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Bounty Hunter

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"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 is a freelancer who assists law enforcement by pursuing wanted criminals for the price on their heads. His line of work often makes him a dangerous character, as he needs eyes in the back of his head. It also makes him gruff and cynical, if he lives long enough, and in the eyes of some citizens, he may be only slightly better (or worse) 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 or risk ending in a Mexican Standoff and a bloody Blast Out. 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 exceptionally dangerous, put out by a criminal, or wanted by a corrupt, tyrannical, or failed state. Or if this occurs in a fictional setting, such as a dystopian post-apocalyptic wasteland or a futuristic totalitarian state.

The bounty hunter is one of the most diverse roles and depending on their choices (and their employers) they can be have many types of character and appearance. Sometimes the Bounty Hunter is a villain, a sadist who profits off the death and suffering of others and who couldn't care less about justice. In that case, the best they can possibly be is a Nominal Hero who may hunt villains and do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. If that's the case then it is almost guaranteed that they will come in conflict with the heroes either because their head promises the biggest paycheck or because they want to be the one to capture the criminal and won't hesitate to kill and become a criminal over it themself.

Sometimes they’re a Glory Seeker who wants to bring down the toughest targets. More often, though, they are just a working stiff who tries to do the right thing - or something close to it. Buried deep within their 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. 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). Science fiction bounty hunters may be members of a Proud Hunter Race, using their skills at stalking exotic prey to establish a (mostly) aboveboard career of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.

Many MMORPGs have a large proportion of their Side Quests involve collecting bounties on named monsters or NPCs.

While the typical situation is for law enforcement to hire a bounty hunter, The Syndicate or the Big Bad may also hire one if a henchman absconds with a priceless MacGuffin or steals the proceeds of a heist.

In Real Life, when in the company of actual bounty hunters, you will speak of them as "bail enforcement officers". Except for that one robot who prefers the term "freelance peace-keeping agent, yes?" There's overlap in Real Life with the job of skip tracer, a person who tracks down people on the lam from creditors.

See also: Inspector Javert, Price on Their Head and "Wanted!" Poster.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Battle Angel Alita's leading characters Ido and Alita are both bounty hunters, along with half the cast in the early books.
  • Train, Sven, and Eve from Black Cat are "sweepers," which are essentially the same thing as bounty hunters.
  • Hazuki is one in Blade & Soul, and is drawn to the prospect of Alka's 7000 gold bounty Palam put out on her. There are others, but they're killed within moments of seeing Alka.
  • 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.
  • Ryo Saeba of City Hunter is stated to have worked as this near the end of his stay in the US.
  • The Warriors of the Organization in Claymore function a lot like the example of Vampire Hunter D below. 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; it's what they do. Various motivations have been shown, but a pure mercenary motive has yet to be evident in any of the Warriors.
  • 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 and bounty hunters are liable for any damage they cause to bystanders or property, which is why the cast misses almost every big bounty, as well as in one particularly unlucky case, 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".
  • 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. 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 (one key inaccuracy is that bounty hunting is illegal in their home state of Illinois). 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.
  • Some hunters from Hunter × Hunter are bounty hunters. In-universe, this type are called blacklist hunters. Not only that hunters in general are strong, hunters are also rich, thanks to their hunter licences.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lies of the Sheriff Evans: Dead or Love has plenty of them, but the most re-occuring ones are the titular sheriff's rival/love-interest Phoebe Oakley (they've got a big Will They or Won't They? thing going on) and Ed Williams (famed for preferring to turn his bounty targets in dead, not that events ever visibly let him).
  • In Lupin III: Dead or Alive, when Crisis puts out the "Dead or Alive" bounty on Lupin, at least three bounty hunters enter Zufu to attempt to capture/kill him. Lupin is so busy trying to escape from them that Inspector Zenigata manages to arrest him.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Duo Maxwell is this in the Frozen Teardrops novel.
  • Almost all ninjas in Naruto, good or evil, are this in one way or another. Successful ninja almost invariably have somebody who will put a bounty on their head, be it the legitimate government of a rival nation or a criminal organization. And capturing criminals is one of the many missions that a ninja could be hired for.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, 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.
  • There's a large presence of bounty hunters (for relatively small bounties; large bounties are almost always for One-Man Army/Person of Mass Destruction types that few people outside high-ranking Marines and fellow pirates could possibly take down) in the One Piece world, given that one of the ways the government keeps crime in check is by offering rewards for captured or killed criminals. They, however, pay 30% less if the criminal is killed, as only a live criminal can be given a public execution. It is possible for a bounty to be for live capture only, though to date there is only one known example of this involving a criminal who is also royalty. While given the nature of the story, most bounty targets are pirates, land-based criminals and the anti-government Revolutionary Army also qualify.
    • Roronoa Zoro, one of the protagonists, chased bounties for a living before joining with Luffy, and his past helped the Marines give him the epithet "Pirate Hunter". His former partners Johnny and Yosaku remain bounty hunters, though seeing as they operate out of the East Blue they mostly chase small-time criminals.
    • The pirate and former Warlord of the Sea, Sir Crocodile led the Baroque Works, a fearsome organization of bounty hunters. Infiltrating the Baroque Works, Vivi and Igaram went undercover as bounty hunters as well, one of the reasons why Vivi met the Straw Hats in the first place. The top 5 of them were very strong bounty hunters, particularly Daz Bonez (Mister 1) and Bon Clay (Mister 2).
      • After the breakout from Impel Down, it's suggested that Daz Bonez is now a pirate like Mister Crocodile because he joined him. Galdino (Mister 3) is pretty much confirmed as a pirate since he joined Buggy who is now one of the new Seven Warlords of the Sea. Bon Clay is still in Impel Down, but he's now the "queen" of Newkama, the 5.5th level.
    • While their primary job is scrapping retired ships, the Franky Family of Water 7 also did bounty hunting work on the side. This came to an end after the Enies Lobby Arc, when their leader Franky was issued a bounty of his own and joined the Straw Hat Pirates. The rest of the group move into other, less dangerous jobs.
  • Outlaw Star deconstructs several aspects of the trope. Gene Starwind and his kid partner Jim are technically odd-job men rather than bounty hunters, not least because bounties occur far too infrequently for them to make a living on hunting alone. And in the rare case where a bounty is put out, the reward they get is usually far less than the trouble they spent on it. In the end, most of their time is spent on unrelated activities like treasure-hunting and squaring off against the pirate clans.
  • 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.
  • Space☆Dandy's job is a variation of this, hunting down undiscovered alien species and cashing them in to the Alien Registration Center for sizable bounties. He's generally fairly inept at this and often fails due to incompetence, bad luck or (in some cases) letting the bounty go for their own good. What exactly happens to the aliens after they're brought in for registration never specified and seems a bit inconsistent. While deliberately letting aliens he's befriended go might imply that it's something unpleasant, it could just as easily imply that Dandy is too stupid to know since Alien Registration Center are certainly not portrayed as villains.
  • Nagi from the Tenchi Universe TV series is a bounty hunter who acts as Ryoko's Inspector Javert- and her Minnesota Fats.
