Bounty Hunter

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"Their kind of scum," in person.
Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared.

Born of the Old West but found in many other genres since, the Bounty Hunter makes a living pursuing criminals for the price on their heads. His line of work often makes him gruff and cynical, if he lives long enough, and in the eyes of some citizens he may be only slightly better than the criminals he hunts.

Sometimes, the Bounty Hunter captures criminals and brings them back to face trial (which is how real bounty hunters operate nowadays). But other times, especially in Westerns, the bounty hunter's reward is of the "Dead or Alive" variety, and many bounty hunters of the latter type kill their bounties rather than let them Run for the Border. These kinds of bounty hunters are often called "bounty killers," or more pejoratively, "assassins" or "headhunters." This has almost never been Truth in Television, though that problem can be Hand Waved if the bounty in question is put out by a criminal or a corrupt, tyrannical or failed state.

Sometimes the Bounty Hunter is a villain, a sadist who profits off the death and suffering of others. Sometimes he's a Glory Seeker who wants to bring down the toughest targets. More often, though, he is a just a working stiff who tries to do the right thing—or something close to it. Buried deep within his grizzled, world-weary exterior is still an idealist with a heart of gold. Because there is nothing that prevents a Bounty Hunter from taking both legal and shady bounties, this character is usually a Lawful Neutral.

The Bounty Hunter is increasingly popular in Speculative Fiction ever since Boba Fett made it cool. It helps that space is thought of as another "frontier", and Western tropes go well with science fiction. And since it's so cool, most often bounty hunters in fiction are depicted as extremely skilled individuals and will prove a challenge for the main characters unless they are either there just to show us how overpowered our hero is or if the bounty hunters are themselves the main character(s).

When in the company of actual bounty hunters, you will speak of them as "bail agents".

See also Inspector Javert.

Examples of Bounty Hunter include:

