul of illegally produced moonshine from the Braithwaites. In an attempt to make some extra cash, they try and sell it back to the family at a price, however the Braithwaite matriarch, Catharine, throws them a curveball - she lets them keep the moonshine and offers to pay if they give it all away in Rhodes, which is known Gray territory, in order to shine a negative light on her opponents.
In agreeing to do so, Hosea becomes to the Braithwaites as Arthur was to the Grays. While the moonshine is being given away, Arthur, Javier and John kill the Braithwaite stable boy and steal the family's prize horses, hoping to sell them for a high price. When the horses end up only fetching a meager price, they then set their sights on the Gray's tobacco fields.
This excursion also ends up earning them less money than expected. With the gang having spent a great deal of time with the feuding families but being no closer to the gold, many members begin to question the worth of the effort. Meanwhile, Bill and Lenny hatch their own, unrelated plans. With Arthur's help, Bill organizes a bank heist in Valentine which goes surprisingly well. Lenny's plans to raid a Lemonye Raiders camp for weapons and supplies also pans out, raising spirits and stocking the camp.
Focusing less and less on the Braithwaites and Grays, Charles teams up with Arthur to visit Josiah and ask him about bounty hunters he spoke of earlier. When they reach Trelawny's hideout, they find it ransacked and empty, and realize those very bounty hunters kidnapped him. They track down the camp and free Josiah, who then stays at the main camp for his safety.
After he recovers, he reveals that he has a lead on a lucrative stagecoach heist. Arthur goes along with him, and the two succeed in the heist. Not only did they acquire a large amount of funds, but made a new associate in the face of Alden Carruthers. Meanwhile tensions between Sadie and Pearson run high as the cook keeps instructing Sadie to help with various food preparation tasks.
To defuse the situation, Arthur takes Sadie to town where she does some shopping. On the way back to camp, the pair are jumped by Lemoyne Raiders angry about the stolen weapons. They succeed in killing all of the attackers, and return to camp safely.
Pearson later informs Dutch that he ran into a few O'Driscoll gang members in Scarlet Meadows. The O'Driscolls had him relay a message that Colm wishes to parley with Dutch in order to settle the two groups' differences. Dutch and Micah sense a trap, so they go to confront Colm while Arthur hides nearby, weapon trained on the opposing gang leader.
As it turns out, their suspicions were correct, but only partly. The offer to negotiate was a trap, but the O'Driscolls wanted to capture Arthur, not Dutch, in which they succeed. They plan to use Arthur to lure Dutch in and turn them over to the Pinkertons. Arthur manages to escape from O'Driscoll captivity and returns to the Van Der Linde camp. Due to the injuries he sustained, he is bedridden for a couple of days.
Once Arthur has recovered, he, Micah, Bill and Sean go to Rhodes where they have a meeting set up with the Grays. They were told that the Grays have a job opportunity for them, but it turns out to be a trap, as the Grays have discovered the deception. Upon reaching the town, they are ambushed by lawmen and Sean is killed. In the ensuing gunfight, the remaining three outlaws manage to kill every attacker save for Sheriff Gray, who has Bill at gunpoint. Arthur kills Gray, and asks Bill to bury Sean.
Upon the survivors' return to the main camp, Dutch delivers grim news - Jack Marston has disappeared. It turns out that the Braithwaites also found out the lies of the gang, and kidnapped Jack as vengeance. The bulk of the gang assault the Braithwaite manor, and kill everyone there except Penelope. Before burning down the house around Catharine, they learn from her that she sold the boy to a Saint Denis crime boss called Angelo Bronte.
The next day, a surprise visit from Pinkerton agents Andrew Milton and Ross Edgar rile up the gang. The two agents offer Dutch a deal - he turns himself in, and every other gang member is pardoned. The gang refuses outright, and after the agents leave, they begin to pack up the camp. Following the large battle that lead to Sean's death, and this visit from the Pinkertons makes it clear that their current location is no longer safe.