  • Inverted 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. The secondary protagonists, Meryl and Millie, seem like bounty hunters at first but are in fact insurance agents sent to minimize the massive collateral damage that bounty hunters after Vash always cause. In one early arc, though, Vash defeats a massive and destructive outlaw with a high bounty on his head, then hands him over to the poverty-crippled town that had actually hired the outlaw to try and claim him instead before getting out of control, making him a hero to the citizens.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Astro City legal system, some superheroes make a living by registering as bounty hunters with the local authorities. They are sanctioned to capture criminals (super-powered and otherwise), and are paid by picking up checks made out to their real identities (which are kept secret from the public).
  • The main antagonist of Kid Colt (2009) is Sherman Wilks, an ex-Confederate officer turned ‘bounty killer’, who's working for Sheriff McGreeley. McGreeley, the Dirty Cop who framed Kid Colt in the first place, sets Wilks on the outlaw's trail.
  • In the 2005 Daughters of the Dragon miniseries, Colleen Wing and Misty Knight ran their own bail bonds firm.
  • Deadpool was employed to hunt down unregistered superheroes, for about an hour, during Civil War. Then he was sacked, mainly thanks to Cable. It didn't help that the first heroes he went after were the Great Lakes Avengers, who were registered.
  • Death's Head (Marvel Comics), though he insists on being called a "Freelance Peacekeeping Agent". People don't make the mistake twice.
  • The title character of the graphic novel Jinx.
  • Jonah Hex, discussed in the Western Animation examples below, first appeared as a Western character in The DCU.
  • In Jon Sable, Freelance, Jon would supplement his mercenary work by undertaking bounty hunting jobs.
  • Bounty hunters are fairly commonplace in the Cursed Earth in Judge Dredd, due to the legal structure of the region being a lot looser than in Mega City One. A couple of them are even ex Judges, one of whom is on his Long Walk having taken to the bottle on the job and being forced to resign and another who was exiled for a minor mutation that led to her having a third kidney.
  • DC Comics' Lobo catches interstellar fugitives, whether they're running 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.
  • The Lucky Luke book The Bounty Hunter (in French Chasseur de primes) is a hilarious parody of the trope. Following a short introductory treatise 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. Belt's appearance is an obvious nod to Western actor Lee Van Cleef, particularly his acting roles as merciless bounty hunters.
  • DC also had a comic called Manhunter about a superpowered bounty hunter that retrieves supervillains who jumped their bond, strictly for the money.
  • In the second Missile Mouse book "Rescue on Tankium3, a bounty hunter called Blazing Bat is hired to take out Missile Mouse.
  • The 21st century version of Nighthawk in The DCU is a bounty hunter.
  • In the Preacher series, 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...
  • An alternate universe had The Punisher as a licensed bounty hunter in a Wild West version of the Marvel Universe.
  • Robin (1993): Jaeger hunts monsters and humans with bounties on them when he's not hunting dangerous looking people for snuff films, he can get away with it a bit due to his wide array of identities and the authorities not knowing the civilian name of the villain Jaeger and the fact that his employers generally don't care about hiring a known villain.
  • The Savage Dragon was briefly a bounty hunter shortly after being kicked off the police force.
  • Exeter from Scion. A "Lesser Race" being who hunts fugitive Lesser Races out of a sense of self-loathing.
  • In Fleetway's Sonic the Comic, Tails had a small-time adversary in Fleabyte the Bounty Hunter, an anthropomorphic cat with a robotic arm. He appeared to work freelance, but, while he had a good head for tracking, he was otherwise not especially intelligent.
  • Johnny Alpha, the protagonist in the Strontium Dog stories from the British Anthology Comic 2000 AD.
  • As the series is a Western, bounty hunters often show up in Tex Willer, with more than a few forcing confessions out of their quarries (in case they're just suspects) and, in at least one occasion, using the body of some random man to try and claim a bounty on another criminal.
  • Marvel Comics has plenty of western characters who make their living collecting bounties, such as Two-Gun Kid and Gunhawk.
  • She-Hulk worked as one for a time after her disbarment in her late-2000s series, employed by a bail bonds company owned by her former law firm alongside the undying Skrull Jazinda.
  • Wildstar is pursued by a team of bounty hunters in the "Sky Zero" four-parter, consisting of Deadstar, Trans, Freezone, JumpStart, and more.

    Fan Works 
  • Adventures of the Morning Star: The series follows Jinx, Yasuo and Malphite, a trio of bounty hunters who go on crazy adventures while traveling across the stars.
  • In the Supernatural and The Dresden Files crossover fic Cross Cases, Harry doesn't buy Sam's claim of being a librarian for even a second. He decides Sam is most likely a merc who does dirty jobs for the highest bidder, from the way he moves, his weapons, the fact that he's built like a brick wall, and his careful, practiced lack of reaction to anything, supernatural and not. After he and Murphy go through his wallet while he's unconscious, they find his multitude of credit cards and fake IDs, only cementing the assessment in their minds. This isn't really too far off from Sam's (sort-of) actual profession as a hunter, minus the getting hired and paid part.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: The Silver Hawks, who were introduced when they started hunting Ami.
    • Though they have decided to stop hunting Ami and Co until a legal ruling can be made on whether or not it is acceptable to take contracts on an Empress, Keeper or not, who holds her throne by a literal divine mandate.
    • And are now back in action hunting Mukrezar, who has managed to acquire a two ''million'' gold piece bounty on his head before he's been Back from the Dead for a single day.
  • The Night Unfurls: The beginning of the story reveals that one of Kyril's means of income is clearing out packs of greenskins, bandits and infamous orc warlords with ostentatious names. The remastered version adds a moment where he turns in a bounty at the bounty board, presents the head as proof, and gets his gold.
  • Off the Line: Countless of them are constantly chasing after Cloud/Rainstorm for his massive bounty which they need to kill and loot him to get. They are noted to be an opportunistic and unpleasant bunch who often hunt after lower level players instead of the more stronger players. Rainstorm would kill them in order to defend himself or for sport.

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek:
    • 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 can also be described as this, although his job in Shrek 2 is to kill Shrek, not capture him. This would make him more of an assassin.
    • The Wolf, from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, is a bounty hunter after Puss himself. He shows up with Puss' "Dead or Alive" wanted poster, his weapons of choice are a pair of sickles, and the reward he's after is Puss' soul. Since he's not actually a bounty hunter — he's the Grim Reaper — he doesn't need anything as earthly as money.
  • The Sponge Bob Square Pants 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Bet Your Life, Carmen is a bounty hunter who works bringing in defaulters for a loan shark.
  • 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.
  • Gerard Butler plays one in The Bounty Hunter.
  • In the John Wayne Very Loosely Based on a True Story Western Chisum, Dan Nodeen (Christopher George) is a bounty killer. He is introduced collecting the bounty on a nasty Mook who broke out of jail, having killed the man offscreen. However, he quickly ends up taking sinister jobs from that mook's employer.
    Deputy: Deader than a can of corned beef.
    Sheriff Brady: You just had to kill him, huh?