Anime and Manga

  • Bounty hunting is the occupation of Jet Black, Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine and about 300,000 folks in the Cowboy Bebop universe. In fact, so many people make a living chasing criminals in the future that a cheesy Western-themed TV series (a cross between Bonanza and an interplanetary America's Most Wanted) exists to provide them with intel on known bounty heads. All bounties must be taken alive, which is why the cast miss almost every big bounty, as well as in one particularly unlucky case the guy crashed into a police station, and once when they weren't given a bounty for stopping an AI in a satellite as it technically doesn't count as "alive".
    • In fact, the ISSP (Inter Solar System Police) seem to be very anxious to find all kinds of ways to not pay a bounty. In the entire series, the Bebop gang is only ever shown actually getting paid a couple of times.
    • It's implied that the Bebop crew takes on more missions than we see them doing, however, they still seem to be in the poor house thanks to Spike's tendency to destroy everything he touches when the crew go after a bounty head. All that collateral damage runs up a huge bill.
  • Gunnm's leading characters Ido and Gally/Alita are both bounty hunters, along with half the cast in the early books.
  • Nagi from the Tenchi Universe TV series is a bounty hunter who acts as Ryoko's Inspector Javert—and her Someone Better.
  • The Gunsmith Cats, Rally Vincent and Minnie-May Hopkins (and friends), spend most of their time as bounty hunters when they're not running their titular gun store.
    • And according to Minnie-May, Rally earns far more money from bounty hunting than from selling guns.
    • Rally and Minnie-May hold the distinction of being one of the most accurate portrayals of real-life bounty hunters that can be found in anime, or at least getting a lot closer to the real thing than most shows do. Unlike most other hunters, they maintain very close ties with their local police forces and are not regarded as being above or outside the law by any means; on one memorable occasion, a crook managed to kidnap Minnie-May because his and Rally's high-speed chase caught police attention and ended with Rally being arrested for breaking traffic laws.
    • There's also an instance where Rally drives past a serious hostage situation, and stops to chat with her cop friends, but since none of the perps have jumped the bail, she has no legal right to intervene in any way, and goes on her way.
  • Vampire Hunter D is a sort of the old west-style bounty hunter - albeit of a very specific type of quarry. Though as the books and The Movies went on he evolved from bounty hunter to a mercenary, or even an odd-job man. There's other bounty hunters in the canon, but they're usually of the sadistic type.
  • In Hyper Police, all law enforcement in their post-magical-apocalypse world is handled by private companies of bounty hunters. The main characters make their money by claiming bounties. Licensing procedures are exacting and complex. And anyone can stick a bounty on the internet and expect the person to be delivered.
  • Train, Sven, and Eve from Black Cat are "sweepers," which are essentially the same thing as bounty hunters.
  • Subverted in Trigun, where the main character Vash is the one that has a bounty on his head. A sixty billion double dollar one at that. However, there are many unimportant side characters that are bounty hunters in there, and most of the destruction that follows Vash around is caused by people interested in the price on his head.
  • Nadie of El Cazador de la Bruja is nominally a bounty hunter, but her actual job seems to blur the lines between bodyguard, hired gun and assassin.
  • There's a large presence of bounty hunters (for relatively small bounties) in the One Piece world, given that one of the ways of the government of keeping in check the crime is by offering rewards for captured or killed (they, however, pay 30% less if the criminal is killed).
    • Roronoa Zoro, one of the protagonists, chased bounties for a living before joining with Luffy, this gave him the epithet of "Pirate Hunter".
  • Machika in Immortal Rain. She's following in her grandfather Zol's footsteps, although the bounty hunting part doesn't come up all that much.
  • Yuya of Samurai Deeper Kyo, hunting down "the man with the scar on his back" who killed her brother. She periodically threatens to turn in Benitora or Kyo for their bounties.
  • Outlaw Star has Gene Starwind along with his kid partner, Jim.
  • The Warriors of the Organization in Claymore function a lot like the example of Vampire Hunter D above. When a yoma preys on a settlement, the citizens round up money and make a request to the Organization. They dispatch a Warrior who slays the yoma and one of the handlers appears later to pick up the money. Reasonably, if the Warrior is slain, the Organization does not collect the fee until another Warrior successfully completes the mission. Blurring the lines of the trope however is the fact that while the Warriors do seem to have money (Clare once dumped a huge sum on Raki's lap when she was assigned to fight an Awakened One and Theresa could afford rather fancy clothes for a certain Tagalong Kid) they do not actually seem to want or even need the money. Their job is to kill yoma, its what they do. Various motivations have been shown but a pure mercenary motive has yet to be evident in any of the Warriors.
  • Almost all ninjas in Naruto, good or evil, are this in one way or the other.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, after the case gets wrongly accused of blowing up a Gateport, they have occasional encounters with bounty hunters who want to bring them in. The one group that appears on screen, the Canis Niger hunters, nearly capture Nodoka before being utterly annihilated by Negi.

Comic Books

  • DC Comics' Lobo catches interstellar fugitives, whether they run from the law or just rich crime lords. It's a job that basically allows him to be a complete ass to everyone around him and still get paid.
    • DC also had a comic called Manhunter about a superpower bounty hunter that retrieved super villains who jumped their bond, strictly for the money.
  • In the Preacher (Comic Book) series of graphic novels, the Saint of Killers spent a while working as a Headhunter in the old west, long before transmuting into the Implacable Man he is today...
  • Jon Sable Freelance
  • Jonah Hex, discussed in the Western Animation examples below, first appeared as a Western character in The DCU.
  • Johnny Alpha the protagonist in the Strontium Dog stories from the British Anthology Comic 2000 AD,
  • Deadpool was employed to hunt down unregistered superheroes, for about an hour, during Civil War. Then he was sacked, mainly thanks to Cable.
  • After She Hulk's disbarment in her most recent series, she became a Bounty Hunter employed by a bail bonds company owned by her former law firm.
  • The title character of the graphic novel Jinx.
  • Exeter from Scion. A "Lesser Race" being who hunts fugitive Lesser Races out of a sense of self-loathing.
  • Deaths Head, though he insists on being called a "Freelance Peacekeeping Agent". People don't make the mistake twice.
  • The Savage Dragon was briefly a bounty hunter shortly after being kicked off the police force.
  • The 21st century version of Nighthawk in The DCU is a bounty hunter.
  • In the 2005 Daughters Of The Dragon miniseries, Colleen Wing and Misty Knight ran their own bail bonds firm.
  • Lucky Luke book The Bounty Hunter (in French Chasseur de primes) is a hilarious parody of the trope. Following a short introductional treaty on the general status of bounty hunters in the Old West, we get introduced to the titular character, Elliot Belt, a notorious and unscrupulous representative of his trade. No Celebrities Were Harmed: Elliot Belt's appearance is an obvious nod on Western actor Lee Van Cleef, particularly his acting roles as merciless bounty hunter.

