RDR2's Top 10 Most Vicious Van der Linde Gang Members Ranked

The Van der Linde gang in Red Dead Redemption 2 is full of vicious outlaws. Many of these men and women are noted for their violent tendencies. With that being said, which member of the gang is the most capable? If we were in a jam, with say, some local goons who planned to hang us by our feet and skin us alive, who would we want to bring to give us a hand?

Many different gunslingers come to mind for this task, each with their own specialties. So let’s break it down and discuss which of these gang members would be the best in a gunfight. We will be ranking the Van Der Linde gang members in order of effectiveness, while also discussing their individual strengths and skills.

10) Bill Williamson

Bill Williamson

The only member of the Van der Linde Gang with official military training, Bill is a burly and versatile fighter whose pride is sometimes his downfall. He has a short fuse and is an accomplished shooter with his Bolt Action Rifle, which is based on the standard military-issue for the US Army at the turn of the century. He makes a valuable addition to any posse, especially ones involved in robberies and tropical island battles. Bill is also an important part of the Saint Denis Bank robbery and the assault on Fussar’s compound.

What makes Bill special: Brute Strength

Bill is a man who really has no fear, no doubt from his days as a soldier in which he was taught to be a stern fighter. His only real downside is his anger and his pride, which brings him into frequent fights with his comrades. However, despite this, no one would choose to be on the wrong side of Bill, especially considering his terrible anger problem and a short fuse. In Red Dead Redemption 2, Bill is violent and treacherous, as shown by his siding with Dutch against Arthur, Sadie, and John. In Red Dead Redemption, the original, Bill has his own gang, but pride leads to his downfall at the hands of John and the US Government. 

9) Javier Escuella 

Javier Escuella

One of Dutch’s chief enforcers and trusted gunmen, Javier is a bandit with a Mexican background. His fiery temper and pride make him one not to cross.  He is known as a bounty hunter and revolutionary, as well as a loyal friend. He saves John from the wolves in Coulter and carries him home. He is instrumental in the subsequent fight against the O’Driscolls. Javier again helps his fellow gang members when he helps Arthur and company save Sean from bounty hunters in the Horseshoe Overlook chapter. Dutch trusts Javier immensely and use him as a guard in the Saint Denis bank robbery as well as a trusted gunman in Guarma. Javier’s revolutionary zeal is a real asset here and he helps bring down the Fussar regime.

What makes Javier special: Determination 

Javier has deep conviction. His father was killed for demanding fair treatment of workers and Javier has carried that mantle throughout his life. He fights for his friends and the people who the US and Mexican Governments wish to oppress. This belief in the right thing allows him to fight with great power. In Red Dead Redemption, he has gone back into Mexico, and only survives by working as a hit-man and enforcer for the Allende regime.

8) Lenny Summers

Lenny Summers

Lenny is a somewhat new member of the gang, but despite this, he is very competent and ambitious. When the gang decides to rob Leviticus Cornwall, Dutch takes volunteers and praises Lenny for his eagerness. In the assault on the O’Driscoll camp, Lenny decimates foes with ease alongside Javier. Lenny’s grandparents went through the unbelievable hardships of the Antebellum South, and because of this, Lenny is a proud man who wishes to do things differently. A smooth operator, a good listener, and a shootist with a heart of gold, Lenny is a great addition to the gang. Lenny shows his usefulness by taking out Cornwall’s men on the train, easily escaping from Strawberry when Micah loses control and also assaulting Shady Belle. This gives the gang a new home in Lemoyne, which comes at a very important time when the gang has the Pinkertons, lawmen, and Cornwall all on their tail.

What makes Lenny special: Ambition

Though he has been through some hard times, Lenny makes the most of his opportunity in the Van der Linde Gang and treats them all like family. Hosea thinks very highly of him, so much so, that he is even buried right next to him. Lenny is trying to rise through the ranks of the gang and Dutch picks him for important roles left and right. Lenny leads the assault on the O’Driscolls in Coulter. He and Arthur rob a stagecoach in Saint Denis, and it is Lenny’s idea to take Shady Belle from the Lemoyne raiders. With such a bright view for the future and combat skills to match, Lenny makes for quite a competent companion in almost any setting.

