|“||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 was the leader of the infamous Van der Linde Gang, which once operated in West Elizabeth. Notable gang members included Arthur Morgan, Micah Bell, John Marston, Abigail Marston, Bill Williamson, and Javier Escuella.
At the time, Dutch was an altruistic and idealistic rogue, believing the gang could make a difference in the world. He fashioned himself into a Robin Hood figure, taking money from those who had more than they could ever need, and giving it to those who had very little, and truly needed it. He saw himself as a symbol of the romanticized Wild West, 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 vision of a "Savage Utopia", and it was in the name of Dutch and his cause that they committed crimes such as murder and robbery.
As the years rolled by, though, Dutch slowly began to realize the futility of his cause. With new technology making it easier for the government to exert control over the people, liberty had given way to bureaucracy. The violence and greed of humanity had not stopped, and no one had been inspired by his example. His work had ultimately changed nothing. Worse still, the truth of his own hypocrisy crept deeper and deeper into Dutch's thoughts. He and his gang had attempted to change the world for the better, yet in doing so, they had become the worst humanity had to offer. His idealism turned into extreme anger, and Dutch gradually descended into madness, masking his pain with meaningless violence and an unfocused hatred of everything and everyone around him. In the end, Dutch himself caused the disillusionment of the other gang members.
Van der Linde had not been seen nor heard from in several years, and despite claims of sightings was thought to have perished in a fire following a botched robbery in 1906. During one of the cutscenes in "The Gates of El Presidio", it is rumored that Dutch is in Colombia and not likely to be seen ever again. This is proven to be false and Dutch goes on to play a central role in the remainder of the game.
Red Dead Redemption II
Red Dead Redemption
When Bill Williamson is killed in Mexico, Edgar Ross declares that John Marston is not finished hunting his old gang. He is told that Dutch van der Linde is back in the West Elizabeth region and Marston is obligated 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 killing 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 has received 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 sheriffs 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, 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 Gatling 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 pistol off the mountain and the two exchange words. Dutch remarks the inevitability of his situation and the changing times. He laments that his whole life he tried to fight societal change but that like gravity. change was always constant. John asks Dutch why he could never give up if he knew his fight for change was in vain. But Dutch explains that he couldn't give up as it was too much in his nature to fight. 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 he dies, 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 subsequently lead to his death.
Philosophy and Personality
Dutch seems to carry a philosophy similar to other characters in Red Dead Redemption. Dutch seems to want a world that goes along the lines of a Hunter-Gatherer Society, a world that opposes technology and governmental control and where men fight to survive. A world where men live like they did in the old Wild West. When Dutch appears, he is fighting against the town of Blackwater which is filled with agents and technology. Since Dutch once fought for the poor, and the agencies in Blackwater constantly take from the poor, this means that Dutch sees the new West as evil. Also, since he has fought against the government and banks his whole life, this means that he may want to not only destroy Blackwater, but he may also want to completely destroy all government, currency, and social order. The way he attains this appears to be by recruiting soldiers and taking out towns that are hot spots for government agents and technology, and he is unafraid to kill to achieve this world.
Another part of Dutch's philosophy seems to be returning to the older ways. While the New West promotes clothing, technology, and civilization, Dutch seems to want to move back to the Old West which promotes survival, discipline, and using skill and courage to overcome hardship. While most people in Blackwater try to raise themselves up and civilize the Old West, Dutch would prefer they remain civilized where they are and allow the Old West to survive in the way to which it has grown accustomed, and when the citizens of Blackwater, and indeed; the Federal Government, will not allow him or his people to live their lives the way they wish; he attacks.
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, is committing these crimes for idealistic reasons rather than greed.
In conversations, John Marston refers to Dutch's past actions and crimes with a Robinhood-like idealism. However, John has also stated that this idealism was really just an excuse to mindlessly kill and rob people. This became more obvious as Dutch grew more violent and erratic as time went on. To the point where John even questioned his sanity.
By the mid-1900's, the once idealistic rogue had become a delusional frantic killer who was secretly aware that all of the horrible crimes he committed 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 simply because it was who he was. 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.
- Red Dead Redemption
- "At Home With Dutch"
- "Great Men Are Not Always Wise"
- "The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)"
- "And The Truth Will Set You Free"
- Red Dead Redemption II
- Heidi McCourt - Shot in the head during a raid on a ferry. Mentioned by the Strange Man during "I Know You".
- Two unnamed men - mentioned by the Blackwater Ledger, killed at a homestead north of Blackwater.
- Muriel Scranton - Shot through the back of the head during a bank heist in "Great Men Are Not Always Wise".
- Harmon Weinstein - Executed after the bank heist in "Great Men Are Not Always Wise".
- Morgan Sterling - Shot in the head at Cochinay during "At Home With Dutch".
Red Dead Redemption II
- "This place... ain't no such thing as civilized."
- "Do you have my back?" – Dutch questioning Arthur's loyalty
- "Listen to me! We don't want to kill any of you, but trust me, we will!" – Dutch threatening the train passengers.
- "Wake 'em up a little!" – Dutch ordering his men to fire on the train.
- "You have got to keep faith. They will not crush us!" – Dutch reassuring Arthur.
- "Ladies and gentlemen, this is a robbery!" – Dutch during a bank heist.
- "You coming? Buddy." – Dutch to Arthur after blowing the wall down.
- "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.
Red Dead Redemption
- "I think that's what they call 'two for the price of one' out here in this wonderful place!" – Dutch taunting John and Harold MacDougal
- "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, John, all I ever did was fight." – Dutch to John
- "But I can't give up neither. I can't fight my own nature. That's the paradox, John. You see?" – Dutch
- "When I'm gone they'll just find another monster. They have to. Because they have to justify their wages." – Dutch
- "Our time is passed, John." – Dutch's last words
- "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!"
- Ironically, Dutch uses a Semi-automatic Pistol, a symbol of future technology, when he is against civilization himself. Granted, the gun would have been 18 years old at the time of his death, but even Edgar Ross uses a far older Winchester Repeater.
- Chogan can be heard saying that he killed one of his own men.
- 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 trusty Cattleman Revolver, although on occasion the game will glitch and he will be holding a Semi-Automatic Pistol. It is possible that Dutch had a Cattleman tucked into his belt or in a pocket as a backup, although 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 could be a glitch, as it happens to John sometimes in "The Gates of El Presidio".
- John implies that he still has respect for him, 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 raises 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 worse than Dutch. Probably because Ross has power that he is corrupt with, which is the key thing Dutch has always been against.
- After Dutch has died, 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."
- At the edge of the cliff on the mission "And The Truth Will Set You Free" Dutch appears to be wounded in the torse despite appearing unharmed moments earlier.
- Dutch appears to be a frighteningly skilled shooter, as he is able to shoot John's binoculars from well over 100 feet away, on about a 70 degree upwards angle, with the wind, cold and gravity effects of being on a mountaintop working against him, and above all he does this with a single shot from what is meant to be a mid-range pistol, taking more than a second to correct his aim.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption II