Bill Williamson first appeared as a primary antagonist in the 2010 video game Red Dead Redemption and returns in a currently unknown capacity in Red Dead Redemption 2. He was a member of Dutch’s Gang, and was John Marston’s first target after Marston tasked with hunting down his former partners.
Bill Williamson is voiced by Steve J. Palmer, an American actor.
In Red Dead Redemption, Bill can be seen carrying the Winchester Repeater, the Schofield Revolver and the Cattleman Revolver.
Bill Williamson is first encountered at Fort Mercer in New Austin.
Born in 1866, Bill is 45 years old during the events of Red Dead Redemption (though he looks much older). Prior to joining the Van der Linde Gang, Bill served in the military before becoming an outlaw. Drawn to the idealistic views of Dutch, he became deeply invested in the gang leader’s vision for the West. After a job went awry in 1906 and the gang left one of their own behind (John Marston), Dutch grew increasingly unhinged until the gang ultimately disbanded. Bill remained in New Austin and started his new gang, a band of vicious outlaws fuelled by his own violent tendencies created by his disappointment in Dutch.
Years later, John Marston is brought back to the West Elizabeth/New Austin area with the task of hunting down his former comrades, and the now notorious Bill Williamson was his first target.
Events of Red Dead Redemption 2
During an unknown time period prior to the events of Red Dead Redemption, Bill Williamson is associated with Arthur Morgan and, presumably, Dutch van der Linde. Dutch’s gang is active during this time with Morgan being a member.
Bill is involved in a job which results in the burning down of a large building in an unknown settlement, where Morgan is also present. It can be assumed he is already a member of Dutch’s gang at this point.
Events of Red Dead Redemption
After John Marston arrives in Blackwater, he boards a train taking him to New Austin where he is to confront and arrest Bill Williamson. Bill, now the leader of his own gang, was operating out of Fort Mercer. John approached the Fort and attempted to persuade Bill to give himself up without a fight, but the disillusioned outlaw refused, mocking John for what Bill saw as turncoat betrayal. Several of Bill’s men held John at gunpoint and shot him when he reached for his revolver.
Thinking John dead, Bill and his men left him out in the wilderness, however the former outlaw was merely wounded, and later Bonnie MacFarlane and Amos happened upon him. They took him to the doctor in Armadillo who removed the bullet from his torso for $15 which Bonnie paid. To settle his debt, John started working at Bonnie’s ranch, but upon learning he had survived, Bill sent his men to burn the ranch down. They set the barn on fire but John manages to save the horses.
After the attack on the MacFarlane ranch, Bill and his gang attacked and plundered the Ridgewood Farm, killing most residents. John and Marshal Johnson ride to the Farm to clear out the gang members and save the survivors. The Marshal’s men, with John’s help, wipe out the gang members but Bill manages to flee back to Fort Mercer. His second in command, Norman Deek, is captured alive.
Soon after, a member of Bill’s gang informs the Marshal that they hold Bonnie MacFarlane hostage and will kill her if Deek is not returned to them in Tumbleweed. Upon taking the captured outlaw to the agreed location, Bill’s gang ambushes John, killing Deek in the process while preparing to hang Bonnie. Her noose tightens at the side of her head preventing her neck from being broken, and John manages to kill the gang members and save Bonnie in time.
After saving Bonnie, John plans a raid on Fort Mercer to deal with Bill Williamson, and recruits seven townspeople to help in exchange for doing missions for them first. Eventually they are ready for the attack, which goes smoothly resulting in almost the entire gang being wiped out. Bill, however, escapes once more with the help of another former partner of John’s, Javier Escuela. Bill flees to Mexico, to be dealt with later.
In Mexico, John gets mixed up with a local civil war and initially sides with Colonel Allende, however the Colonel ends up betraying him. Unbeknownst to John, Bill had allied himself with the Colonel. When the leader of the rebels who oppose Allende is captured, John goes to rescue him. After saving Reyes, the leader of the rebels, John goes after Bill and Allende, who are escaping together.
When the stagecoach of the two is disabled, Allende turned on Bill by dragging him out of the vehicle and offering him in exchange for being allowed to live. Should John hesitate to shoot the Colonel at this point, Reyes will do so instead. Bill then attempts to feint John by claiming to surrender and come with him to Blackwater willingly, but he quickly reaches for his pistol at which point either John or Reyes shoots him down. At this point, the Williamson gang had lost almost all of its members, its hideout and now its leader, essentially forcing them to disband.
Red Dead Redemption
- “Exodus in America”
- “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Bandit”
- “An Appointed Time”
Red Dead Redemption 2
Williamson fits the textbook description of a typical Wild West bandit or outlaw. He is described as an utterly ruthless and violent man driven by greed and ambition. His lack of morals seemingly contradicts his being drawn to Dutch’s idealistic world view, and his personality seems to be completely at odds with what Dutch wanted to originally achieve. However it is possible he too became as violent and jaded as he is after the fall of the Van der Linde Gang.
Prior to the gang being disbanded, the relationship between John and Bill had already deteriorated. In spite of having what once was true camaraderie and friendship between them, the two began to vie for Dutch’s attention, leading to a rivalry which devolved into open hatred.
Bill Williamson is one of the few main characters not to appear in Undead Nightmare.
Bill Williamson is seemingly the least educated member of the former Van der Linde Gang, often bringing up John’s low opinion of his intelligence (“You always did think I was an idiot.”) and mocking him whenever he used non-standard parlance.
Through the Liars and Cheats DLC pack for Red Dead Redemption, Bill Williamson becomes a playable skin in Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer mode. The skin is filed under the “Damnation” tab, indicating his irredeemable status in the game’s story and lore.
During each encounter with Bill, he almost never attempts to confront John himself, sending his goons instead, and in all cases where his life is threatened, he immediately turns tail or begins to bargain.