7) Charles Smith

Charles Smith

Though a recent addition to the Van der Linde Gang, Charles is a proficient hunter and tracker. This skill makes him a valuable addition to the team, and there are many instances in which his talent with weapons, such as bows, knives, and his trusty sawed-off shotgun are showcased. In the Coulter chapter, he teaches Arthur to track and hunt which keeps the gang fed and surviving. In the Horseshoe Overlook chapter, Charles teams with Arthur to dispatch some bison poachers. When hiding out in the barn after the Cornwall Carriage robbery, Charles shows his violent capabilities. He is also instrumental in clearing the Murfree Brood out of Beaver Hollow which ends up giving the gang shelter in their time of great need. In the epilogue, he is engaged in brutal boxing matches and shows that he is just as good with his fists as he is with weapons.

What makes Charles Special: Honor

Charles has a deep sense of honor and appreciation for nature due to his Native-American heritage. This leads to him teaching Arthur to hunt, which helps the gang get the food they so desperately need while on the run from Blackwater. His honor again intercedes on his behalf when he befriends the Wapiti Native Americans. Owing to their shared common background, his deep sympathy for the men allow him to become an integral part in putting the hurt on Colonel Favours and the US Army.

6) Hosea Matthews 

Hosea Matthews

Hosea is a co-founder of the gang and elder statesmen of sorts. As Dutch’s closest advisor, his main asset is wisdom and being the voice of reason to the often maniacal and angry Dutch. Hosea uses his mind as a weapon and formulates different strategies to accomplish bigger picture tasks. Hosea is an accomplished conman, hunter, and horse rustler. He is instrumental in the seduction of the Braithwaite clan, which gives the gang the upper hand in Rhodes.

What makes Hosea special: Intelligence

This is fairly obvious, but Hosea is everything Dutch is not. He is the older, wiser, and more thoughtful version of Dutch. His mind is his weapon and his strategies are second to none. In many ways, without Hosea, Dutch would have found himself in ruin much sooner. It is no surprise that Dutch’s decisions lead to the gang’s downfall after Hosea is gone. With no senior member to effectively protest against Dutch's wild ambitions, the gang is led down the path to destruction.

5) Dutch Van Der Linde

Dutch van der Linde

Although the leader of the Van der Linde Gang, Dutch often shows a lack of control and thirst for revenge. Dutch is smart, charming, and manipulative. He is extremely efficient with his Schofield Revolvers, and is outwardly a quite violent individual. Dutch has a way with words, and his care for his “sons” as he calls them, makes him a great teacher and visionary. Dutch is shown as ruthless when he strangles the old woman in Guarma, as well as when he feeds Angelo Bronte to the gators. His temper often gets the best of him and clouds his judgment.

What makes Dutch special: Charisma

Dutch is a great leader. He is charismatic, articulate, and a well-respected teacher. He teaches John to read and write, steps in as a father figure for Arthur, and gives Sadie the encouragement she needs to embrace her violent wild side. Dutch’s anger is his downfall however and leads to the dissolution of his gang.

4) John Marston

John Marston

The protagonist of the original Red Dead Redemption, John is a skilled enforcer, robber, horseman, bounty hunter, and general jack-of-all-trades outlaw. His love for his family is deep, and they are used against him in the first game when they are kidnapped by the US Government. This pressures him into being an extremely effective and violent tool on their behalf, and he kills scores of enemies and accomplishes his goals quite well. In some ways, John is selfish, as seen when he abandons his wife and son for a year.  He can also be naive and too trusting, as is the case in his relationship with Dutch and law enforcement. Still, John is a highly capable man and hands out violent beatings like candy. 

What makes John special: Strength in Crisis

John’s love for his family is his power when fighting in the first game. When his family is kidnapped, he uses his anger as a weapon and voraciously completes any task ahead of him, all to bring them to safety. John chooses violence when it means protecting his family or his gang. Deep down, as a generally good man, John only commits crimes on their behalf or benefit. This makes John a good friend and a versatile fighter.

