Ross is a purveyor of modernism, and plays a strong role in both the narratives and themes of 'Red Dead Redemption'. Ross, although older than Marston, chooses to ride in automobiles and use automatic weapons.
Prior to the events of the game, Ross has Marston's family held away from him in order to strong arm him into hunting down his former friend Bill Williamson.
Throughout the events of Red Dead Redemption, Ross is portrayed to epitomize the unfair and detestable nature of the corruption in the federal government during its time. He is indifferent, snide, amoral, disloyal, unscrupulous and inequitable to a fault.
Demonstrated when he abducted John Marston's family in order to strong arm him into hunting the former members of the Van der Linde Gang, changing the terms of their agreement in order to suit his needs, and subsequently betraying Marston even after his deeds.
Ross advocates federalism and acknowledges the hypocrisy of his methods as necessary, displaying an 'end justifies the means' attitude to law enforcement.
He may have also held some prejudicial views, like calling Nastas a savage after first encountering him, and assuming that he might not speak English even after being told Nastas was an informant.
Ross, and his associate agent Archer Fordham are seen escorting John Marston through the town of Blackwater in the opening credits of Red Dead Redemption. Ross is juxtaposed to Marston as wearing an unusually immodest three-piece suit.
Ross is only partially explained through early gameplay references to government agents in Blackwater and is obscured through Marston's reluctance to explicitly state his situation to his various allies.
After the player captures or kills Javier Escuella, Ross is seen to converse and exert his unique brand of self-righteous condescension on Marston. The player is required to meet Ross and Fordham at a bridge crossing between New Austin and Nuevo Paraiso. There, Ross leaves the player with instructions to further pursue Bill Williamson, and then return to Blackwater upon completion.
After the death of Williamson, Ross and his partner in the Bureau, Archer Fordham, are still unsatisfied. They then directly work with Marston in the Blackwater area to help him track down his former gang leader and mentor, Dutch van der Linde. After several skirmishes with Van der Linde's gang and a final dramatic assault on Van der Linde's camp with the assistance of the U.S. Army, Marston finally corners Dutch. Dutch chooses to commit suicide by throwing himself from a cliff, declaring to Marston, that their time is up, a reference to the federal government's manipulation and the pursuit of them, and a foreshadowing of Ross betraying Marston.
After Van der Linde's death, Ross is unimpressed with Marston's inability to have shot Dutch himself. Taking Marston's pistol and shooting Van Der Linde's mangled corpse, Ross states that "...it looks better in the report..." Ross and Fordham finally and unceremoniously relinquish their custody of Abigail and Jack, telling Marston they can be found at the Marston ranch on Beecher's Hope. Marston reunites with his family, living in peace with them and enjoying the life he had worked and killed for.
However, Ross violates the deal in order to permanently wipe out Dutch's Gang. With the help of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marshals, Ross launches an all-out assault on the ranch in Beecher's Hope. Marston holds off waves of the attackers, fighting mercilessly to defend his family. Eventually, the Marston family retreats to a barn, and John sends his wife Abigail and his son Jack away from the ranch on a horse. Ross and his agents surround the barn, fully armed with their guns pointed at the door.
Deciding to sacrifice himself in order to secure his family's future, and accepting that he is not leaving the ranch alive, Marston exits the barn slowly and faces the attackers. Pulling out his gun, Marston fires at the soldiers and is killed in a wave of gunfire. Ross is seen in the crowd lighting a cigar as Marston falls to his knees. Marston does not acknowledge Ross or say a word. After drawing his last breath, Marston collapses. Ross and his agents leave the ranch, leaving John's body to be found by Jack and Abigail.
Three years pass, and Ross continues working in Blackwater under the Federal Bureau, soon becoming the FBI. During this time, Abigail dies of unspecified causes and Jack grows into a nineteen-year-old man. His change in appearance and talent with a gun suggests that he has been training extensively to be more like his father and to avenge his death.
After paying respects and mourning at the graves of John, Abigail, and Uncle, Jack returns to Blackwater. At the train station, he runs into a younger Bureau agent and inquires about Edgar Ross. He learns that Ross had received a "...chest full of medals". Ross retired from the Bureau sometime in 1913 and moved to a small cabin with his wife on Lake Don Julio in Cholla Springs, New Austin. Despite his retirement, however, it is apparent that the Bureau still hounds Ross for work due to his level of fame within their organization.
Jack Marston, in 1914, would track down Ross, visiting his retirement home in Lake Don Julio, where he meets Edgar's wife, Emily Ross. She tells him that he is hunting with his brother Phillip Ross on the Nuevo Paraiso side of the San Luis River. Jack then crosses into Mexico and finds Phillip Ross hunting along Rio del Toro. Phillip tells Jack that his brother is hunting ducks downstream. Proceeding west along the river, Jack Marston discovers Edgar shooting at a flock of ducks and confronts him about the death of his father.
Ross shows no remorse for having betrayed and killed Marston, claiming the one ultimately responsible was John himself. Ross declares that he would similarly have no hesitation to kill Jack, then tells him to leave before he kills him. Jack refuses to leave, resulting in a climactic duel. Ross is gunned down, a long-running theme of hypocrisy in the actions of Ross are ironically concluded, recalling the statement that "...Everyone will eventually pay for what they've done".