When deciding on their next hideout, Arthur suggests an abandoned mansion deep in the swamp called Shady Belle where they could comfortably set up camp. The large colonial house is secluded and defensible. The gang follows his advice and moves to the new location. Some outlaws are squatting in the house and put up a fight, but are quickly cleared out, allowing the Van Der Linde gang to set up shop.
Once the gang has settled in, Arthur is tasked by Dutch to search for the crime boss holding Jack. Once Arthur has located the Saint Denis estate where Angelo Bronte lives, he is joined by Dutch and, of course, Jack's father John. The crime boss is charmed by Dutch's subtle attempts to con him, and he is impressed by the gang. As a result, Bronte is friendly initially, and agrees to release Jack in exchange for a small favor.
John and Arthur are sent by Bronte to the Saint Denis cemetery, which is beset by graverobbers. The two clear out the robbers and when they return, Bronte surprisingly lives up to his end of the deal and Jack is already by Dutch's side. While the two were gone, Bronte gave Dutch an invitation to an upcoming party organized by the city's Mayor. The four head back to camp, where Jack's return is celebrated. When asked, the boy explains that he was well treated, bathed, given his own room with toys, and taught a few words in Italian.
In the following days, both Tilly and Kieran are kidnapped. Tilly is kidnapped by the Foreman brothers, related to the gang she had to escape earlier, while Kieran was kidnapped by the O'Driscolls, though unbeknownst to the gang. The gang prioritizes Tilly, and Arthur goes along with Susan Grimshaw to spring her. Once Tilly is back at the camp, it is time for Arthur, Hosea and Dutch to attend the party Angelo Bronte invited them to.
During the party, the three discover a number of leads to lucrative jobs in the region. One of these regards a steamboat ripe for the robbing. Arthur is given a makeover with the supervision of Trelawny to blend in, and the robbery is a success. Afterwards, the enforcer helps out a group of natives with an assault on a local business, which also proves fruitful.
The final job involves robbing a trolley station packed with money. Arthur and Dutch begin planning this final job, however proceedings are interrupted. Kieran's headless body is sent into the camp on horseback by the O'Driscolls, cradling his eyeless head in his hands. This is soon followed by a large-scale O'Driscoll assault on the camp, however the Van Der Linde Gang emerges victorious.
This event adds a measure of urgency to the trolley station job. Arthur teams up with Dutch and Lenny to carry it out, however once they do it turns out it was a trap set by Bronte, as the station barely had any money, and lawmen were lying in wait. As revenge, the gang plans to rob the Saint Denis bank which has ties to Bronte.
Arthur and Dutch meet up with Thomas, a fisherman in Lagras and make a deal to help find his lost friend in exchange for him taking them covertly to a small dock attached to Bronte's estate. They find the man being accosted by alligators elswhere in the bayou, and save him. Once Thomas's friend Jules is saved, the fisherman keeps his promise and gets them into Bronte's estate.
Dutch, John and Arthur shoot their way through the crime boss' thugs, until they find Angelo Bronte trying to hide in a bathtub. Dutch grabs him, and the three fight through another wave of guards on their way out while dragging Bronte along. Once outside, Bronte insults Dutch for refusing a payoff, which sends the gang leader into a fit of rage. In his anger, he drowns Bronte in the bayou and allows his body to be eaten by alligators, which terrifies John who makes a comment about it. Dutch evades, adamant that it was necessary.
Following the hit on Bronte, the gang swings into action and sets up the bank robbery. Abigail and Hosea are tasked with creating a diversion in the city, while the larger group enters and robs the bank itself. Initially, everything is seemingly going according to the plan with the distraction working, however Hosea and Abigail are suddenly ambushed by Pinkerton agents, and arrested.
As the gang is about to leave the bank, Andrew Milton and other agents bring Hosea and Abigail before them. Milton executes Hosea in front of Dutch, however Abigail slips away. In the ensuing gunfight and escape, which involves blowing out one side of the bank, Lenny is shot dead and John is caught by the law. The gang splits into two groups, with Dutch, Arthur, Micah, Javier, Charles and Bill escape towards the docks.