    Nodeen: A whole lot less trouble that way.
  • 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 Assault on Dark Athena is half this, half private military force/slave ship.
  • Bounty hunters are sent to eliminate the titular creatures in Critters and are featured to some extent in all of the sequels.
  • Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) in Django Unchained is a bounty hunter who kills his bounties and brings their bodies back to get paid. Django himself becomes one when he starts to assist him.
  • Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns, especially the latter two movies of the Dollars Trilogy, have bounty hunters as protagonists.
    • In For a Few Dollars More, the Man With No Name and his rival and partner Mortimer were bounty killers.
    • In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the Man With No Name engaged in a con involving turning in his partner for the bounty on his head, freeing him from the noose by shooting off the rope, and then splitting the take between them. The villain Angel Eyes is a much darker version. His very first scene involves his target trying to pay him to kill his employer by offering more than what he was paid. Angel Eyes takes the money but simply tells him "When they pay me, I always see the job through" and shoots him. In the very next scene, he collects his money from his employer and says the exact same line before brutally murdering him. They don't call him "The Bad" for nothing!
  • Domino staring Keira Knightley, based (very loosely) on real-life bounty hunter Domino Harvey. Unfortunately, it basically deletes or downplays all of the things that make Domino's story unique, and turns the character into a typical Hollywood cliche.
  • The Accountant from Drive Angry is essentially one for Hell. His job is to track down those who have Escaped from Hell and bring them back.
  • Emperor (2020): Luke McCabe hunts down anyone with a price on their head, whether they're white outlaws or escaped slaves. His first scene shows him lassoing an unnamed man who's running through a field, then shooting him while he's down and getting into a gunfight with the man's brothers when they try to take his body back. He's next seen negotiating a fee to kill Shields and crush the Living Legend surrounding him.
  • In Gang of Roses, Zhang Li became a bounty hunter after the gang split up. She agrees to join with Rachel to collect the bounties on Left Eye and his gang.
  • Ghosted (2023): Three are sent after Cole and Sadie, with each being killed in succession by another in comical ways. Sadie then pretends she's one who's giving Cole to Leveque in return for the reward later.
  • In The Grand Duel, Vermeer is being pursued by a swarm of bounty killers, who want his $3,000 reward, posted by Saxon's three sons David, Eli and Adam.
  • In Grim Prairie Tales, Morrison is a bounty hunter who does not seem to know where he is going, but who is carrying the body of his latest kill with him. At the end of the film, Deeds points out that the body does not match the description on the wanted poster. Morrison killed the wrong man.
  • 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.
  • In Gunless, a gang of bounty hunters led by Ben Cutter is chasing The Montana Kid for the $4,000 price on his head. They even follow him into Canada were they have no authority.
  • In The Hateful Eight, two main characters are bounty hunters with differing methods: Major Marquis Warren, a black former Union soldier who prefers to shoot first and turn in the bodies, and John "The Hangman" Ruth, who is famous for his insistence on delivering his prisoners alive so he can watch them stand trial and hang. When they meet each other at the start of the film in a snow-covered wilderness, Major Warren is sitting in the middle of the road on top of the frozen bodies of three dead criminals, while Ruth is riding in a stagecoach with his fugitive Daisy Domergue handcuffed to him to prevent her escape.
  • Rose Hilridge in High Plains Invaders, who constantly tries to claim the bounty on Sam's head despite having had nothing to do with his capture.
  • Steve Mc Queen plays a bounty hunter in the 1980 film The Hunter (1980) 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).
  • The Hurt Locker: The Private Military Contractor group captured two heavily wanted terrorists prior to the film's beginning and are about to collect the bounty. They took the fugtivies alive, but have no hesitation over shooting them when they try to escape, as the bounty is dead or alive.
  • One drops in partway through Hunter Prey.
  • Creighton Duke in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is a bounty hunter who specializes in capturing serial killers.
  • In Jonah Hex, the U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth.
  • In Kaamelott: Premier Volet, there's a bounty on Arthur Pendragon's head, and one clever bounty hunter named Alzagar (Guillaume Gallienne) manages to capture him. A slave merchant named Quarto (Clovis Cornillac) improvises himself one to get arthur, to disastrous results.
  • Kaulder, The Witch Hunter of The Last Witch Hunter. Unlike most examples of the Witch Hunter, he only goes after witches that harm humans, and doesn't kill them unless forced to: instead, he hands them over to the Witch Council to be fairly tried.
  • Last of the Dogmen: Grizzled cowboy Lewis Gates is an experienced tracker who hunts down criminals through the wilderness. However, he has mainly been a hunting guide since the death of his wife. At the beginning, he has to be blackmailed over his chronic leash law violations before he'll take a job chasing escaped prisoners.
  • In Left for Dead, a gang of bounty hunters pursue Blake into the deserted town of Amnesty, where they are slaughtered by the vengeful ghost of Mobious Lockhart.
  • Bernardo O'Reilly (Charles Bronson) from The Magnificent Seven used to be well-paid bounty hunter but by the time he's recruited to the seven he's so broke that the measly pay for what is likely a Suicide Mission is a fortune to him.
  • 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.
  • Mythica: Marek is pursued by two elven female bounty hunters in The Darkspore, as she's an escaped slave.
  • James Stewart plays one in The Naked Spur; he's trying to catch a fugitive to get a $5000 reward so he can buy back the ranch that was stolen from him.
  • In Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales, the title character encounters a number of bounty hunters looking to collect on his $5,000 head. It ends the same way for all of them save for two who retreat:
    Josey Wales: Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy.
  • The Night of the Grizzly: Cass Dowdy will hunt for any man or beast (like a killer grizzly bear) if the price is high enough. He worked alongside Big Jim Cole and Sam Potts back when they were lawmen, but Cole claims that he'd sometimes gun down unarmed fugitives, and when one of those fugitives turned out to be innocent, Cass spent two years in prison. He resumed bounty hunting after being released from prison and wants revenge against Jim, although he is less interested in picking a fight with Big Jim than he is in claiming the bounty that Big Jim needs to save his property from foreclosure.
  • Papillon: Two prisoners who finished their sentences years ago still live in the colony and recapture or kill escaped prisoners from the Hellhole Prison. Maybe
  • Jake Sharp (Woody Strode) in The Professionals: a traditional Apache scout, skilled with a bow and arrow.
  • 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.
  • Over-the-top Badass Biker Leonard Smalls in Raising Arizona.
  • The repo men in Repo Man seem to like exoticizing their jobs by thinking of themselves as bounty hunters of cars.
  • 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."
  • In Seven Ways from Sundown, a pair of bounty hunters attempt to steal Flood out of Seven's custody in order to claim the bounty for themselves.
  • In Shotgun (1955), Reb Carleton is a ruthless bounty hunter after the price on Ben Thompson's head who teams up with Deputy Marshal Clay Hardin. Carleton prefers dead to alive, and likes to shoot his targets In the Back whenever possible.