Films -- Animated

  • Pied Piper is described as one of the best bounty hunters in Shrek Forever After. He is hired by Rumpelstiltskin to capture Shrek. Piper uses a magical flute with a dial that can be set to any creature, among which are rats, witches, and ogres. When set to a creature and played, all of these within earshot start dancing uncontrollably and follow Pied Piper.
    • Puss in Boots could also be described as this, although his job in Shrek 2 was to kill Shrek, not capture him. This would make him more of an assassin.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Star Wars features a number of bounty hunters. Greedo shows up first, trying to capture Han Solo and cash in on the bounty Jabba the Hutt has placed on him. The Empire eventually hires the services of a number of bounty hunters, most notably Boba Fett. Fett became so popular that his whole family and Mandalorian culture have been greatly elaborated upon in the Expanded Universe. Both contain quite a few more bounty hunters.
    • Fett was so popular that Expanded Universe material established that Fett did not die in the Sarlacc, but escaped. He remains a major character in the franchise today.
    • And these appearances extend to these guys (Boba, Dengar, Bossk, 4-LOM, Zuckuss, and IG-88) all being the go-to bounty hunters in the Expanded Universe (except for Greedo, whose ignominious death caused him to be depicted as an egotistical wimp or a cowardly bottomfeeder.)
      • Or Zuckuss, who is something akin to the Butt Monkey of the intergalactic bounty hunting community.
    • Bounty hunters are not only important characters, but also a major institution in the Expanded Universe. They have they own chart. And it's a job of choice for the marginal, chosen by two ex-Dark Jedi (Zekk and Tahiri) as a Redemption Quest.
  • Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns, especially the latter two movies of the Dollars Trilogy, have bounty hunters as protagonists.
  • In Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales, however, the titular character guns down a number of bounty hunters looking to collect on his $5,000 head.
  • John Hurt's character, Jellon Lamb, in The Proposition is a drunken bounty hunter who believes in neither God nor evolution, but is a big racist. He has a lot of fun with the role.
  • In The Great Silence, another Spaghetti Western, the majority of the villains are bounty hunters, and they operate exactly like assassins. The protagonist is a bounty hunter paid by the families of their victims to bring them to justice. The film is often seen as an intentional counterpoint to the Leone Westerns.
  • Beck, the main character of The Rundown is a "retrieval expert" hired mainly to collect debts or other stuff that his boss wants from people, or in the case of the main plot of the movie, track down people who have cut and run and bring them back to him. He's described in many summaries as a "bounty hunter."
  • Steve McQueen plays the story of a bounty hunter in The Hunter where he gives Levar Burton, a fugitive who can't believe the guy can just up and grab him off the street, a copy of the quote from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Taylor v. Taintor (please see the quotes page), which Burton, incredulously reads out loud. The movie is about a real-life bounty hunter, Ralph "Papa" Thorson (who can be seen in a cameo serving Steve McQueen a beer).
  • In Blade Runner, Rick Deckard and other "Blade Runners" who hunt down and kill replicants on Earth are essentially bounty hunters. In the original novel, they are in fact called bounty hunters.
  • Over-the-top Badass Biker Leonard Smalls in Raising Arizona.
  • Domino Harvey from the eponymous Tony Scott film, Domino. A case of Truth in Television, sort of.
  • The repo men in Repo Man seem to like exoticizing their jobs by thinking of themselves as bounty hunters of cars.
  • In Midnight Run, Robert De Niro plays a former cop turned bounty hunter who catches a former mob bookie and must make a moral choice of whether to collect the bounty or turn the bookie back over to the crooked cops who got him kicked out of the force. A competing bounty hunter constantly tries to steal the bookie away from him.
  • Gerard Butler plays one in The Bounty Hunter
  • Bounty hunters are sent to eliminate the titular creatures in Critters and feature to some extent in all of the sequels.
  • One drops in partway through Hunter Prey.
  • Jake Sharp (Woody Strode) in The Professionals.
  • Many bounty hunters show up in The Chronicles of Riddick, all in pursuit of the title character. Johns and Toombs are among them. Dark Fury is almost entirely set on a ship full of them, which is where Toombs came from. The ship in Dark Athena is half this, half private military force/slave ship.
  • Rutger Hauer plays one in Wanted Dead Or Alive.