At the docks, Charles distracts the guards, allowing the other gang members to board a ship in order to hide out. They stike a deal with the ship captain to let them stay on, and the ship would travel around the cape towards Tahiti. Their trip is cut short early on however due to a storm wrecking the ship near the island of Guarma. During the storm, Arthur is separated from the others and is washed ashore, but the gang quickly reunites.
Once Arthur, Dutch, Javier, Bill and Micah are together once more, the local military places them under arrest and begins marching them towards their fort. During their march, the local rebels attack the military, allowing the gang members to escape. In the commotion, Arthur manages to unlock their shackles, however while escaping Javier is shot in the leg and recaptured, though the other four men make off with the rebels.
Back at the rebel camp, Dutch and his men help Hercule Fontaine, the leader of the rebels, fight back an attack against the rebel base. The gang then rescues Javier from the soldiers, and travel through a secret cave to reach the shore again. While helping the rebels assault the fort of Cinco Torres, a Cuban warship arrives to help Alberto Fussar, who leads the soldiers.
During the battle, Arthur, Dutch and the others sink the warship, defeat the soldiers, kill Fussar and his lacky Levi Simon and secure a way back to America where they intend to rejoin with the half of the gang left behind after the Saint Denis robbery.
Meanwhile, the other half of the gang isn't faring too well. John has been locked up in Sisika Penitentiary and is on death row, waiting to be hanged, while the others evacuated the now-compromised Shady Belle hideout and moved to Lakay. Sadie and Charles became the temporary leaders during this time, and they managed to recover the bodies of Hosea and Lenny, giving the two fallen comrades proper burials.
When the gang is finally reunited in Lakay, their problems hardly cease. Arthur begins displaying increasingly worrisome symptoms of a disease and ends up being diagnosed with Tuberculosis, which is terminal. Dutch becomes increasingly violent and paranoid, growing suspicious of everything and everyone while making increasingly irrational decisions. Micah gains noticeable sway over the gang leader, of which Arthur highly disapproves.
The Lakay camp is promptly attacked by Pinkerton agents, who are beaten back by the gang after a tough fight. It is clear that they cannot stay, but they can't escape further east as they have been doing ever since Blackwater either. Their only choice remains moving northward, whre Arthur and Charles find a suitable place called Beaver Hollow. The cave is occupied by a particularly brutal and cruel gang called the Murfree Brood. After the outlaws are cleared out, the Van Der Linde Gang moves in.
Once they are set up in the cave, Bill returns from Saint Denis where he found Molly O'Shea, Dutch's lover, drunk on the streets. Molly begins to berate Dutch and claims to have sold out the gang, and she says that she was the one who revealed the location of the Lakay camp. This confession triggered chaos in the gang which led to a standoff between Micah, Dutch and Arthur, which was broken when Susan Grimshaw - who was Dutch's former lover - killed Molly with a shotgun blast.
The gang was still missing a member, John Marston, who was locked up in Sisika pentitentiary awaiting execution by hanging. Sadie comes up with a plan that she shares with Arthur, whom she trusts. Arthur is to hijack a hot air balloon to scope out the prison with, then spring Marston. The pilot of the balloon they chose ends up dead, and the pair are chased by some O'Driscoll thugs, but they manage to scout the prison and formulate a plan. They meet up with Abigail after crashing the balloon, and after a short argument move to carry out the plan.
During the attempt to save John, a shootout and hostage situation arises, but the gang manages to overcome the difficulties and the law enforcment, and escape with John. When they return to the camp, they are greeted by not one, but two strange reactions. Micah is strangely happy to see John safely return, while Dutch becomes entirely enraged. He opposed the idea of rescuing John previously, suspecting that during his time in prison he sold them out, and began to angrily berate Arthur and Sadie for disobeying him.