  • The Battle Couple antagonists of Slipstream (1989), though they are actually the remnants of a law enforcement system that's become irrelevant in a world devastated by ecological change. The woman gets angry at her partner when he insists on filling out a form on some smugglers they've just killed, when no-one cares about such things except him. The plot takes off when the protagonist steals an android they've captured, hoping to claim the bounty for himself, and a Stern Chase ensues.
  • Snatch.: Bullet-Tooth Tony is described as one, being hired to help Cousin Avi track down Frankie or his kidnappers through a mixture of brute force and investigative powers. However, he seems to be involved in plenty of other mercenary and criminal work.
  • Solarbabies: Malice and Dogger hang around the E-police headquarters in the middle of the wasteland, begging for work and saying they'll kill or capture whoever Strictor wants if he'll give them water.
  • Star Wars features a number of bounty hunters. It may be the definitive example of the name being misapplied; "mercenary" or "hired gun" may be a more accurate term, as they are commonly hired for purposes like guarding, theft and assassination.
    • 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.
    • Attack of the Clones features Boba's father, Jango. Like Boba, he's supposedly the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. Also like Boba he operates more as an assassin and mercenary than an actual bounty hunter. Or at the very least, he's not choosy about whether the bounty he's pursuing is a legal one, so long as the credits are good.note 
    • The Expanded Universe dives more into how this works, explaining that bounty hunters (at least in the Empire era) had a guild and licenses known as Imperial Peace-Keeping Certificates that laid out very specific rulesnote  that governed how they operated. Most Bounty Hunters just moonlighted as mercenaries or assassins in addition to chasing legal bounties laid out by the Empire, and in many cases the Empire would turn a blind eye to such illegal activity.
  • Rutger Hauer plays one in Wanted Dead Or Alive. Nick Randall, the descendant of the character Josh Randall, played by Steve Mc Queen in the 1958 television series of the same title.
  • Sekulik in Wild Wind is paid by the Germans to hunt down partisans.

  • Ethan Kaille in The Thieftaker Chronicles is a thief taker, a kind of bounty hunter paid to retrieve stolen property in times before modern policing.
  • 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.
  • Older Than Feudalism: Likely the Ur-Example is Saul from the Book of Acts, who was first shown accepting payment for arresting the followers of Christ. This is before Christ struck him blind and he had a Heel–Faith Turn, changing his name to Paul.
  • 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 greatest prizes.
  • 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".
  • In The Dread Eclipse, Ordo Arcanus is occasionally required to enlist the services of ratcatchers to capture rogue mages who escape to neutral territory in exchange for a hefty bounty. One of the protagonists, Caren, is a ratcatcher who's so dedicated to her job that she even turns in her con artist uncle for a measly six-hundred bucks.
  • Harlan Nayl from the Eisenhorn and Ravenor books was originally a bounty hunter before becoming an agent of the Inquisition. His fellow agent Zeph Mathuin is also a former bounty hunter, and one of Nayl’s old bounty hunting partners, Lucius Worna, is a major villain in the Ravenor trilogy.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Eliana's adoptive mom, Rozen, used to be a bounty hunter for the Undying Empire until an injury forced her to retire. Eliana continued Rozen's work in order to support her family and keep them safe. Harkan, Eliana's lover, became one because he didn't want Eliana to work on her own.
  • In Form and Void, Ordo Arcanus is occasionally required to enlist the services of ratcatchers to capture rogue mages who escape to neutral territory in exchange for a hefty bounty. One of the protagonists, Caren, is a ratcatcher who's so dedicated to her job that she even turns in her con artist uncle for a measly six-hundred bucks.
  • In the short story "A Good Boy" 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.
  • The Hardy Boys: Nowhere to Run features a private detective called "Dead or Alive" Sims who specializes in fugitive recovery and brings about a quarter of his targets back in body bags. Sims provides a little aid against other antagonists of the book but spends most of his page time relentlessly pursuing Joe's Wrongfully Accused friend.
  • In A. Kat's Inferno series, Moose is introduced as an elite bounty hunter, claiming to be the best. More generally, there seem to be lots of bounty hunters running around the world of Inferno. This makes sense in that the Order pays handsomely for getting the people marked for death in the Ritual, enough for Moose to become rich despite his youth. However, bounty hunters also appear to do more general mercenary work for anyone who can afford to pay them. A rare fantasy example.
  • The various western series of William Johnstone (continued by his niece J.A. after his death) generally, but not entirely, feature bounty hunters in a negative light.
    • Several "The Last Mountain Man" novels ("Code of the Mountain Man", "Trek of the Mountain Man", "Honor of the Mountain Man", and "Triumph of the Mountain Man", "Assault of the Mountain Man") feature bounty hunters pursuing the Smoke Jensen under the belief that he's a a wanted fugitive. Almost to a man, their portrayed as being amoral ambushers without the courage to face him in person, or (in later books after the charges are dropped and the wanted posters recalled) the integrity to check up on whether the man their trying to kill is actually wanted (given how most in most of those books their going after him because of outdated wanted posters or phony ones forged by his enemies). Some flat-out don't care when they find out he isn't wanted by the law anymore, due to the promise of money form somewhere else and/or a simple desire to earn some Villain Cred by killing such a famous gunman.
    • Emmett Clark in "Shootout of the Mountain Man" becomes a bounty hunter by accident when he kills a fleeing robber in self-defense. He initially strives towards standards of integrity trying to take prisoners alive or only going after Complete Monster types but after being forced to kill an innocent man while undercover with one gang decides to join the outlaw gang he infiltrated for real.
    • In The Drifter, Frank Morgan runs into two old friends, Jimmy and Hal, who've taken up bounty hunting and just brought in some wanted murderers alive but wounded. They are hired as bodyguards for Frank's ex-wife, getting them involved in the remainder of the book's action.
    • The titular character of the "Luke Jensen, Bounty Hunter" series is a positive version, fighting outlaws in fair fights (and often with the odd against him), being willing to take some in alive, and caring about the guilt or innocence of the peoples he goes after.
    • Haggarty from "The Loner: Seven Days to Die" is an Anti-Hero at best who unknowingly arrests an innocent man (albeit one who was an Identical Stranger for the man he was after) and is a general Jerkass but he is a brave man in a fight and willing to make an effort to take in his prisoners alive.
    • Most of the bounty hunters in "The Loner: The Bounty Killers" are ruthless people willing to go after an innocent man just as easily as a guilty one if the price is right, although there is one decent one (Lace McCall who goes after fugitives with her Big Friendly Dog Max, and who reappears in a later book).
    • In "The Last Gunfighter: Ambush Valley" a gang of seven bounty hunters led by Abner Hoyt are Only in It for the Money and are willing to dish out some Cold-Blooded Torture on the leader of an outlaw gang who hid the stolen money, but they are impressively competent, four of the group (Hoyt included) have a True Companions vibe and are Above the Influence when it comes to stealing the recovered money (which is much greater than the reward their being given) themselves. The other three on the other hand are less scrupulous and pay the ultimate price for it.
    • In "Eyes of Eagles" Jamie Ian Macallister is pursed by various bounty hunters after him for killing a rapist, none of whom are portrayed as deserving of much sympathy when they pick a fight and Jamie guns them down.
