–Dutch van der Linde
Dutch van der Linde was the leader of the infamous Dutch's Gang, which once operated in West Elizabeth. Notable gang members included 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. The narrative implies his initial belief set was even comparable to the American Transcendentalist philosophical current made famous by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau (who, not insignificantly, supported the paramilitary activity of the anti-slavery militant, John Brown), "anarcho-communitarian" politically, but some obscure process of internal moral and psychological deterioration compromised the "social bandit" into what John Marston describes in the game as degenerating into "unfair-like", dishonorable murders exceeding the moral sensibilities of even an extreme outlaw band. Van der Linde originally fashioned himself and conceptualized himself as 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, ostensibly giving raided goods to those who truly needed it. Van der Linde saw himself as a symbol of the romanticized Wild West in its twilight, and a humanitarian champion of the people, forced to utilize violence in what was thought a world in need of a cleansing torrent of extrajudicial blood shed. Van der Linde initially held opposite of totally unintelligible tenets, anarcho-libertarian, or anarcho-communitarian, strongly "anti-Federalist" as modern Americans would comprehend so, opposing omnicompetent government control the American foundational documents controversially are known to not describe. Dutch believed in supporting ultra-individualistic liberty to a profound degree simultaneously being communitarian; and rigorously punishing general human cruelty and selfishness, especially official misconduct or wrongdoing - in dark irony to be unveiled in time, becoming even worse than what he opposed. It was in the name of Dutch and his specific ideological visionary chiliastic passion the criminality engaged in by the band rationalized their own extreme behavior (for the individuals of the outfit "lost" existentially from birth, rather, and not merely criminal as some members would prove to be) - such was the "ideology" and justificatory alibi self-asserted as the rationale for the commission of crimes such as multiple murder and robbery.
As the years rolled by however, Dutch gradually began to believe in the futility of his cause. His original idealistic belief gave way to sheer nihilistic terrorism. Dutch saw, in his own eyes, a world and and an America wherein new technocratic means of control made it easier for the government to exert a dominion over the people seen as intolerably tyrannic, a landscape of human life in which liberty had been blindfolded and raped utterly, Federal governmental techno-bureaucracy usurping justice. The violence and greed of humanity Dutch so idealistically fought (in his own mind), "fighting fire with fire", with what he considered necessarily radical methods, had not decreased but on the contrary, human wickedness in modernity and specifically America and the American West had only turned pandemic and technocratic managerial tools provided the wielders of power in the American West only an excuse to trample upon liberty and justice in the guise of an empty soulless "progressive modernism" - Dutch saw no one had been inspired by his example of morally ambiguous "social banditry", and his mind fractured in cognizance of his own self-envisioned failure. His work had ultimately changed nothing. The radicalization of his beliefs and personality coincided with acquiescent succumbing to a psychotic, psychopathic tendency of hyper-violence self-confessedly part of who he was in his core - the "active nihilism of destruction" the "social bandit" eventually unleashed Dutch pathetically shares with Marston in the narrative in his last moments, this seed of extreme aggressivity, was always from the start inside inside him, inside his bedrock essence as a potentiality as a human being predestined to exist in an unending state of "fight", with himself and others, obviously. Tragically, the truth of his own hypocrisy crept deeper and deeper into Dutch's thoughts; self-deception and integrity battled each other innerly, with the worst results: his failure to overcome cognitive dissonance inwardly, terminated whatever mental health he once possessed.
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 - the Janus face of the evil allegedly opposed. Van der Linde's dark idealism turned into extremity of raw anger unhinged, a new quasi-Nietzschean code was adopted of a "metaphysics of war for the sake of war", pure and simple and the humanitarian element once motivational, dispensed with totally. Dutch gradually, fatefully descended into genuine madness and sociopathy, masking his pain with meaningless, abhorrent violence and an unfocused hatred of everything and everyone around him - pure nihilism of destruction for the sake of destruction more extreme than the Russian-European Nihilistic theory, in the context of a world seen beyond redemption. In the end, Dutch himself, in engaging in enormities of bloody irrationality shocking even to stone-cold killers, caused the disillusionment of the other gang members: the most morally sentient member of the gang, John Marston, made it clear this process of moral involution and descent into unreasoning heartless bloodshed lacking even the thinnest tissue of justification or "fairness", in Marston's own language, shattered whatever bond he once shared with his old "family."
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 hinted that Dutch is in Colombia and not likely to be seen ever again. This is false, however, and Dutch plays a central role in the remainder of the game.
The down-to-earth leadership competition between the trio of Marston, Williamson and van der Linde himself is implied in the story and conflicts over rank and ultimate power over the gang outfit is revealed in the narrative sub-text. Marston and Williamson saw themselves as compeers in authority to Dutch, minimally, and antagonistic rivalry existed as the background in-group situation of tension, shown in Williamson's line uttered in the very first mission as Marston confronts his ex-"fellow-in-arms", now elatedly "in charge": "Dutch always said you were an arrogant son of a bitch!"
Marston is peremptorily told Dutch van der Linde is back in the West Elizabeth region and Marston is obligated to kill him after dealing with Williamson. Together with a Native American named Nastas and Professor Harold MacDougal, John tries to hunt down Dutch. John kills a scout after a battle to reach Dutch's mountain hideout, Cochinay and picks up his binoculars, a vital tool in Red Dead Redemption. When looked through, John observes Dutch killing a police officer. He then looks through again and sees that Dutch has his pistol pointed at Marston. A shot is fired, but it hits the Binoculars and knocks Marston out.
Dutch recruits disenfranchised young Native Americans off of the local reservations for his new gang. Whether this is inter-mutual exploitation, simply a marriage of Machiavellian self-interest, or Dutch is sincerely sympathetic to how the American government dealt with the Native American population, is not made explicitly clear.