  • The titular character in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is a bounty hunter, albeit a spectacularly bad one. She's in terrible shape, dresses more Jersey Girl than SWAT, frequently has her cars blown up (and a funeral home, once) and keeps her gun unloaded in the cookie jar (not that she's licensed to carry it anyway). Luckily for her (and fans), she's got Ranger, an ex-Special Forces "primo bounty hunter" and his "Merry Men" to clean up after her. Ranger jokes that his company's budget has a line-item for Stephanie's misadventures, listed under "Entertainment."
    • Pretty much everyone who works for Vincent Plum Bail Bonds falls into the same description. Luckily for them, their clients are just as woefully inept at jumping bail as they are at recovering them.
  • Just about everyone in Mike Resnick's Space Western Santiago: A Myth of The Far Future are bounty hunters. The largest bounty in the universe, the one they all secretly (or openly) hunt after, is Santiago himself. Some have actually succeeded, but they don't live long enough to boast of it, because Santiago is a Legacy Character and has a lot of allies.
  • In Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony Holly and Mulch are forced to become bounty hunters in order to pay the rent for the offices to their PI business. Unusually for this trope, the bounty hunting is portrayed accurately, in that they're searching for a criminal who has skipped bail and are forbidden to carry weapons.
  • In Michael Crichton's Next, a bounty hunter is trying to grab a relative of a man from whom they had obtained the right to own his gene sequence, but when it was lost, they are of the impression they can obtain a DNA sample from one of his relatives, by suing her, then filing for a writ to have her brought into the court where they were located.
  • The Witcher novels introduce a character of Leo Bonhart, who is really good at his job and so utterly vile at the same time that he makes Jubal Early look like a puppy.
    • The titular Witchers also qualify to a degree, taking out monsters with bounties on their heads.
  • Lots of Richard K. Morgan's characters, including but not limited to Takeshi Kovacs from the Altered Carbon series and Carl Marsalis from Thirteen, fall into some flavor of this trope. Kovacs is an ex-UN Special Forces operator who works as a private investigator, mercenary and general hired gun, while Marsalis is ex-British Special Forces who specializes in hunting down genetically modified people on behalf of the government. Neither is a particularly nice guy, but then again they don't inhabit very nice worlds either.
  • The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers has Book Hunters, who could have been taken straight from Star Wars, except that they make underground raids for old books. They got the patchwork armor and rusty swords, and like to prey on each other for the greates prizes.
  • Velith Il-nok of The Sirantha Jax Series is definitely a stand-up individual who is in the profession for the good it does rather than just getting paid. It's interesting in that, even while being alien, he is more "human" than some actual human characters.
  • In the short story "A Good Boy" [dead link] by Desmond Warzel, Stitsky is a Bounty Hunter of the contemporary sort who makes his living retrieving bail-jumpers; as the story commences, however, he's overstepped his jurisdiction, having accepted a couple's commission to locate and retrieve their runaway son.
  • Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep features bounty hunters who track down and kill androids who have escaped into mainstream society and are posing as humans, much like the film it was later adapted into. Many characters express distaste for bounty hunters and their role in society. Unlike in the movie, they are known simply as "bounty hunters", rather than "blade runners".