    • Ernest Thistledown "The Buggy Town Bounty Hunter" from "The Brothers O'Brien: Shadow of the Hangman" is a highly formidable Agent Peacock with an affable demeanor but a menacing gaze. Thistledown is known for only pursuing fugitives worth $5,000 of more and generally brings them back dead, but he is willing to offer mercy before a fight (which he tends to win), shows genuine distaste for the Hollywood Satanist Serial Killer he's hunting, and is an ally of the O'Brien family throughout the book.
  • Land in the Stars: The Privateers Guild is an organized corporation that allows clients to hire mercenaries, pirate hunters and bounty hunters. Some of the most well-known soldiers in the Triad are Captains of these respected Free Companies.
  • Louis L'Amour: "Kid Rodelo" follows escapees from Yuma prison who are pursued by local Natives who pursue them across the desert and kill them (and aren't above shooting the dead corpses of ones who died of heatstroke and thirst in order to collect those bounties as well)
  • 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 sci-fi anthology Riesel Tales: Two Hunters centers around the adventures of the two titular bounty hunters on the city-covered criminal world of Riesel.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Spirit Thief: in the Council Kingdoms, bounties and, by extension, bounty hunters are how most criminals are pursued and imprisoned. Most notable bounty hunter in the series is Josef, who actually left the job a year prior to the beginning of the story, when Eli convinced him that going with him would let Josef find better opponents.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Han Solo Trilogy: A number of them are sent after Han over stealing from the Besilijic clan, including Boba Fett, who becomes his nemesis. Bria is also hunted for freeing many Besadii slaves.
    • Honor Among Thieves: Baasen Ray is a former smuggler and colleague of Han's, who has turned to bounty hunting after smuggling work dried up. Specifically, he is after the price placed on Han's head by Jabba the Hutt, and in fact convinced Jabba to pay a portion in advance by claiming he'd already captured Han and needed funds to get him back to Tatooine. He's desparate to get his hands on Han, lest Jabba come after him next. For all that, Han is able to convince him to join forces by promising greater rewards from the device everyone is after.
    • Shadows of the Empire: Luke is captured by a group of bounty hunters. Then it turns out they have competing bounties from Black Sun vs the Empire, the former wanting Luke dead, the latter alive. He escapes as they're waiting out the bidding war which it sparks for him.
  • Stephanie Plum:
    • The eponymous character in Janet Evanovich's 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).
    • 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.
    • In marked contrast to Stephanie, Ranger, an ex-Special Forces "primo bounty hunter" and security consultant, and his employees are uncannily competent and professional. Fortunately for Stephanie, Ranger and his "Merry Men" tend to clean up after her. Ranger jokes that his company's budget has a line-item for Stephanie's misadventures, listed under "Entertainment".
  • Stinger: Two alien life forms arrive. One possesses the body of a young girl to hide from the second alien, who collects bounties for a genocidal empire who wants to capture the other for very sinister purposes and also has ill designs for Earth in general.
  • Lots of Richard K. Morgan's characters, including but not limited to Takeshi Kovacs from the Takeshi Kovacs 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.
  • Wax and Wayne: Wax was one of these when he went out to the Roughs. He called himself a "lawman for hire," and in his early years he was known for grabbing the most dangerous bounties off the board and coming back a few days later with the target tied up on his saddle. The truth is that in those early years, he was short on money, so he just grabbed the biggest bounties he could find. Either way, he did such a good job that when the sheriff of Weathering eventually retired, he gave Wax his badge.
  • The Witcher novels introduced the 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 eponymous Witchers also qualify to a degree, taking out monsters with bounties on their heads.
  • The Witchlands: The Carawen are an order of Warrior Monks who used to serve as wandering protectors, but these days, take on various jobs, like tracking down missing persons, criminals or stolen property, for money. They even have their own wall of "Wanted" Posters.
  • In R.S Belcher's The Brotherhood Of The Wheel, the Blue Jocks are a Scottish-American Motorcycle Club. The Blue Jocks are members of the Brethren, the combat branch of descendants of the Knights Templar. To make ends meet, the Blue Jocks are also bounty hunters when they aren't fighting monsters and serial killers near the highways. They're so resource-strapped they had to trade one of their prized motorcycles to a gang of skinheads in return for a military flamethrower for monster fighting.
  • The New Management: Dead Lies Dreaming: Wendy Deere is informed of the realities of her new thief-taking occupation using these terms, as she came from a cop background:
    You're a fancy version of what our trans-Atlantic cousins call a bounty hunter. You are not paid to put your neck on the line.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The eponymous star 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.
  • Alphas: Griffin takes money to capture fugitives regardless of the lawfulness of the situation.
  • Blake's 7. Given that the crew had a Price on Their Head, plus Chris Boucher's fondness for Western themes, these made an obligatory appearance.
    • In "Bounty", the Liberator is seized by the Amagons, Space Pirates who engage in a variety of criminal activities including bounty hunting.
    • In "Powerplay", Zee and Barr are the nicest and prettiest bounty hunters you could meet. Pity their job is capturing people so they can be dissected for their Human Resources.
    • In "Blake", the planet Gauda Prime is a Crapsack World where all laws have been suspended by the Federation High Council, in order to kill or drive off the colonists who legally owned the land. This naturally attracted a large number of criminals and psychopaths who now have to be disposed of before law and order can be reintroduced, so they're being used as bounty hunters to catch or kill their fellow lawbreakers. Our rebel anti-heroes are not pleased to hear that Blake, ostensibly their leader but who's been missing for the past couple of seasons, is now working as one of these bounty hunters. It turns out he's secretly recruiting another rebel force from among the criminals he's capturing.
  • Burn Notice: In one episode, 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. Bounty hunting seems to be Fiona's primary legitimate source of income when she is not working as an illegal arms dealer.
  • Carnival Row: "Skip jacks" who hunt down indentured servants who'd broken a contract through leaving service are mentioned, and Agreus was once one.
  • 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. Beckett refuses. He is later killed, causing Beckett to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • ChaseNBC: Ben Crowley.
  • Chicago Justice: The Spanish government sends one to arrest a young woman based on Amanda Know and return her so she can be tried again on murder charges. Realistically, this is quite unlikely, since it would damage relations with the US. The US and Spain have an extradition treaty already (which they are shown invoking later) so going outside official channels like this makes no sense given that too.
  • Colony: Will's former partner works as one in the Santa Monica bloc to make ends meet.
  • Dead Man's Gun:
    • In "Bounty Hunter", a shopkeeper plagued with ennui decides to take up bounty hunting, shortly before the gun finds its way to him.
    • In "Death Warrant", a ruthless bounty hunter, who took the gun from a target, gets a taste of his own medicine when the mother of a boy he accidentally killed puts a bounty on his head.
  • Doctor Who: One reports the whereabouts of the fugitive Chimeron princess to the Bannermen in "Delta and the Bannermen".
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter is a Reality Show following Hawaiian-based bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman. His brushes with the law and use of racial slurs have made him something of a controversial figure.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Jeffrey Steele, the Villain of the Week in the 1981 episode "The $10 Million Sheriff," who pursues the innocent Bo and Luke as though they were No. 1 on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.
