The plot of Red Dead Redemption 2 could have turned out entirely differently had Hosea survived the Saint Denis heist instead of Dutch. That disastrous heist marked one of the biggest turning points for the game, and the Van der Linde gang’s downward spiral rapidly accelerated from that point. However, a different leader at the helm may have been able to stem the bleeding.
[Warning: The following article contains spoilers for RDR2.]
The Saint Denis heist in Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the biggest and most dramatic moments of the game. What was supposed to be a major score for the gang led to the shocking deaths of Lenny and Hosea. Without Hosea around to temper Dutch’s ambition, Micah’s influence grew and accelerated the Van der Linde gang’s demise. Considering Dutch’s fall to evil in RDR2, one could wonder if the gang’s fate could have been changed if one detail from the heist had been different. If Dutch had been the elder member to die instead of Hosea, the future of the Van der Linde gang could have been far different.
Without Dutch around, the gang would obviously face some immediate challenges. Dutch was their leader, and a very charismatic one at that. While Hosea is quite respected as well, he doesn’t have the same commanding presence that Dutch did. In addition, considering how highly the rest of the gang thought of Dutch, their bonds may have been tested after his death. While it’s very likely that Hosea could have led RDR2‘s Van der Linde gang in Dutch’s place, it’s possible that some of the members who were heavily faithful to Dutch such as Bill or Javier may have left in response. However, Javier is more likely to stay considering that he is close to other members of the gang as well.
One major change would come in the way that Micah is treated. For most of the game, Dutch seems to be the only member of the gang who likes Micah at all, while everyone else sees him as the violent, selfish bully that he is. Hosea would certainly be less permissive of Micah’s horrible behavior, and he would likely rebuff his ideas as well. Dutch trusted Micah for too long in RDR2, but Hosea is unlikely to make the same mistake. Micah likely wouldn’t take this perceived rejection well, and without allies in the gang, he may have turned against them, either shooting up the camp or leaving to start the gang he normally creates in Red Dead Redemption 2‘s epilogue ahead of schedule.
Between the combined threats of the Pinkertons and an enraged Micah, Hosea’s biggest difference in leadership between him and Dutch in Red Dead Redemption 2‘s closing chapters would be the gang’s end. Unlike Dutch, Hosea expresses his wishes for the younger members of the gang to find good lives for themselves. Following the deaths of Sean, Lenny, and Dutch, he would likely have plenty of reason to want the gang members to make themselves safe. This would be especially true in the case of the Marston family because of young Jack. While the gang would still break up, the fates of the Van der Linde gang members in RDR2 would hopefully be better, as the breakup would be out of Hosea’s concerns rather than Dutch’s incompetence and growing corruption.
Of course, it’s impossible to say what exactly would have happened if Hosea had survived, because the game’s canon required him to die at Saint Denis. However, there is fair reason to believe that with him in charge, the Van der Linde gang’s end could have involved a lot less sadness and bloodshed. However, that is a version of Red Dead Redemption 2 that no one will ever see, no matter how much a happier ending may be desired.