Live Action TV

  • The eponymous star of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr was a Bounty Hunter hired to capture the outlaw gang who murdered his father. His rival, Lord Bowler, was also looking to collect the bounty on those outlaws.
  • MacGyver frequently crossed paths with the Coltons, an entire family of bounty hunters. They only all appeared together in the Poorly-Disguised Pilot for an aborted Spin-Off.
  • Sam leapt into a Bounty Hunter in the third-season episode "A Hunting We Will Go" of Quantum Leap.
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter is a Reality Show following Hawaiian-based bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman. His brushes with the law and liberal use of forbidden slurs have made him something of a controversial figure.
  • Jubal Early from the Firefly episode "Objects in Space" was a villainous bounty hunter.
  • Psych has an episode called "Bounty Hunters!" where Shawn and Gus try their hands at the job. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Though the incompetent and crooked "Dog" parody who kept spooking the fugitive before Shawn and Gus could get him didn't help.
  • In Reaper, Sam works as a bounty hunter for the Devil: instead of escaped criminals, he catches escaped souls.
  • In one episode of Burn Notice, Fiona is working as a bounty hunter and ropes Michael into helping her, only to have the man they capture hire them to prove his innocence.
  • Jesse in the My Name Is Earl episode "The Bounty Hunter".
  • The Fall Guy is about a team of stuntmen who moonlight as bounty hunters of bail jumpers, for a bail bondsperson.
  • In The Magnificent Seven series, Vin Tanner used to operate as a bounty hunter; dramatic irony kicked in when he was framed for murder and had to go on the run himself.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. In "Bounty" Captain Archer is captured by a Tellerite bounty hunter, who wants to hand him over to the Klingons in exchange for enough money to buy back his spaceship. Archer eventually convinces the Tellerite to give him the means of escaping the Klingon cell once he's been handed over.
  • Law & Order devoted an episode to bounty hunters; the hunters in question were violent thugs though.
  • Renegade is about a cop-turned-bounty hunter, a bounty hunter and the latter's sister, who helps them hunt bounties.
  • Stargate SG-1 has had a few. Aris Boch in season 3 and then in season 10 the episode Bounty had several chasing after SG1.
  • Ilana on Lost is (or claims to be) a bounty hunter hired to bring Sayid to Guam.
  • Ben Crowley on Chase.
  • In some ways, Kamen Rider Birth from Kamen Rider OOO could be seen as a Bounty Hunter. He was hired to retrieve a huge amount of Cell Medals, and in order to get them, has to destroy Yummy or Greeed. This had shades of real world bounty hunters, who are, by law, technically hired to retrieve the bail, which is physically represented by the criminal they're capturing.
    • Likewise, Keisuke Nago from Kamen Rider Kiva was a bounty hunter shortly before becoming Kamen Rider IXA.
  • In Castle, Beckett's former mentor and flame returns as a bounty hunter. He tries to get her to work for him to catch crooks, get better pay, and avoid the red tape. She refuses. He is later killed, causing Beckett to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Josh Randall from Wanted: Dead or Alive.
  • Halig from Merlin.

Tabletop Games

  • The BattleTech universe has numerous Bounty Hunters; the most infamous is known simply as The Bounty Hunter, an enigmatic figure who never shows his face and rarely speaks. He's famous for his relentless nature, for never once letting a bounty escape, his unfailing loyalty to his employer and his signature emerald-green Marauder Battlemech. In truth, the Bounty Hunter is a legacy of individuals who have been passing the title (and Mech) for over a century.
    • Recently, the Bounty Hunter betrayed his employer, and seems to have been replaced by an impersonator
  • Mongoose Games' Strontium Dog RPG, based on the Strontium Dog entry under Comic Books above.