Dutch's reaction to John's rescue and the death of Molly had created a vast rift in the gang, with a split forming between two sides. Micah, Javier and Bill remained loyal to Dutch, while Arthur, John, Charles and Sadie thought Dutch was no longer a reliable leader. The remaining members tried to stay neutral, but the drop in morale affected them as well.
In spite of the tension, the gang continues to function. Arthur goes to Annesburg to meet up with Dutch and Micah for a job, which turns out being a hit on Leviticus Cornwall. The shootout swings in the gang's favour and Dutch executes Cornwall, while gaining new information on his refinery. Using this information, he hatches a plan to trigger a conflict between the natives and the law enforcement in order to give the gang cover for escaping.
During the preparations for this plan, Micah sends Arthur and Bill to steal dynamite which will be used to destroy Bacchus Bridge. The dynamite is successfully acquired, and the gang joins up with Eagle Flies to recover the Natives' horses which were stolen recently. They use some explosives to clog a mountain pass with boulders while a military contingent is marching through in order to ambush them, however unexpected reinforcements arrive. As a result, all the Natives taking part in the attack are killed or captured, but the gang members survive and many soldiers are killed.
At this point, Arthur begins to withdraw from the gang more and more, with his actions since Blackwater affecting many of his decisions. Trelawny packs up to leave the fractured gang, a decision supported by Arthur, who also kicks out Strauss depending on completed missions. Reverend Swanson also leaves. Meanwhile, the gang meets with Rains Fall, the father of Eagle Flies who tells them where his son is held.
Arthur and Charles scout out Fort Wallace, where they know Eagle Flies is imprisoned. Arthur's deteriorating health has him contemplating his life, and Charles offers some reassurance before they move to save Eagle Flies. After a battle, they manage to spring the Chieftain's son and escape on two boats. After they ditch the boats, Charles and Eagle Flies discuss their next move while Arthur contemplates his mortality.
When the trio returns to camp, Eagle Flies is adamant about taking revenge on the soldiers who killed so many of his people. His father, Rains Fall, has also arrived at the Van Der Linde camp and tries to dissuade his son, but unsuccessfully. Eagle Flies rides off with Wapiti warriors and the gang argues whether to go after them. Dutch is in favor of helping the Indians with their attack, however some members, such as John, disapprove of the idea. Eventually they manage to agree that helpign the Wapiti is the best course of action.
At this point a wounded Wapiti warrior returns saying that Eagle Flies needs urgent help. The gang rides out to find the scene of the battle in chaos, with the ruined plant engulfed by flames and a desperate battle developing between the Wapiti and the soldiers. Dutch takes Bill, John and Javier to lead a frontal assault on the soldiers, while Arthur, Charles and Sadie join the natives to attack from behind. The tactic succeeds and Eagle Flies is rescued.
When the two wings of the attack reunite, Dutch takes Arthur to loot the remains of the building. They find thousands of dollars worth of bonds, however as they are leaving army reinforcements show up lead by Colonel Favours. During the escape, a pipe-burst knocks down Arthur, though he only suffers minor injuries. Dutch, who sees this, turns away and leaves even though he could have helped the enforcer with minimal effort.
The soldiers advance, and one prepares to stab Arthur, but is killed in the last moment by Eagle Flies. Colonel Favours shows up and shoots Eagle Flies, but Arthur manages to shoot him in turn. Arthur then gets up and manages to exit the building, carrying the body of the chieftain's son.
Outside, the gang splits up with most of them heading back to camp while Charles and Arthur take the body of Eagle Flies back to Rains Fall. When they reach the Wapiti settlement, Charles and Arthur lament the degradation of the gang, and Charles decides to stay to help the Indians, who plan to move away, essentially quitting the gang.
By the time Arthur returns to the Van Der Linde camp, many members have left due to the rising tensions and overall lack of morale. Uncle, Pearson, Karen and Mary-Beth are all gone, and the tone is sombre among those who remain. Nonetheless, Dutch has planned a train robbery and the gang is preparing for it. John and Arthur travel to Saint-Denis to collect explosives, and on the way Arthur suggests that, once this last job is done, John should take his family and leave for a peaceful life because the gang is falling apart.
