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Some questions about Dutch.


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Just finished the game recently and I have got 2 questions, the first being: Was Dutch planning to betray everyone all along or did he simply change? my second question is: Why did he act like he cared about Arthur when he was dying? he clearly didn't care about him when he was almost stabbed in the oil factory so why did he seem to care about Arthur even though he knew he was dying? was it just his ego? Thanks.

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People will have different ways of interpreting the ending and Dutch's development, but this is my view;


Its speculated by some of the gang members that Dutch began slowly changing a while ago, beginning with him shooting the girl in the blackwater massacre pre-prologue. This gets progressivly worse during the game and he becomes more and more reckless, unable to lay low and instead constantly draws more attention to the gang. Losing Hosea is a huge factor in his "insanity" and Micah (who is extremely selfish) replacing Hosea ultimately puts him over the edge, making him super paranoid and he probably genuinly thinks the other members could betray or backstab him.

It ties into your second question where he realizes way too late that he did mess up and ruined the gang and the life he lived for basically his whole adult life. When Arthur tells Dutch Micah was the rat all along, I dont think he believes him right away. On top of the mountain I think he finally sees it and walks away from Micah. Its also the only time in the game we see Dutch unable to say something and possibly feels incredibly guilty about Arthur and everything else. 




Edited by Jisoo
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Dutch did not think or want to betray the gang, it was everything he lived for. His way of life was the outlaw life which he points out during the game; he really did not like industrialization, big cities and stuff. Instead, he loved the wild west savage utopia where the man could only live if they are hard, cunning enough. The band I think was everything for him, and he did care about the gang members. the problem was that the world was in a status of change, there was no "wild" land anymore so he and the band was forced to flee. As they killed and robbed and did very "outlaw" stuff, they couldn't linger for long in towns. 


This relentless pursuit, and the fact that they are not Robin Hood anymore (Hosea says this, he mentions they turned into a bunch of killers) was I think what triggered his "change". But, I think he didn't change, he just got found out as John point out to Sadie in the epilogue; as long as he had power and breathing room (one step ahead of the law), he was more relaxed and less stressful. But as the civilized world was closing on them, he became more relentless, violent and so on. He left Arthur in the oil factory because he thought a disloyal Arthur is no more useful to him.


This with the loss of Hosea and the full-scale insidious ground work of Micah was what tossed him out of balance, increased his paranoia and finally pushed him to the end. When Arthur died, I think he realized how horribly wrong he was and that Arthur didn't betray him. But at that time was not crazy or something, even in the Epilogue was seems to be fully on terms what he had done and he planned to kill Micah as revenge. This is supported by what he said to John when he asked what he was doing there ("same as you, I suppose"). 


I didn't play with the first RDR game so do not hold me to this but I think the coming years were which drove him mad. It was just not the world he wished to live in, and realized that his actions, killings, robbing didn't change the world one bit, he couldn't bear this thought therefore he no longer wanted to live anymore.


Bottom line, I don't think he was all-out crazy, he just wanted something which was not there anymore. 

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There are some theories in internet that the community talk about Dutch, that it looks like he started going "insane" after some events that may have happened.

Strange Man (https://www.youtube.com/@StrangeManChannel) explain well in their video.



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I've been playing the game since it came out on PC towards the end of 2019 and I'm currently on my fourth playthrough. I still don't have a concrete opinion of Dutch and his motives. There's so many sides to him that make him such a complex and compelling character but that can make him difficult to figure out with any certainty. As Jisoo says, people will have different views and interpretations so it's always interesting to hear/see what others have to say too.


That said, my current thinking is that I don't think Dutch was ever planning to betray everyone all along. I think that Dutch demands loyalty from those around him so if he thinks someone's loyalty is wavering or he thinks he himself has been betrayed, then he will turn on that person. He constantly questions Arthur for doubting him throughout the game and there's even a camp interaction in Chapter 2 where Dutch says that he thinks Arthur will betray him in the end. By the time you are in those oil fields in Chapter 6, Arthur and Dutch are really at loggerheads and I think Dutch sees that moment as a chance to rid himself of a growing problem by letting Arthur potentially get stabbed. I think it's a very in-the-moment thing from him. He couldn't have predicted events would play out like that nor is he doing the stabbing himself. He's just kind of letting fate decide what happens to Arthur. Does Dutch care for Arthur? Probably, yes. But they have such a fractured relationship at that point that Dutch is willing to walk away and then pretend that it didn't happen when Arthur survives. I think the key element here on whether Dutch cares for Arthur is that he never actually attempts to get rid of Arthur himself at any point.


