The Van Der Linde Gang has its issues but that doesn't mean the central focus of Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn't have some memorable friendships between members. The group is filled with so many different personalities and backgrounds so it shouldn't be surprising strong bonds were built through hardship. So many of the combinations have such strong ties to one another. So although the main focus of this game isn't exactly the friendships, it does well in this area too.
Let's rank the ten best Van Der Linde Gang friendships featured in Red Dead Redemption 2.
For much of the story, John Marston and Charles Smith were part of the Van Der Linde gang but weren't exactly best friends. It wasn't really until the epilogue that they grew close to one another. Charles helped John build a new life and home as he sought a new beginning after what happened to Arthur Morgan. Sometimes you can find friendships in the least expected places and they can end up being the strongest bonds.
Arthur and Lenny Summers had a friendship that was on display during one of the more memorable missions in the game. The mission in question had a drunk Arthur calling out for his friend Lenny in a saloon and desperately trying to find his friend.
Lenny's life was pretty difficult and still was as a black man in America at the turn of the century. They weren't super close, but friends nonetheless and that's all that really matters.
Many people like to draw comparisons between Hosea Matthews and Lenny's relationship and the one shared between Arthur and John. Like Arthur, Hosea sees himself in the younger fellow and wants him to build a better life outside of the gang. In turn, Lenny just wants to do right by Hosea just like John wants to do with Arthur.
Sadly, they both weren't able to see things through but were buried next to one another as they wanted. It was really emotional for players when they came across it in the world.
When players first come across Sadie Adler it's as an angry and confused widow who just saw her husband murdered in the dead of winter. As time goes on players, through Arthur's eyes, get to see this woman evolve into an independent woman who's looking for revenge through bounty hunting. When John runs into her in the epilogue you can tell that Arthur's passing put a heavy toll on her heart. She now just wants to live a life serving justice to the worst of people.
The toughest part of seeing someone as a father figure is realizing when that man is no longer who he once was. Arthur seemed to have the utmost respect for Dutch Van Der Linde and valued the life Dutch provided him with and the lessons he taught him. Dutch's fall from grace mentally seemed to hit Arthur and John the most and Dutch's decisions ultimately led to Arthur's death, unfortunately.
Javier Escuella and Bill Williamson are one of the only friendships you hear about in both games, the other being the one between Dutch and John. They're pretty different when it comes to their background and on paper look like oil and water next to one another. Whether through spite or stubbornness they both stay loyal to Dutch which leads to the rifts they have with John Marston during his journey of redemption. What an odd pairing of human beings.
As two of the oldest fellows in the entire Van Der Linde Gang, Dutch and Hosea have one of the stronger bonds in the whole crew. Many of the members feel that Hosea is the only one who can effectively whisper in Dutch's ear and lead him towards better decisions. Once Hosea passes players can witness the spiraling madness of Dutch as his right-hand man is no longer there to steer him straight. Hosea was the most important person in Dutch's life, sadly.
Towards the end of the game, players get to witness the real brutality of Dutch and what he's willing to do to stay free as he manipulates Eagle Falls and his tribe. During this whole time, Arthur is spending a lot of time with Charles as they try to navigate the end of the Van Der Linde Gang.
Charles came to grow close to Arthur and that bond may have been what made Charles want to help John in the epilogue. Charles always respected Arthur's search for redemption after a life of crime.
The friendship formed between Dutch and Micah Bell is one of the best in terms of narrative storytelling, but one of the worst when looking at what it resulted in. Micah was likely never really fully behind Dutch, but he understood how to not step on his toes while still trying to feed his escalating desperation. In the end, it seems that Dutch let Micah get the best of him, and it cost the lives of many other friends. Micah knew exactly what Dutch wanted to hear and Dutch ate every word of it.
It's hard not to put the relationship between Arthur and John at the top of the list. Not only are they the protagonists of their games, but they are also both men seeking redemption due to a life of crime and mistakes. Arthur's journey, once complete, puts a lot more context into what John fights for and why he's seeking to be a better person. They're the closest you could be to brothers without actually being blood-related. Arthur just wanted John to live an honest and happy life with Abigail.