Video Games

  • Metroid series heroine Samus Aran is usually described as a bounty hunter, although "mercenary" would probably be a more accurate job description, as her primary employer appears to be the Galactic Federation and the jobs they assign her usually tend toward infiltrations, search-and-destroy and other military operations. Other "bounty hunters" with vastly different motivations appear in the aptly named Metroid Prime: Hunters and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
    • Samus's missions for the Feds typically take the form of "kill X", where X is the enemy du jour. This makes her description as a bounty hunter more accurate, as a bounty is paid for the things she kills. The only exceptions to the "kill X" missions are Metroid Prime 3, Hunters, and Fusion. Prime 2 can be an inferred mission: she's told to investigate the disappearance of a GF squad, and she's "hired" by the Luminoth to eradicate the Ing. Super Metroid is debatable, since she's doing it all of her own accord (she doesn't have to chase Ridley down and get the baby Metroid back... but that's what she wants to do).
    • The same can be said for Metroid Prime. She didn't have to follow that distress beacon, and then chase Ridley to Tallon IV. So really, she is a technical bounty hunter (as evidenced in the opening for Super, when she decides to hunt smaller bounty), but her ties with the Chozo and the Space Pirates keep getting in the way.
      • She may have a contract with the Galactic Federation telling her "see a pirate? kill it and we'll pay you," leading to seeing a pirate vessal > go in and hunt pirates > hunt high-rank pirate commander Ridley > kill every pirate on the planet > ???? > PROFIT!!!
      • Thanks to the Anachronic Order, there's plenty of room in the timeline for Samus to make a healthy living catching renegades and/or killing dangerous wildlife, both of which count as "bounty hunting".
      • There's also Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy, where her whole mission is to kill lots and lots of dangerous wildlife, namely, the entire Metroid species, along with any creatures that get in the way.
    • Incidentally, Retro Studios planned on having Samus fulfill more of a bounty-hunting role in Prime 3, namely, by having the player pick out actual bounties to go after. The higher-ups vetoed this, in part because of the Genre Shift it would entail and in part because Samus doesn't really fit the role of bounty hunter to a T. The guys at Retro jokingly referred to her as a "pro-bono hunter" instead.
      • A story drifting around the internet is that when Retro Studios made the suggestion, Nintendo's Japan-based officials were horrified at the suggestion of Samus becoming a "murderer" and being paid to do this; apparently "bounty hunter" wasn't quite the most accurate translation of their intended title for Samus Aran.
  • In Snatcher, due to understaffing, JUNKER is forced to hire bounty hunters to help in taking down the titular SNATCHERS. However, only one (named Random/Randam Hajile) plays a major role in the story.
  • When they aren't racing on the F-Zero tracks, Captain Falcon and Samurai Goroh are rival bounty hunters.
  • Red Dead Revolver includes the protagonist Red as a bounty hunter of the heroic type.
    • The sequel Red Dead Redemption allows the player to accept bounty hunting side-missions by collecting the Wanted Posters he finds. The player then tracks the bounty and has the choice of capturing them (for a bigger reward) or simply killing them. Also, committing crimes will create a bounty on the player himself, and bounty hunters will come after you hoping to collect.
  • Star Wars: Bounty Hunter features playing as Jango Fett. Guess what the game revolves around.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has an entire Bounty Hunter class, complete with it's own story and companions, for the Imperial faction.
  • The Stranger of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath starts out as this, capturing/killing enemies in order to earn Moolah (currency of Oddworld) for a life-saving operation. Later on, after The Stranger is outed as a Steef, a beast hunted to near extinction the townsfolk automatically turn against him and he spends the game helping the Grubbs (the Native American Fantasy Counterpart Culture) retake their land from Sekto.
  • Popful Mail often goes after big-time criminals (the bigger the reward, the better), but never manages to catch any of them.
  • Inverted by Wrex of Mass Effect, who describes himself as a mercenary, but his actual role tracks much more with that of a bounty hunter. The jobs of his that you see or he describes in-game usually involve tracking down and kidnapping or killing one person (Fist, Aleena, the unnamed volus, etc) at the behest of a private employer.
    • He's also done bodyguarding and space piracy according to his stories, so he's pretty much an all-around hired gun. However, he found bodyguarding to be boring (but easy money, naturally) and prefers to work in smaller groups or alone, so he's arguably a Bounty Hunter foremost.
    • The sequel plays it a little straighter while still being flexible in the form of Zaeed Massani. The guy is described as the best bounty hunter in the business. Even when Shepard first meets him, he's cornered a Batarian bounty. (As well as shooting him in the back of the knee when he tries to run.) That said, Zaeed also co-founded the Blue Suns mercenary corporation and has fought in many battles as a soldier for hire. Ultimately, Zaeed burns this trope's candle at both ends. The only difference being if the contract in question says "capture" rather than "kill", "secure", "breach" or other more strategic terms.
  • B.B. Hood/Bulleta of Darkstalkers is a bounty hunter specializing in monsters (called a Darkhunter in the fluff). She very much falls under the "villain" category, being a greedy, sadistic, amoral Ax Crazy Enfant Terrible Psycho for Hire.
  • Bounty Hunters are recurring antagonists in the Mega Man X series, with Dynamo in X5 and X6, Red Alert in X7 and Spider in Mega Man X Command Mission.
  • In Mercenaries, the player characters (a trio of mercenaries) are often dispatched to capture or kill selected targets with prices on their head. In fact, in the original game, the players primary reason for being there was the massive bounty on the Big Bad's head.
  • In Final Fantasy XII, one of the Sidequests involved killing of various "marks" in order to get prizes.
  • Freelancer has an entire faction of these, which the Discovery Game Mod expands upon.
  • Hachimen from Sacrifice works entirely for the highest bidder. Presented due to him having an array of different spells, mostly early Pyro units, and later, Stratos units.
  • Arc the Lad
  • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series half of the possible missions consist in actually chasing down a given Pokemon (usually a thief) for a monetary reward and/or some items. This technically qualifies your cute Poke team as bounty hunters.
  • Metal Saga is entirely about this.
  • The Regulators in Fallout 3 are bounty killers who target evildoers and turn in their fingers for caps. Players with very good karma can join them.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas the player can pursue bounties for Fiend leaders for the NCR, who will pay for their heads. The catch being that the player must leave the head intact and recognizable (IE no headshots or any attacks that gibs/disintegrates them) or else the Major in charge of the bounties can't verify them and cannot pay you full price.
  • Many MMORPGs have a large proportion of their Side Quests involve collecting bounties on named monsters or NPCs.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines has a small tree of sidequests where the player takes the role of Bounty Hunter while working for a somewhat sleazy bail bondsman in Santa Monica. Unusually, part of the quest line is finding out what happened to said bondman's regular bounty hunter, and then freeing him from the basement where his would-be quarry is torturing him.
  • Although Privateer has AI pilots referred to as bounty hunters (and the Player Character occasionally takes on jobs with the label), the actual task is never to actually capture them, just shoot them down.[1]
  • In BlazBlue The Teach Me Miss Lichi segments explain that "Vigilantes" are (despite the name) this. Criminals the NOL want to capture are given bounties which anyone can turn in (although it's noted that their bounties don't always tally with the threat the individual presents and they may or may not be of the "dead or alive" variety) and the NOL allows citizens to collect them (they even offer a service where they dispatch an agent to collect the bounty and freely teach otherwise restricted ar magus which can be used to bind criminals and drag them to the nearest NOL outpost).
  • Stranger of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath makes his money bounty hunting.