- "Exodus in America"
- "The Gates of El Presidio"
- "Bear One Another's Burdens" (Boss)
- "Great Men Are Not Always Wise" (Boss)
- "And You Will Know The Truth" (Boss)
- "And The Truth Will Set You Free" (Boss)
- "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed" (Betrayal)
- "Remember My Family" (Killed)
- “You see we, me and Archer, we're the bad guys. We enforce the rules. Now, while the rules may not be perfect, they're really not so bad. I'll tell you what the alternative is; it's about one man and his gun versus another man. Sure I know its difficult. Civilization may be dull, but the alternative, Mr. Marston, is hell.”
- — Edgar Ross
- “Nobody is playing games with you Mr. Marston, but if we were to play some games there would be some very interesting ones we could play. Like hanging you for murder, putting you in an electric chair, or confiscating all your properties like that little farm of yours at Beecher's Hope. Those are the sorts of games we could play.”
- — Edgar Ross
- “Actions have consequences, Mr. Marston! You can't just buy a few chickens and expect it to go away. You can't erase the past, John...But we can.”
- — Edgar Ross
- “Come on Mr. Marston, moral degeneracy waits for no man.”
- — Edgar Ross
- “Mr. Marston, I have never insulted your meagre intelligence, do not insult mine!”
- — Edgar Ross
- “Come on Archer, let's go find somebody else we can annoy.”
- — Edgar Ross
- “The metaphysical leap from admiring a flower to shooting a man in the head because he doesn't like a flower is a leap too far.”
- — Edgar Ross
- “You can't escape the past, Marston. Everyone eventually pays for what they've done.”
- — Edgar Ross
- “Your wife was killed in a prison riot last week.”
- — Edgar Ross to John Marston
- “I see, I remember your father. Your father killed himself with the life he had.”
- — Edgar Ross to Jack Marston
- “And I'll shoot you like one too, you little piece of trash! Now get out of here before I kill you as well!”
- — Edgar Ross's last words
GOTY guide description
Edgar is the 50-year-old leader of the local, fledgling government agency. He is a man whose faded physical prowess has been supplanted by his mental acuteness - a cynic who sees the worst in everyone, and who loves the power that the government has recently granted him. He sees himself as an individual who is completely above any law.
- The character of Edgar Ross reinforces the narrative themes of government encroachment, federalism, situational hypocrisy, modernism, and technological advancement.
- Despite being a "man of modernism" he is seen using the Winchester Repeater as his weapon of choice.
- When the player duels Ross, he will carry one of several other lower-tier handguns.
- Ross shares many traits with Frank Tenpenny, the main antagonist of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Both Ross and Tenpenny blackmail the protagonist into working for them, both of them abuse their power for various reasons and are noted hypocrites. The difference between the two is that while Ross had somewhat decent motives, Tenpenny did nothing to help the disadvantaged and instead chose to amplify the hardships that plagued the poorer parts of Los Santos, frequently abused drugs and worked with several gangs and drug cartels.
- Ross seems to have gotten all the credit for the killing of John Marston, because in the 1914 newspaper, it does not even mention Archer Fordham, suggesting Fordham may have not become famous or that he wasn't present during the shooting. This may have saved his life, as Jack Marston didn't pursue him afterwards.
- Ross, when looted, will have around $400 on his body.
- After duelling Ross, his body might fall into the river if a powerful gun is used, not allowing players to loot the corpse unless pushed out of the river by walking slowly into the corpse.
- If the player loses in the duel on the Stranger side-mission "Remember My Family", Ross will use a different shotgun to hunt each time the player starts over.
- Ross, along with Jenny, are the only two characters to appear in both a Stranger and a story mission.
- Ross wears similar clothes to Uncle on the Stranger side-mission "Remember My Family".
- If he is aimed at during "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed", you can see he has a "friendly" cursor. This is merely a failsafe to stop you from shooting and killing him, as doing so would cancel out the events of "Remember My Family".
- Every mission given by Edgar Ross has an automobile involved somehow.
- The name of every mission given by Edgar Ross is a verse taken from the Christian Holy Bible - for example, "then you will know the truth," and "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
- Ross' forename, Edgar, is possibly a reference to J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director from 1935–1972.
- His surname suggests he is of Scottish descent.
- Unlike many other major characters in the main game, Ross is not seen in the Undead Nightmare DLC, although there is a retcher model who lookes strikingly similar to him.
- Ross' body cannot be obliterated by the Explosive Rifle until it is looted.
- Ross is clearly driven in his endevours to fight crime, but breaks the law several times. For instance, having Abigail and Jack kidnapped, and using the army to pursue Dutch and later John even though it has been illegal for the U.S. military to carry out policing actions since the 1870s.
- John blatantly calls Ross a coward despite Ross' willingness to fight a large group of Dutch's Gang without any cover and only Marston aiding him during Bear One Another's Burdens.
- Edgar Ross share references to the first real-time director of BOI, Stanley Finch who retired from the Bureau of Investigation in 1912. One year before, Ross retire from the BOI.
- In John’s last stand, it’s not possible to shoot Ross as he’s standing behind a US Soldier.