Does Dutch change? Again, this is where it gets complex for me. Part of me wonders if Dutch was always like this and it's actually people like Arthur and John who change. Arthur's questioning Dutch from the very beginning (about Blackwater) so is Arthur finally seeing the real Dutch after all this time and that only gets stronger as the events of the game play out? Same with John who becomes more family orientated towards Abigail and Jack as the game progresses? In some ways, Dutch preys on the young and impressionable (Arthur and John were both kids when they hook up with Dutch) and the weak and the vulnerable (people like Swanson who struggles with a morphine addiction). The gang members all owe Dutch something or feel that they do and they kind of worship him and have blind faith in him and unquestioning loyalty. Does Dutch surround himself with people like that on purpose so that he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, all under the guise of being their messiah and salvation?


Another part of me is more in line with Jisoo and Viktor and that if Dutch changed, it was likely around the time of the Blackwater massacre and the changing world that no longer welcomed the life of an outlaw. We rarely see Dutch and the gang on the front foot in RDR2, they're always scrambling and responding to events not going as planned. Dutch is under a lot of pressure trying to change their fortunes. Throw in Micah weaseling his way into Dutch's good graces, the likes of Arthur questioning him after being with him so long and then the loss of Hosea who was a calming influence on him, and it leads to Dutch getting more desperate and reckless.

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There are differents interpretations about Dutch. I personally believe he always was the person we saw during the endgame. Arrogant and selfish. Dutch was better at hiding it during peaceful times, but his true colors appeared among the desperation of the last chapters.


It is also important to notice how Arthur matured during the game. He was slowly opening his eyes, thinking independently. The events of the story changed his lifeview and made him see Dutch for who he truly was. And so did we, the players behind Arthur.

Edited by FamousActor_
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Agree with FamousActor. Reading the posts before I was intending to post the same, but he beat me to it. I think Dutch was this man all along. But as the walls closed in it was exposed. I felt no affinity to Dutch al the way through the game. All bluster and bad plans. I wondered why I was following this man? Father figure? Hardly.


His talent was in crafting a persona. Manipulative. And as FA says, this could be disguised until the walls were too close to keep the charade.


I didn't trust him at the start. Questioned him in the middle. And despised him by the end. No way I would have followed the man as portrayed in the game, and I hoped that Arthur would see what I saw. But he only did when it was too late.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well Dutch is actually from the Netherlands and you can gather a TON of info just from that fact alone! The Dutch people are all awful spiteful individuals! After the whole Schleswig Holstein war they became very bitter folk! Dutch’s heritage is really portrayed well by his cynicism and his willingness to be an evil cruel man!

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I don’t think Dutch ever intended or believe he was betraying the gang. Rather he believed he was being betrayed by them.


Dutch is a classic example of bad leadership under pressure.


Arthur, John and Hosea try to tell him hard truths with his own best interests at heart, as well as everyone else’s, but Dutch wrongly perceived that as criticism and them not having his back. Instead he turns more and more to Micah, who tells him what he wants to hear. This gives him a feeling of security, but Micah only has his own interests at heart, and influences him more in the wrong direction.


Theres also a suggestion that whilst Dutch has an appealing vision that the gang buys into, he ultimately cares more about being in charge than the vision itself.


As a side point though, I think Dutch is one of the best written, most complex characters I’ve ever seen in a computer game. If it were a movie Benjamin Byron Davies would be up for an Academy Award imho.


PS after my thoughts it re-read the OPs question at the end: why does Dutch seem to care about Arthur dying, after leaving him for dead in “My Last Boy?”.


My interpretation is this is the point of realisation from Dutch of the mistake he has made. He thought Arthur was being disloyal in his critiques before and took that personally. But I’m the final fight with Micah I think it dawns on him Arthur was trying to do what was right for everyone, and Micah was the wrong person to listen to. Most likely because at that point Arthur is so close to death and bearing no animosity to Dutch, ony speaking the Truth.