Web Comics

  • Twice Blessed: The comic starts with a room full of bounty hunters who are out for Cade's head.
    • It then follows up with close-ups of three of them: a pixie, a cigar-smoking kobold with a big gun, and a pair of drow twins. Any guesses on which bounty hunters from this group are going to be most relevant to the story?
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: Genoworks Exotica wants it's creations back. This is their preferred method.
    • Mercial, though she doesn't work for Genoworks Exotica.
  • Dream Catcher Lunos' belief that as a werewolf demon this type of stuff is in his nature and is what they do best. Naturally it's his job.
  • Clark and Tonya from Shape Quest are bounty hunters.
  • A Bounty Hunter picks up the girls' Distress Call in Girls in Space and tracks them back to Earth
  • Ganji and Enor from The Order of the Stick.
  • The Ambis Empire in the comic Jix has a lot of bounty hunters, however the only two seen are Pratos (who is really named Aranis, Jix's cousin), and Maricax. Both of which hunted the main characters.
  • Feral in Strays.
  • In Roza Esten appears to be this.
  • Vicious Vasdorl Comic illustrates the variety of adventurers' approaches to this job.

Web Original

Butch: Sorry I caught you.
Chapel: Sorry I ran.

  • The Gungan Council, being in the Star Wars universe, has had tons of bounty hunters. Kane E. Smart is one of the more prolific and dedicated bounty hunters flying around, having faked his death for months in order to get a mark.

Western Animation

Lockdown: Some 'bots are in it for the glory, some for the adventure, some even actually believe in the "cause." Me, I'm in it for the upgrades.

