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Everyone will eventually pay for what they have done.
Edgar Ross

Edgar Ross is a recurring character in the Red Dead series, appearing as a central character and the main antagonist of Red Dead Redemption, and as a supporting antagonist in Red Dead Redemption 2.

In Redemption, with the addition of the Liars and Cheats DLC pack, Edgar Ross is also a multiplayer character model that may be selected in the 'Damnation' section of the Outfitter.

Biography

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.
Description of Ross in the GOTY Edition guide of Red Dead Redemption.

Born in 1861, Ross is a former member of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, and by 1911 had been appointed as the director of the early federal law enforcement body, the Bureau of Investigation - BOI - which would later become known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

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.

History

Events of Red Dead Redemption 2

Horseshoe Overlook chapter

Ross and his superior, Andrew Milton approach Arthur Morgan as he was fishing with little Jack at a river near Horseshoe Overlook. Milton tries to make a deal with Arthur; if the gang hand over Dutch to the Pinkertons, the rest of the gang will be allowed to flee.

Clemens Point chapter

Ross and Milton approach Dutch and his gang at their camp in Clemens Point.

Beaver Hollow chapter

Following Agent Milton's death, Ross leads a large group to Dutch's encampment. While not physically seen, he can be heard yelling orders to tell the gang to surrender.

Credits

In 1907, Ross and his new associate agent Archer Fordham, find Micah Bell’s corpse in his hideout at Mount Hagen, and this puts them on the trail of John Marston’s whereabouts. The two agents are seen going to various towns and locations, interviewing a number of people. After going through Valentine and Rhodes, they find John at his ranch in Beecher’s Hope and see him teaching Jack how to groom a horse. Just before the end credits roll, Ross and Fordham look on the ranch and leave, plotting their next move.

Events of Red Dead Redemption

New Austin

Ross and 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.

Nuevo Paraiso

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.

The player eventually kills Williamson, alongside Agustin Allende while working with Abraham Reyes, and quickly returns to Blackwater as instructed.

West Elizabeth

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.

Though John lives peacefully for a time, Ross later violates the agreement in order to wipe out the Van der Linde gang and get revenge for Andrew Milton’s death. 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, the lawmen, and the soldiers then leave the ranch, leaving John's body to be found by Jack and Abigail.

Epilogue

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.

In 1914, Jack Marston 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 his brother hunting along Rio del Toro. Phillip tells Jack that Edgar 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 John, claiming the one ultimately responsible was John himself and the life John lived. 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".

Character

Personality

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. Ross views himself as someone who enforces the rules and explains to John that the alternative outcome to having rules in civilization is simply "hell." But even though Ross admits the potential corruption of law enforcement, he still views himself and the agency as more justified than the outlaws they hunt, namely Dutch van der Linde. While Ross places the agency on a higher moral high ground than outlaws. Ross himself doesn't seem to be motivated by any morally justifiable reasons. Throughout the game Ross is only concerned with achieving personal glory and even mocks the citizens of Blackwater by calling them "scum" while berating John Marston.

In several instances throughout the game, Ross displays a rather dark, dry, morbid sense of humor. Joking that Abigail was "killed in a prison riot last week" and at one point threatened John with execution by electric chair instead of allowing him to see his family, if John did not co-operate with them.

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.

Mission Appearances

Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption 2

Quotes

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, or confiscating all your properties like that little farm of yours, or putting you in an electric chair. 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

Trivia

Character
  • Edgar is an English name meaning "fortunate and powerful".
  • Ross is a Scottish surname referring to a region in northern Scotland; it is derived from Gaelic ros, meaning "promontory" or "headland".
  • Edgar Ross does not mention Agent Milton in Red Dead Redemption; however, the insulting remarks he makes towards Abigail speculatively could be as a result of a grudge he holds against her for killing him.
    • However, it is also not clear whether or not Agent Milton and Agent Ross cared for each other as comrades, or if Ross saw his death as a way for him to advance his own career as a government agent.
  • The character of Ross shares numerous traits and thematic elements with Frank Tenpenny, the main antagonist of Rockstar Games' 2004 title Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Both are presented as corrupted law enforcers who abuse their power and connections to force the protagonist into working under their guidance, all while being portrayed as highly hypocritical individuals.
  • Ross' retirement from the Bureau of Investigation in 1913 mirrors Stanley Finch's, the first director of the Bureau's real-life counterpart.
Weaponry
  • Despite being a "man of modernism" he is seen using the Winchester Repeater as his weapon of choice, a model introduced in 1873 and was almost four decades in production by the time the events of Red Dead Redemption occurred.
    • Similarly, his favored handgun, the High Power Pistol, was already about 8 years into production as of 1911.
  • If the player loses in the duel on the Stranger side-mission "Remember My Family", Ross will use both a different shotgun and a low-tier handgun each time he is confronted by Jack.
Epilogue
  • If he is aimed at during "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed", the player can see he has a "friendly" cursor. This is merely a failsafe to stop the player from shooting and killing him.
  • 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.
  • Ross' corpse can be looted for 400 dollars after the duel.
    • If a powerful handgun is used, Ross' corpse might fall into the river, not allowing players to loot him unless pushed out of the river by walking slowly into the corpse.

Gallery

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