  • The Fall Guy: This show is about a team of stuntmen who moonlight as bounty hunters of bail jumpers, for a bail bondsperson.
  • Firefly: Jubal Early from the episode "Objects in Space" was a bounty hunter sent to collect on the bounty for Simon and River. He quickly proves himself to be a Psycho for Hire who is in it for the sadism, and is not above threatening to rape Kaylee-or threatening Simon with raping her if he won't reveal where River is hiding-in order to get what he wants.
  • Flash Gordon: Baylin is a female bounty hunter from Mongo.
  • In the 2000 remake of The Fugitive, Kimble not only has to evade Gerard, he has to evade one of these, hired by his father-in-law, who believes him to be guilty. Ironically, in one episode, Gerard protects him from the guy—he doesn't want Kimble dead, just to return him to prison.
  • Game of Thrones: Cersei offers a lordship for whoever brings her Tyrion's head, leading to the death of at least one innocent dwarf.
  • Garrow's Law: Thief takers. At the time, Britain had very few public police, so most crimes were investigated and "solved" by thief takers for reward money. The series shows the problems with this, since successful thief takers often became so through falsely accusing and framing people to get such rewards. In reality, some were even crime bosses themselves who returned people's property that their own minions stole to get paid for it. The one in the series frames a man on a theft charge and is indicated to regularly do this, but thankfully he's exposed for perjury with the innocent defendant acquitted.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva: Likewise, Keisuke Nago was a bounty hunter shortly before becoming Kamen Rider IXA.
  • Kamen Rider OOO: In some ways, Kamen Rider Birth 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.
  • Killjoys revolves around a crew of interplanetary bounty hunters in a distant star system. They work for an organization of bounty hunters called the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition, commonly known as The Rack. The Rack is highly organized with their members only allowed to take bounties that fit their certification. A Level One warrant is a property retrieval bounty and only allows violence in self defense. A Level Four warrant is issued against the most dangerous criminals and is dead-or-alive. A Level Five warrant is a straight up assassination mission. The Rack acts pretty much as a secondary law enforcement agency for the star system.
  • Law & Order: Devoted an episode to bounty hunters; the hunters in question were violent thugs though.
  • Legend of the Seeker: A bunch of them go after Richard in "Bounty" after a reward is offered to kill him by Darken Rahl. One in particular manages to get ahold of his pendant and use it to have a magic map created that shows Richard's location.
  • Lost: Ilana is (or claims to be) a bounty hunter hired to bring Sayid to Guam.
  • Lucifer: After leaving her job at Lux nightclub, and multiple failed attempts to find a new job suitable for a demon from Hell trapped on Earth, Mazikeen becomes a bounty hunter.
  • MacGyver (1985): 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.
  • 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.
  • The Mandalorian is the story of a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter in the post-Empire chaos on the Outer Rim worlds in the Star Wars universe.
  • Merlin: Halig.
  • My Name Is Earl: Jesse in the episode "The Bounty Hunter".
  • Once Upon a Time: Emma's job before Storybrooke was as a bail collector. Those who skipped out on their bail, she would hunt down to arrest herself.
  • Person of Interest: In episode 4.18, Frankie Wells is this, using the title as a pretense to hunt down her brother's killer.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Ninja Storm features Vexacus, one of the later villains to join Lothor's crew. It's mainly used as shorthand for "this season's backstabber type" - the one being we see Vexacus hunt is an alien whose power he wants to take for himself, not an employer.
    • Power Rangers Dino Charge features the Big Bad, Sledge, who is after the Ener-Gems for his own ambitions for domination. The monsters he sends to destroy the rangers are other criminals he's captured and promised freedom to the one who brings him an Ener-Gem.
  • Psych has an episode called "Bounty Hunters!" where Shawn and Gus try their hands at the job. Though the incompetent and crooked "Dog" parody who kept spooking the fugitive before Shawn and Gus could get him didn't help.
  • Quantum Leap: Sam leapt into a Bounty Hunter in one episode.
  • Reaper: Sam works as a bounty hunter for the Devil: instead of escaped criminals, he catches escaped souls.
  • Renegade: This show is about a cop-turned-bounty hunter, a bounty hunter, and the latter's sister, who helps them hunt bounties.
  • Revolution: Jacob from "Chained Heat", Mia Clayton from "Ties That Bind", and Steve from "Home". Jacob was spared by Miles at Charlie's urging, Jacob repays that by revealing their location to the militia, and Miles kills him off later on. Mia Clayton, despite being Nora Clayton's sister, proved to be extremely selfish, sold out her sister's friends to the militia, and Nora decided to just abandon her and let her walk back to Texas on her own. Steve tried to bring in Priscilla Pittman, whose only crime was killing a militia sergeant who tried to molest her 11-year-old-daughter in self-defense, but between Aaron and her, he got killed off. This show portrays bounty hunters in an extremely unsympathetic light.
  • Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters follows two teams of real life fugitive recovery agents, Clint and Dayson from Colorado, and Rob and "Animal" in Minnesota as they bring in bail bond jumpers who have ceased contact with authorities or the bail bond companies, and are hiding out in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States.
  • The Rousters is about a family is a group of bounty hunters descended from legendary lawman Wyatt Earp.
  • Sinbad: Tiger.
  • Stargate SG-1 has had a few. Aris Boch in season 3 and then several more in the season 10 episode "Bounty".
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Voyager: The Hazari are an alien species from the Delta Quadrant whose hat is bounty hunting.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: In "Bounty", Captain Archer is captured by a Tellarite 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 Tellarite to give him the means of escaping the Klingon cell once he's been handed over.
  • Strange Empire: Two come after Kat over a $1,000 bounty on her head for murder.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): "Wild Ones" has S.W.A.T. in a manhunt for a murderous Outlaw Couple, but a team of bounty hunters are also pursuing them and they get in the way.
  • Teenage Bounty Hunters: has sisters Blair and Sterling Wesley as a pair of protege bounty hunters for former cop turned bounty hunter, Bowser Wilkins. The girls are unusually talented at it despite their occasional screw-ups and they're from a prominent wealthy family in Georgia so they can navigate the Georgian upper crust where Bowser can't.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Grave", the people of Pinto Sykes's hometown hire Conny Miller to track down and kill the outlaw so that he'll stop treating the town "like it was his personal property." After four months, Miller still hasn't found Sykes (some people suggest that he's too afraid to look very hard) and his clients form a Vigilante Militia to defeat Sykes themselves.
  • Underground: The slave catchers, who hunt down and retrieve runaways for the reward money. August is a recurring character, while in the second season a whole gang led by Patty Cannon are the main antagonists.
  • Vagrant Queen: A couple of them appear in "Sunshine Express Yourself", hunting a scientist who has knowledge Lazaro wants, tangling with Isaac, Amae and Elida over this.
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive: Josh Randall.
  • The Westerner: In "Going Home", Dave sees two women pushing a cart with a badly wounded man inside. Dave helps protect the trio from the bounty hunters after the $2000 reward out for the man's capture.