3) Sadie Adler

Sadie Adler

Though originally not a violent woman, Sadie loves revenge. After her husband is killed by the O’Driscolls, she utilizes her anger as a way to help the gang get rid of Colm and their enemies alike. Sadie is shown many times handling herself with great ease. She seems to enjoy violent confrontations. She devises the plan to save John from Sisika, where she and Arthur mop up dozens of guards and lawmen. When accosted at the bar, she smoothly slides a knife into the man's hand and puts everyone on notice. At Hanging Dog Ranch, she takes down an army of O'Driscolls. This is perhaps the most memorable Sadie moment as she fights them bravely, killing dozens alongside Arthur. She eventually sits down to contemplate her anger, totally covered in head to toe with the blood of her enemies.

What makes Sadie special: Adaptability

Sadie did not start out as a hardened killer or bounty-hunter. Rather, she was a sweet wife who lived a normal life. Underestimated and feeding off the revenge for her husband’s death, she rolls with the punches and becomes the woman she knew she had to be in her new life. She is deeply loyal to John and Arthur and is shown as skilled with a vast variety of weapons and approaches to violence. She is often shown to be unforgiving, like when she kills Cleet after John spares him. Her experiences with the Van der Linde Gang allow her to pursue a successful career in bounty hunting and corporate security.

2) Micah Bell

Micah Bell

The wily and two-timing Micah Bell is one of the most violent characters ever introduced into the Red Dead saga. His merciless anger is shown when he fights down a whole town of lawmen and outlaws in search of his previous revolvers. Micah shows his prowess when robbing the stagecoach with Arthur and when he dispatches many of Gray’s men in Rhodes. Micah helps destroy Fussar’s encampment with dynamite and shows how little remorse he has. He pulls the gang apart with his manipulative approach to Dutch, and constantly irritates Arthur with his snide remarks and exceptionally skilled form of rude sarcasm.

What makes Micah special: Ruthlessness

Micah has no scruples, nothing he is above doing as a way to save himself.  As a survivor, he easily gives the gang up to save himself. Micah only cares about one man and that is himself. This allows him to get through life with no strings attached and makes him a vicious person to come into contact with. Micah is a smart man as well, and learning from Dutch, he eventually forms his own gang, making their base at Mount Hagen in the epilogue. He is shown to be a skilled fighter, as he stabs Sadie, almost killing her. Micah beats Arthur in a fight as well, but this is when Arthur is weak and sick. His viciousness and ruthlessness make him a man not to be crossed.

1) Arthur Morgan

Arthur Morgan

Arthur is the most loyal member of the Van der Linde Gang. Dutch is like a father to him and is treated with respect and love by Arthur. Arthur is the most versatile member of the gang, proving extremely valuable as an enforcer, bank robber, hitman, loan shark, and general all-purpose outlaw. He is a natural with every weapon he comes across, and he shows an ability to think on his feet and make decisions in the heat of battle. Arthur uses the memory of his deceased son as fuel for his ever-burning fire of violence. This makes him the most dangerous man in the Van der Linde Gang.

What makes Arthur special: Loyalty

Arthur’s loyalty is his main attribute, and he is almost killed on many occasions trying to protect and save his friends from danger. Arthur’s years of experience as a violent enforcer for the Van der Linde Gang make him an exceptional shooter, fighter, and horseman. His versatility in committing a vast number of crimes makes him an ideal choice for any occasion. 


As you can clearly see, the Van der Linde Gang has more than their fair share of capable cowpokes. Whether it's proficiency in violence, as with Sadie or Micah, or a more refined intellectual approach, a la Dutch and Hosea, this group of outlaws is suited to almost any occasion. With general all-purpose cowboys like John and Arthur, there is a wide array of good candidates to choose from when looking for someone to take with you to a gunfight. One thing is for sure: Do NOT mess with the Van der Linde Gang.

 

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