The train robbery goes more or less successfully, however during the escape John is injured. Dutch tells the others that he will go back to save him, but then he returns alone saying that John has died. Once the gang returns to camp, Tilly informs them that Abigail has been kidnapped by the Pinkertons while the others were away on the robbery, but Dutch refuses to plan a rescue.
Sadie and Arthur become fed up with Dutch's behavior and plan a rescue themselves, telling Tilly to leave the gang for a better life. During their attempt, Sadie is also captured, but Arthur manages to fight off most of the agents only to get pinned by Andrew Milton. Thinking that he has Arthur dead to rights, Milton reveals that all this time Micah was the traitor, feeding information to the Pinkertons since before Blackwater. Abigail manages is free herself however, and kills Milton.
Before returning to camp, Arthur asks Sadie to escort Abigail and Jack to meet with Tilly so that they all can quit the gang and find safety, then he heads back to confront Micah. Before they say their goodbyes, Abigail gives Arthur the key to the stashed Blackwater money. When Arthur announces that Micah was the traitor all along, he denies the claim. Only Susan believes Arthur, holding Micah at gunpoint. A surprise appearance from John, who survived, adds to the confusion as he accuses Dutch of leaving him behind to die even though he could have saved him.
The standoff is broken when Javier appears telling everyone that the Pinkertons are closing in. This distraction gives Micah the chance to shoot and kill Susan. At this point Dutch asks everyone who is on who's side, with everyone choosing to believe him except John and Arthur. The arrival of the agents forces them all to escape, with Arthur and John choosing a cave.
Those members who remained loyal to Dutch pursue John and Arthur, but are themselves pursued by the Pinkertons, which gives the two perceived "traitors" the break they need to escape. Eventually, the Pinkertons begin chasing both groups and shoot out the pair's horses from under them. After fighting off a group of agents, Arthur either continues helping John or goes to collect the stashed money using the key he got from Abigail.
If Arthur decides to collect the stashed money, he'll dug up the chest and loot a fortune from it, only to be attacked by a knife-wielding Micah. The two begin dueling with knives. If the player has high honor, Arthur will blind one of Micah's eyes and slash his face, but then get tackled by the traitor. At this point Dutch arrives to break up the fight, but doesn't take sides even after Arthur once again says that Micah is the traitor. Dutch walks off, and so does Micah, who takes the money with him. Arthur, weakened, dies of his disease as the dawn breaks.
If the player honor was low, then the knife fight goes Micah's way, with the traitor remaining unhurt. Micah manages to stab Arthur before Dutch arrives, and even though Arthur pleads to him to kill Micah, he just walks off and Micah kills Arthur, then leaves.
Should Arthur choose to stay and help John, they decide to proceed higher up into the mountains to escape the agents. It becomes harder and harder for Arthur to go on due to his tuberculosis, and eventually he tells John to leave him and proceed alone. John is reluctant to do so but eventually agrees, calling Arthur his brother before parting ways.
When Arthur is alone, Micah appears and attack him. The two beat each other and in the scuffle, one of Micah's weapons falls out of its holster. Arthur tries to reach it, but Dutch appears and steps on the gun. Arthur tells the former leader that John has escaped, while Micah asks him to join up and retrieve the stash. Dutch, unsure of who to trusts, simply leaves them both. If the player had high honor, Micah simply leaves and Arthur dies of tuberculosis as the sun rises, however if they had low honor, Micah would shoot Arthur in the head and spit on his corpse before leaving.
In either case, when Dutch walks off, the Van Der Linde Gang comes to an end.
Following the collapse of the Van Der Linde gang, its surviving members went off on their own, but occasionally they encounter one another or even work together again temporarily. John, Abigail and Jack return to the east after trying their luck in Yukon, and they purchase a ranch of their own. Sadie, who became a bounty hunter and Charles, who became a street fighter in Saint Denis, temporarily team up with him to exact revenge on Micah. Later, Sadie went to South America where she continued bounty hunting, and Charles went to Canada to start a family.