    Pro Wrestling 

    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, the custom, form-concealing armor that he always wears, and always piloting Battlemech with a brilliant emerald-green paint job that's covered in symbols of money, with notable mechs including a Warhammer, Marauder, Mad Cat, Marauder II, and Loki II. In truth, the Bounty Hunter is a legacy of individuals who have been passing the title (and Mechs) for over a century, leading to the character frequently being described as a cross between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Boba Fett. During the Word of Blake Jihad, the Bounty Hunter betrayed his employer and seems to have been replaced by an impersonator, but as of the Dark Ages things seem to have returned closer to normal.
  • The "Bloodhound" prestige class in Dungeons & Dragons. The "Justicar" was similar.
    • In the Eberron setting House Tharashk dominates the market in this field, thanks to their Dragonmarks of Finding.
  • In Eclipse Phase they're known as Ego Hunters, and their job is a bit more difficult since many people change bodies like wardrobes.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In Warhammer many Witch Hunters, despite the name, are actually just petty thugs who only signed for the chance to exercise church-sanctioned bullying or bounty hunting.
    • Necromunda:
      • The game's underhive is the most common destination for outlaws and mutants, making it a rich hunting ground for those wishing to make some credits bringing these degenerates to justice. Due to their skill and fighting powers Bounty Hunters have been a popular Hired Gun in every edition of the game, with the game's 3rd Edition in particular including detailed rules for various types of Bounty Hunter as well as a number of named character Bounty Hunters.
      • The May 2018 issue of White Dwarf included exclusive rules for using Venator Bands for 3rd Edition Necromunda. Venator Bands are elite gangs of Bounty Hunters who band together for protection, to track down the most lucrative bounties or for more esoteric and near-religious reasons. The rules for these gangs also include rules for including Bounty Hunters from specific Houses.
    • Bounty Hunter appear as jobs and characters in many Games Workshop RPG-style Gaiden Games such as Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaynote  and Dark Heresy.
  • Rifts had a few variations on this; the core rulebook featured the "Tracer" class which was generically Bounty Hunter-themed (and featured a picture of a guy in vaguely Fett-like armor), but the "New West" Source Book actually contained a Bounty Hunter class patterned after the classic Western archetype.
  • The initial book for Fantasy Flight's 2014 Starwars RPG has Bounty Hunter as one of the playable classes with three specializations. Gadgeteers in the vein of Boba Fett, who modify their weapons and armor to give them an advantage. Assassins adept at stealth and dealing ranged damage, and Survivalists skilled at tracking and surviving in the wild. With the Martial Artist, Operator, and Skip Tracer specializations being added in the "No Disintegrations" Source Book. As well as rules for running bounty hunting focused missions.
  • Mongoose Games' Strontium Dog RPG, based on the Strontium Dog entry under Comic Books above.

    Video Games 
  • 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).
  • The Vault Hunters in Borderlands are either bounty hunters or do bounty hunting on the side when they aren't hunting for the Eridian Vaults or working for the Crimson Raiders. Multiple side quests will have the general gist of going somewhere, killing someone or something then getting paid (give or take some gimmicks).
  • An upgrade in Command & Conquer: Generals allows the GLA to make money whenever they kill an enemy.
  • Z'xorv from Cosmic Star Heroine is a green-skinned Humanoid Alien who attacks the protagonist Alyssa for a bounty put on her head, gets defeated by her and joins her few minutes later seeking a bounty put on a Humongous Mecha she too is seeking to stop. He later joins her as a permanent party member, again due to their overlapping goals. With him in your party you can recruit another bounty hunter who is not a part of a shore party but does provide status buffs when chosen for support.
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, V can engage in bounty hunting in some gigs that call for a specific target to be killed. There are also Cyberpsychos to contend with, though in their cases, V is instructed to try and take them alive so their Cyberpsychosis can be better studied, with dead targets resulting in a lower reward.
  • Darkest Dungeon features the Bounty Hunter class, a unit whose primarily uses are marking enemies for armor piercing attacks and for pulling units from the back to the front among others. He also specializes in killing human-type enemies, including bandits, cultists, and other, more monstrous human-like beings.
  • The Dark Forces Saga features Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors, who are these at least in the general sense that Star Wars doesn't really distinguish between mercenaries, which the duo are actually labeled as, and bounty hunters; the main difference is that they do jobs for the Rebellion and later New Republic rather than the Empire or unaffiliated criminals like Jabba. Specifically, they're doing a job for someone else for the entirety of the original Dark Forces (the opening level has them stealing the Death Star plans to deliver them to Leia, then the rest of the game is a more involved mission to investigate a Dark Trooper project) and the first two levels of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (investigating transmissions coming from an Imperial outpost thought to have long since been abandoned, then the source of power crystals Kyle found samples of in that outpost).
  • 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.
  • Deathless Hyperion have "Bounty Hunter" as the hardest setting in it's Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels. Said setting contains the highest enemy count, but also plenty of loot.
  • Gondar the Bounty Hunter in Defense of the Ancients is a rather ninja-ish hero who specializes in tracking the enemy heroes and assassinating them. Treating his targets as his bounties, his Ultimate lets him net an even bigger amount of gold in case he killed a tracked hero, which he shares with his nearby teammates if able.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II, potential Player Character/party member Ifan ben-Mezd is a contract killer working under the mercenary group known as the Lone Wolves. His storyline revolves around being assigned to kill the Well-Intentioned Extremist leader of The Order Bishop Alexandar, who is found out the hard way to be immortal.
  • Dragon Age II features several quests where Hawke acts as a bounty hunter/mercenary for the Viscount, the Templars, the Qunari, or the occasional random bystander.
  • Earthworm Jim contains a recurring villain named Psycrow who is an intergalactic bounty hunter that pursues Jim throughout the game in order to retrieve a stolen super suit.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Hunting down dangerous criminals to collect the bounty on their heads is a common quest for the Fighters Guild, as seen repeatedly in Daggerfall, Morrowind, and Oblivion.
    • Skyrim:
      • As the Fighters Guild does not operate in Skyrim due to the presence of the Companions, the Companions fill this void instead.
      • The Jarls of the various holds in Skyrim will often put out bounties on threats to their citizenry, including bandits, giants, and even Dragons.
      • If you commit crimes, even if you aren't caught by the actual City Guards, those you've committed crimes against may send Hired Thugs and even Dark Brotherhood assassins after you.
  • Players in Elite are able to destroy pirate ships and to get bounties for this.
  • EV Nova has a Bounty Hunters' Guild that the player can join. Their missions mainly involve killing and capturing Space Pirates. They start out working only in Federation territory, but the Guild storyline allows you to expand their operations into the Auroran Empire.
  • Abe Presley of Evolve. Played differently than usual as he doesn't really care for bounty hunting, considering it something that you do because you don't have many other options. On the other hand, he does have a healthy respect for the money it can bring.