  • Bounty Hamster. Marion the hamster and The Horse With No Name (a double spoof, on Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name along with the song by the band America).
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In the first season, Zuko hires a female bounty hunter named Jun to track down the heroes. She proved to be unexpectedly popular, which lead to a couple more appearances as an ally during the series finale.
    • Zuko also hires The Combustion Man in the third season.
    • A pair of professional Earthbenders were also hired to capture Toph and return her to her parents (serving the role but never called bounty hunters), but they had no experience bounty hunting. This is one reason they were so unsuccessful at capturing and returning her. The other reason is that Toph Bei Fong is just too badass to be contained. Not even by metal.
  • Samurai Jack has faced many bounty hunters due to a high reward on his head set by Aku. In one episode, Jack faced 6 highly-skilled bounty hunters all at once, and they'd even had a fair bit of lead time to plan out and prepare a multi-pronged trap. They went down easily in less than a minute. After it was over, Jack just kept on walking as if nothing had happened. (A good part of why Jack is such a badass is because ever since arriving in the future, his already considerable skills have been tested and improved upon by constant surprise attacks by seasoned bounty hunters).
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars gives us Cad Bane. That particular season was actually prolifically advertised for the inclusion of lots of bounty hunters.
  • Dale in King of the Hill becomes a bounty hunter after a one day class.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie introduced Dennis the bounty hunter, who was out to kill Spongebob on Plankton's orders. Although his method of murder was stomping people with a cartoony spiked boot, Dennis was a surprisingly menacing villain.
    • He states he has other ways he could do it, but his employer specifically told him to kill them in that fashion. Makes sense considering the employer was Plankton, who gets stepped on...a lot.
  • Skeletor hires two bounty hunters to capture He-man in the 2002 series. If nothing else, they were a lot more competent than usual minions.
  • In an episode of Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Duke Igthorn hires the bounty hunter Flint Shrubwood, a Captain Ersatz of Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name.

Real Life

  • Sadly, today, Bounty Hunting is only legally practiced in the United States [well, for the most part], and the Philippines. This made both American and Filipino bounty hunters worried, fearing that eventually, bounty hunting itself would be illegal worldwide, but for now, there are many criminals to hunt down.
    • American police officers are generally accepting of bounty hunters, assuming the guy knows what he is doing. A favorite tactic to capture a fugitive hiding in someone else home is to 'accidentally' reveal the fugitive's location to the Bounty Hunter who is not required to obtain a warrant since he is retrieving capital for his employer. Since the fugitive jumped his bail he physically represents the money that the bail bondsman has lost (see page quote)
    • And the United States Supreme Court is apparently OK with bounty hunting. (At least, they've never overturned this holding.)
      • When bail is given, the principal [the criminal] is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties [the bail bondsmen/bounty hunter]. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge [turn him over to the police]; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their rights in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another State; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the re-arrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner. ...It is said: "The bail have their principal on a string, and may pull the string whenever they please, and render him in their discharge."
    • Of course, this only applies within the boundaries of the United States. Dog the Bounty Hunter was arrested on kidnapping charges after pursuing a fugitive into Mexico and taking him back to the U.S., while in the early 1980s bounty hunter Daniel Kear was arrested, convicted and jailed for kidnapping when he pursued his quarry into Canada.
    • It should also be noted that this statement supporting bounty hunting is made Obiter Dictum, which means that it has no legal force as one would find with a precedent. It does however have persuasive value and tends to support bounty hunting in it's current form. This statement, plus the fact that the US Supreme court has yet to come outright and say that bounty hunting is no longer legal, suggests that this business will be alive and well for some time. This is unlikely to change since you can bet your bottom dollar some criminal caught this way has tried to challenge it at some point.
    • Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Bounty Hunting either means the actual capture of the bloke with a price on his head or just the information of his whereabouts. Therefore, the term "Bounty Hunter" in the Philippines is funnily broad. It's basically used on ANYONE chasing a bounty. They occupy a wide range of people in society. Examples:
      • Bona Fide "Recovery Agencies"
      • Private Investigators (if they are able)
      • Ex-Soldiers/Policemen
      • Infamously during the Marcos Dictatorship, The CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit), basically a government militia.
      • Really bored/crazy/skilled private individuals, whether on their own or as a group.
      • Finally, to top it all off, the relatives of the hunted individual(s). Given the economic situation in the Philippines, your good-for-nothing, hunted relative could pay off some debts.
  • Bounty hunters do exist somewhat like they are portrayed in fiction over in the Middle East. Most of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay came from these guys.

  1. On the rare occasions a bounty mission target ejects, they only show up as generic pilots, and once you land they're just regular slaves to sell.