In the story-line, John and a posse of U.S. Marshals stake out the bank and wait for a chance to kill Dutch. The mission goes south when the gang kills a man in the front entrance and fights off the posse for a few minutes. John corners Dutch in an upper room but he has taken a woman hostage and uses her as a human shield. Dutch directly savagely murders a defenseless civilian woman, his state of mind obviously in tattered psychopathic ruins and the crusade of Ross seemingly justified. Dutch escapes after shooting the girl in the head and throwing her body into Marston's arms. Next, Dutch surrounds 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". The psychotic psychopathic mentality succumbed to by the formerly quasi-coherent gang head is made more than clear. 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.
In the final assault on his hideout with the U.S. Army, mentioned above in the meta-ethical context, John and government agents wipe out his small army. Together, he and Dutch battle with each other. Eventually, Marston gains the upper hand and chases Dutch to the edge of a cliff. Marston and Dutch exchange words, with Dutch explaining how he can't fight his nature so he can't change, the existential nihilism here the most painful and obvious. He then tells John that they are a dying breed in a changing world, showing a part remains of his less ignoble, more sane, older personality. Choosing suicide over surrendering to the U.S. Army, Dutch tells Marston their time has passed and promptly falls back off the cliff edge. At the bottom of the cliff, Ross uses Marston's pistol to shoot the corpse, to make it look as though Marston shot van der Linde, claiming "It'll look better in the report".
Dutch seems to carry a roughly "palaeo-conservative" meta-political philosophy similar to other characters in Red Dead Redemption. Dutch seems to want a world that goes along the lines of a Palaeolithic, primitivist society of a species of "libertarian communism", for lack of better description, a world that opposes technocracy and governmental omnicompetence and where men fight to survive personally, directly in contrast to modern Weberian formalism and legalitarian justice. A world where men live like they did in the old Wild West, simplified. When Dutch appears, he is fighting against the town of Blackwater which is filled with newly Federally-empowered agents and futuristic-like technology. And since Dutch once fought for the poor, and the agencies in Blackwater constantly take from the poor (as seen in his eyes), this means that Dutch sees the new "progressive-modernist" West as evil. And since he has fought against governmentalism and banks conceived as usurocratic social tyrants 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. Neo-Nietzschean "active nihilism" of pure malignancy possesses his personality excluding all other other aspects of the gang leader. The way he attains power appears to be by recruiting soldiers and similar military personages psycho-socially in alienation; tactically and strategically, van der Linde focuses on taking out towns that are hot spots for vulnerable, "overreaching" government agents and technology, and he is unafraid to kill, to say the least, to achieve his chiliastic visionary world.
One of the most significant parts of Dutch's philosophy seems to be returning to the older ways in a "revolutionary-conservative" sense - except the example is the revolutionary-conservative path and philosophy, gone wrong and berserk. While the New West promotes perceived decadence through emasculating vanities such as clothing, its surrogate "god" of technology, and general over-refined, inorganic "civilization", Dutch seems to want to move back to the Old West which promotes survival, discipline, and using skill and personal 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 dreamily desired according to his ideology, apart from his criminal activities here, he aggressively attacks.
The enigmatic, confused and complex personality, so variously interpretable, with fallen good and evil so intermixed chaotically, in light of the expansionist Federal government, the real objective content of portions of Dutch's ideological grievances, and the overall character of van der Linde alongside Marston, has proven a central point of interest and commentary for fans and critics alike of the Red Dead Redemption epic.
- "At Home With Dutch"
- "Great Men are Not Always Wise"
- "The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)"
- "And The Truth Will Set You Free"
|Hold it right there, outlaw!|
This article is littered with spoilers, so I reckon you might ought'a mosey on down the road if you don't want to read any plot details.
|WARNING: SPOILER ALERT|
Heidi McCourt - Shot during a raid on a ferry (prior to the story).
- “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 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.
- The name "Dutch" may also be a nickname like Irish, French and Welsh, as the surname "van der Linde" is originally from the Netherlands. His surname doesn't use a capital for the ' van der ' part, which is common in the Netherlands.
- 'van der Linde' is Dutch for ' from the Lime (tree) ', possibly referring to a Dutch song; Oh Lindeboom ( English: oh Lime tree)
- Dutch may be a reference to Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist. As the above note states, 'van der Linde' is Dutch for 'from the Lime'. Marinus was injured at work in 1926 by getting lime in his eyes, so it's a very possible reference.
- By saying he and John are 'a dying breed', he means the end of the Old West and incoming civilization.
- Dutch's orange attire may refer to his name, as orange is the color of the Dutch royal family. It is seen as a symbol of national pride in the Netherlands to wear orange. Many Dutch sports teams have orange kits.
- As a matter of fact, all Dutch sport teams wear the color orange. This is done because orange is the historic national color of the Netherlands, originating from the coat of arms of the Dutch founding father William of Orange-Nassau. Also, the top red band of the current Dutch flag was originally orange. It is possible van der Linde wore the orange color in order to honor his country of origin.
- Dutch also seems to possess a high level of intelligence and persuasion, seen as his new gang consist of natives who have a great disliking of the civilized "typical white" migrants.
- 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".
- It is unknown how, but while Dutch jumps off the cliff a gunshot may be heard, although Dutch dropped his gun earlier.
- 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 then 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" it appears he has been shot in the gut. This is possibly from him dropping the Semi-automatic Pistol while running from John causing it to go off and hit him in the stomach, and if he did drop the Semi-automatic Pistol, that would explain why he is holding the Cattleman Revolver.
- 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 mountain top working against him, and above all he does this with a single shot from what is meant to be a mid-range pistol, without taking more than a second to correct his aim.