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One Hidden Easter Egg Reveals More About Red Dead Redemption’s Most Notorious Outlaw

Summary

  • The Blackwater Ledger newspaper in Red Dead Redemption 2 reveals new information about the Van der Linde’s gang’s collapse and their legacy.
  • The newspaper article contains some inaccuracies but provides interesting facts, rumors, and opinions about the gang.
  • The article also reveals what other members of the gang, such as Javier, Charles, and Bill, were up to between RDR1 and RDR2.


One tiny detail in Red Dead Redemption 2 reveals a lot more about its most infamous villain. Both RDR games are set at the tail end of the Wild West era. By the time of RDR1, Pinkertons are rounding up the last remaining outlaws, horses are being replaced by cars, and the most storied gunslingers are either retired or dead. For the most part, cowboy heroism is the stuff of legends. Few cling to their memories of it, while the rest are content to read about it in storybooks and wonder what it might’ve been like way back when.

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2.]

Even so, the outlaw lifestyle isn’t totally dead. Mixed in with real-life history that inspires RDR2, there’s a coterie of fictional heroes and villains, a regular Wild West pantheon of outlaws and lawmen. They may not be all the legends promised they’d be – Honor is rarely so simple in RDR2 – but they do exist, and at least part of the stories about them must be true, right? As it turns out, even myth has a basis in fact, and some of these semi-mythical figures are still able to make history.

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An RDR2 Newspaper Hints At Dutch’s Legacy

Dutch holding up his hand with a thick mustache from RDR2.

As shared by Reddit user Illustrious_Monk_607, players can buy and read an issue of the Blackwater Ledger reporting on the collapse and public perception of Dutch van der Linde’s gang. Issue 73 of the paper, which is of course only available near the end of the game, contains an article titled “Notorious Bad Man Alive: Van Der Linde Reportedly Seen In Tall Trees.” It goes on to detail the destruction of the gang in 1899 at the climax of RDR2.

The article gets a couple of details wrong. It lists Arthur’s cause of death not as tuberculosis, but as a Pinkerton raid. It also uses a less-common moniker for the gang itself, referring to them as Dutch’s Boys instead of the Van der Linde gang. However, it does contain several interesting facts, rumors, and opinions. It reports on Micah’s return to retrieve the Blackwater stash, and states that the stolen money has never been recovered. That remains true, and later, John, Sadie, and Charles go after it in the final mission “American Venom.”

The article also discusses Dutch’s flight to Tall Trees, where he remains in hiding until the Army lures him out in RDR1. It even touches on what other members of the Van der Linde Gang have been up to. But most importantly, it explains the gang’s legacy in contemporary culture. The Blackwater Ledger describes the Van der Linde Gang’s exploits as “the stuff of legend,” with their stories immortalized in literature and song. They’ve become the kinds of folk heroes they used to read about – but of course, that kind of notoriety comes at the cost of their own lives.

Issue 73 of the Blackwater Ledger can only be purchased near the end of the game – naturally, it only becomes available during the 1907 chapters, after the gang has been broken up and Dutch has had a few years to gain a foothold in Tall Trees. It becomes available immediately after completion of “The Landowning Classes,” in which John deals with some squatters in exchange for a loan. Newspaper vendors in both Blackwater and Strawberry have it in stock, but it’s likely easier for most to buy it in Blackwater, since that’s where the mission that unlocks it ends.

What The Newspaper Explains About The Van Der Linde Gang

Where Were Charles, Javier, And Bill Between RDR2 & RDR1?

Issue 73 of the Blackwater Ledger also details some of what the other members of the Van der Linde gang were up to between RDR2 and the prequel RDR1. To some extent, there aren’t many surprises there, since most of the information included lines up with what John eventually learns when he tracks down his former friends in RDR1. However, it’s interesting to see just how much the police, the Pinkertons, and the press already knew about the former gang members’ activity, and how much they wouldn’t learn until later.

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Of course, it was already rumored in 1907 that Dutch had escaped to Tall Trees. However, it was also a fairly well-known fact that Javier had fled to Mexico, and was lying low in the mountains of Diez Coronas. He would eventually find work as a hitman for Nuevo Paraíso governor Colonel Allende, and take up residence at a nearby fort. This is where John later finds him, and may choose either to capture or kill him in the RDR1 mission “The Gates of El Presidio.”

As for Charles and Bill, they’ve made a much cleaner escape. The Blackwater Ledger doesn’t appear to know where they ended up, even though Charles is right under their very nose. Bill’s whereabouts are a complete mystery, even to John and the player. However, it’s likely he’s already on his way to New Austin by 1907. Considering the progress he’s made there by 1911, with command of a gang and an abandoned fort all his own, Bill probably began establishing himself there immediately after the Van der Linde Gang’s fallout.

The press doesn’t seem to be aware of Micah’s gang, either. It simply states that the other members of the gang – John, Charles, Bill, Micah, Javier, and Dutch – are still at large. For Dutch’s part, he’s still actively pursued by the law, and is said to have “one of the largest bounties on his head for kill or capture.” It only gets worse between 1907 and 1911, as his further crimes attract even more attention. This raises his criminal profile, and spurs the law to go after him. That eventually becomes John’s responsibility, and the main thrust of RDR1‘s campaign.

RDR2 has one of the richest open worlds in recent memory, full of little details that color in its setting. But while these are usually limited to strange, one-off happenings or historical tie-ins, a few of them actually reveal a little bit more about its central story and main characters. It’s a small detail, one that few will notice. But it reveals a lot more about how the Van der Linde gang fits into the world of Red Dead Redemption 2, and that helps bring the game’s vision of the Wild West to life.

Source: Illustrious_Monk_607/Reddit

Red Dead Redemption 2 Poster

Red Dead Redemption 2

Franchise
red dead

Released
October 26, 2018

Developer(s)
Rockstar Studios

Multiplayer
Online Co-Op , Online Multiplayer

Platforms
Xbox One

Publishers
Rockstar Games

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