Then consider his actions in American Venom. John asks him why he is there, and he replies something like “same reason as you, I guess”. And Johns reason is obvious - he’s there to kill Micah. So Dutch clearly realised Micah had been responsible for the collapse of the gang. But also he walks past John glaring at him. To me this says that whilst Dutch sees Micah for what he is at the end, his arrogance prevents him from accepting responsibility for taking the rat into his confidence. Instead the look at John is his way of saying “if you’d supported me better it wouldn’t have turned out like this”. As a leader of course it is Dutch who is accountable for this mistake - but his ego prevents him from seeing it like that - it is easier for him to imagine a way to blame others rather than himself.

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19 hours ago, Jimbatron said:

As a side point though, I think Dutch is one of the best written, most complex characters I’ve ever seen in a computer game. If it were a movie Benjamin Byron Davies would be up for an Academy Award imho.


Important point, and my criticism of Dutch the man is not a reflection of how compelling he is as a character.  He is very well-written, and voice acted, and many of the characters in RDR 2 are. But really, only Dutch and Arthur reach their level


I talked about how I shifted from questioning to distrust to rejection.  Like I felt I could see through his mask, that what bubbled beneath the surface was insecurity and hubris. All of his bluster and grandiosity was covering for the fact that he really, deep down, had no idea what to do. How to guide his flock through the storm. Oh sure, if asked about it he'd reply confidently, as though he knew the path he is choosing is the one which leads to salvation and security. But we know now that it could never have been so.


By chapter 3 I could see this quite clearly I think. Plan after plan went awry.  But there was Dutch saying 'trust me'. Yeah, and why would I do that Dutch? But of course I couldn't speak for Arthur whose sense of loyalty kept him from seemingly ever reaching the necessary conclusions, at least until it was too late. I felt like Dutch was a persona, a carefully crafted image of what a leader should be. But he lacked the very things that leaders need to be successful. It was all a charade.


This isn't to say Dutch didn't mean well, or that he didn't want the best for his camp. Maybe he did. But I think it's clear he would always have been unable to deliver, much better at convincing than conviction. That the followers didn't catch on earlier is surprising in a sense, but then that would have blown a hole in the story's progression. But people only accept so much failure before they question the man at the top. This didn't happen in RDR 2 to the extent that seems warranted. Maybe the camp wanted to believe in Dutch. Maybe they needed to as it gave them hope. But all would have been better off in the end had they seen Dutch for who he is rather than the man he wanted them to see.

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I played the mission Archaeology For Beginners today and if you discuss Dutch with Rains Fall, his view is that you can rarely change a person and that you just start to see them for who they really are. 

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I love this topic, I could talk about Dutch all day long and his complexity. I don't think he had any intention of betraying his members, and he did change. The way people speak of Dutch, even new additions like Charles think highly of him. They all met him under bizarre but controlled circumstances, he showed them a path. I think he groomed Arthur and John into believing in the con life, and that already makes him quite the shady man when you think about it. Dutch under controlled circumstances is a half jester and half elegant outlaw with the silver tongue, but with him being shoved into a corner because of his mistakes, that makes him into a spiteful vulture that'll feed on anything. He left Arthur and John to die to not only dispose of traitors in his eyes, but to buy time for his escape. Sisika would've gunned down Dutch without any second thought, he knew this and couldn't risk the others who want to protect him at that point, it's all ultimately about his own selfish desires in the end. He didn't care about John in the end, he just again wanted to (and rightly so) pin the blame on Micah and shoot him. As soon as John makes it clear he's there to kill Micah, Dutch turns on Micah. He was always a man who was willing to sacrifice others for his personal gain, those sacrifices just happened to become his own people in the end, as sad as that is, it's the truth. It's him before everyone else. I think it needs to be made abundantly clear that despite his loveable and hateable characteristics, he is a wanted thief and a killer, those two make a bad man. In my eyes, he was never a good man, but a neutral entity turned insane because of his choices.

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One reason why there's so many different views of Dutch is that the game does a great job of keeping you guessing and never actually commits to any particular trait or action to give you a definitive answer.


Take My Last Boy for example seeing as we have been discussing it. When Dutch "leaves" Arthur, the cut scene very carefully doesn't show you Dutch's face. We just see his body from below the neck turning and walking away. Without the face to read his expression, we truly have no way of knowing exactly what Dutch is doing in that moment and as such keeping us the player in the same state of doubt as Arthur is in the game.


It's a truly magnificent game with so many facets to it.

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