Micah, the traitor, went on to found his own gang, and later reunited with Dutch. The two work together and retrieve the Blackwater score, only to be confronted by John, Sadie and Charles. A last-minute change of heart puts Dutch on John's side against Micah, and the traitor is killed, with the Blackwater money going to John so that he can pay off his debts and secure a good life for his family. After this, Dutch walks off once again.
Dutch disappears with everyone, even the law, losing track of him. Red Dead Redemption indicates that while he went into hiding, he created a new gang comprised primarily of Native Americans - presumably the Wapiti, due to the existing relations - with whom he'd go on to oppose government forces.
Red Dead Redemption also shines light on the fates of Bill, Javier and Uncle. Pearson opens a general store in Rhodes which John can visit. Mary-Beth assumed a pen name and became a romance writer, gaining fame through her books. Trelawny and Tilly both went to Saint Denis - Josiah to his family and Tilly to get married. Reverend Swanson moved to New York where he led a congregation. Karen's fate is unclear, but Tilly suggests she drank herself to death over Sean following the gang falling apart.
Events of Red Dead Redemption
Prior to 1906, Dutch van der Linde led his gang with an idealistic mentality, acting as a paternal figure to the members while viewing his acts as that of vigilantism. His anti-governmental viewpoints put him at odds with the law, but he intended to do good. Over time, this mentality was corrupted and Dutch began to slip into depravity, culminating in the group's dissolution.
Following the dissolution of the gang, Escuella escaped to Mexico and became associated with Colonel Allende, Williamson founded his own group of outlaws, Marston was blackmailed by the government into hunting down his former comrades, and Dutch formed another gang in hiding.
Dutch re-emerged in 1911 with a new iteration of his gang, this time mostly consisting of Native Americans. He recruited his men from nearby reservations and his gang was comprised of Native Americans who were wronged by the United States government and harbored hostile feelings towards the establishment, and towards the colonists. Their views aligned with Dutch's now-extremist anti-government views.
After John Marston was forced to work for the Bureau of Investigation, he successfully hunted down Bill Williamson and Javier Escuella. Dutch remained the last target on the Bureau's list, since all the other surviving members successfully achieved a peaceful and lawful life, and the authorities either didn't know about them or simply didn't care.
Dutch, with his new gang, began becoming more and more active after he no longer wished to remain hidden. John is informed by Agent Ross that his former leader has re-appeared and needs to be captured. John meets Dutch several times while trying to capture him, and in spite of the positive note on which they parted after Micah's death, Dutch was ready to harm and possibly kill John if need be.
Eventually, John chased his former leader to the hideout of the new Van Der Linde gang in Cochinay, Tall Trees where he fought alongside the US Army against the Natives - a stark contrast to the refinery battle near the end of Red Dead Redemption 2 - where John finally confronts Dutch. Dutch commits suicide instead of dying by John's hand, and the army wipes out the gang. With the death of Dutch, the history of the Van Der Linde gang ended there definitively.
In some form or other, the Van Der Linde Gang or Dutch's Gang and its members appear or are mentioned in every mission in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2.
- The Van der Linde Gang is likely inspired by Butch Cassidy's famous gang, which historically was one of the last outlaw groups operating during the Wild West era. The similarity between Dutch's and Butch's names are also likely not a coincidence, as Rockstar Games has a tendency to weave such references into their games.
- Save for Dutch, all members of his gangs wore at least one prominent piece of red clothing in Red Dead Redemption. In Red Dead Redemption 2, at least one of Dutch's outfits features a prominent red sash.
- John Marston and Abigail married and had children prior to the dissolution of the group, with Abigail referring to Dutch and Bill as her son Jack's uncles.
- In total, there have been 31 members of the Van Der Linde Gang at various points in time. If one counts Jack as a member in spite of being a child, it would be 32.
- Most members of the gang carried customized personal weapons.