  • F-Zero has Captain Falcon and Samurai Goroh as rival bounty hunters when they aren't racing. The short tie-in comic for the original game is the only time we see them at it, when Goroh tries to horn in on one of Falcon's captures, claiming it was happening on Goroh's turf. Hell, the comic is literally the only time we ever see Falcon use his gun.
  • The Fallout series:
    • 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, while evil players will be hunted by them. The Talon Company Mercs likewise are hired to hunt down players who do too many good deeds.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, the player can pursue bounties for Fiend leaders for the NCR, who will pay for their heads. The catch is 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.
  • Queen Brahne in Final Fantasy IX hires two bounty hunters, Lani and Amarant (who later joins the party). Interestingly, the bounty is not for the safe return of her daughter, Princess Garnet, but for the royal gemstone she carries. The Princess herself is deemed disposable.
  • 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. You can take up bounty hunting side missions as well; they're similar to the assassination ones except you grab the target's escape pod after the battle.
  • Granblue Fantasy nods to this with the "Bounty" status effect, which can be stacked on an enemy to increase the chance of getting a chest with good loot from defeating them. The skills available to the player that increase the bounty level on an enemy are even outright called "Bounty Hunter".
  • Grand Theft Auto V has an entire questline dedicated to Trevor working as a bounty hunter. Notably, he has to work for a bail bondsman and gets more money for not killing his targets (which is asking a lot from Trevor).
  • Guilty Gear's Bridget is a self-proclaimed bounty hunter. However, she's not exactly very competent at it. Her only real successful bounty to date happened to consist of innocent people (in Bridget's defense, the bounties were given to her under false pretenses). Ky Kiske only paid her due to feeling bad for the poor little girl.
    • Sol Badguy is a more experienced and competent example, and it's a career that fits nicely with his "hunting down and killing all other Gears" thing.
    • The Whole premise of Guilty Gear X was that a large bounty was placed on mysterious command-type Gear Dizzy's head, so most of the characters introduced in that game and its derivatives are also Bounty Hunters, such as Bridget and Jam.
  • Several story events in King of the Castle involve the King offering financial compensation for the capture, dead or alive, of criminals. For example, if a region is being overrun by bandits, the King can offer a bounty for bandit scalps, or for the head of the bandits' leader. Other countries have similar policies in place, as illustrated when the Republic of Kirth sends bounty hunters to the Kingdom in pursuit of Oreid, a fugitive who offers the Kingdom a (stolen) weapons shipment in exchange for safe harbour; the King can either surrender Oreid to them or bribe them to take back a random prisoner's head.
  • Miss Fortune in League of Legends, by lore, is a bounty hunter, specifically she hunts pirates. It's her class/title name.
  • Legaia II: Duel Saga features a Hunter's Guild which the player can access about halfway through the game. Though some of the requests are more reminiscent of Fetch Quests, the majority present marks that the party must track down and eradicate.
  • In Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter, the titular character used to a be a Ranger, charged with keeping peace in the Vagner system. Following a debacle where his unit was wiped out, Mace was sentenced to ten years in prison, and upon his release, Mace became a bounty hunter.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Inverted by Wrex in Mass Effect, who describes himself as a mercenary, but his actual role is much more similar to 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.
    • Mass Effect 2 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.
  • Mega Man:
    • 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 Mega Man ZX Advent, the Hunter's Guild are a bunch of bounty hunters officially sanctioned by the coalition government Legion who get paid to both recover Lost Technology and hunt down dangerous Mavericks. One of the protagonists, Ashe, was raised by Hunters at a young age after her home was destroyed by Mavericks, while the other one, Grey, was inadvertently released from his capsule by two Hunters who get killed by security bots and rescued later still from drowning by a Hunter named Billy, who makes him a Hunter so he can get in and out of Hunter's Camp and offers him a chance to come to Legion so he can possibly learn who he is. They're contrasted by the Raiders, who are effectively pirates that pillage ancient ruins for Lost Technology for themselves and deal with other "illegal" items, though even the Hunters aren't above some shady behavior, as one of the enemy Mega Men Siarnaq was a Hunter tasked as an assassin and Left for Dead by his comrades.
  • 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.
  • Metroid:
    • Samus Aran is usually described as a bounty hunter, although "mercenary" or even "Privateer" 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.
    • Metroid: To drive the point home, the FDS version places a bag of money next to completed game files.
    • Other "bounty hunters" with vastly different motivations appear in the aptly named Metroid Prime: Hunters and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
    • Samus' 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 slightly 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 Metroid Fusion. Prime 2 can be an inferred mission: she's told to investigate the disappearance of a GF Space Marine 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.
      • 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 / Metroid: Samus Returns for the Game Boy / Nintendo 3DS, 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. This is actually the closest example we have of Samus doing actual bounty hunting we see in the games, it just happens to be against wildlife.
    • 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.
    • Allegedly, the people at Nintendo got the label "bounty hunter" from Star Wars and applied it to Samus thinking it just sounded like she was a cool space adventurer, while not actually knowing what it meant until Retro Studios informed them of its actual meaning during the development of Metroid Prime, to their shock.
    • Metroid Dread begins with Adam commenting that the bounty she's receiving for the mission to ZDR doesn't seem worth the risk. In this case, her specific mission is to recover 7 missing ultra-advanced robots that have gone dark on the planet intact. It doesn't take long before the mission goes south big time and things get much more complicated than that and she ends up destroying all 7 of the robots anyway, so it's probably safe to say there wasn't much of a monetary reward for her in the end.
  • 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.
  • Phantasy Star II gives you two flavors of bounty hunter as party members. Rudolf Steiner hunts Biomonsters as a profession in revenge for the deaths of his wife and child. Anna Zirski is said to hunt people, and Generation 2 explains that she targets other hunters that go rogue.
  • Power Strike II (Sega Master System ver.) is set in an Alternate History version of The Great Depression where those laid off from their jobs take to sky piracy to make a living, while bounty hunters like the protagonist capture pirates to reap the reward money.
  • In Popful Mail, Mail often goes after big-time criminals (the bigger the reward, the better), but never manages to catch any of them.
  • Red Dead Revolver includes the protagonist Red as a bounty hunter of the heroic type.
    • The sequel Red Dead Redemption John is pretty much a Government Bounty Hunter, who has to hunt down the rest of his old gang dead or alive, or he'll never see his family again.
      • Also 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.
    • And again for the prequel.
      • And again for its online multiplayer component, where Bounty Hunter is a full-on role with its own unique perks and missions.
  • 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.
  • Tokyo Hunters in Shin Megami Tensei IV. Functionally, Samurai who take quests from K are pretty much the same, though from a trained fighting force instead.
  • In SNATCHER, due to understaffing, JUNKER is forced to hire bounty hunters to help in taking down the eponymous SNATCHERs. However, only one (named Random/Randam Hajile) plays a major role in the story.
  • The various Hunter organizations of Solatorobo: Red the Hunter are this in all but name. Though most of the jobs the guild offers are along the lines of Fetch Quests or 20 Bear Asses.
  • 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 its own story and companions, for the Imperial faction. You start off as a competitor in a Mandalorian Bounty Hunting competition, to hunting high-profile targets from an exclusive list and ultimately ending up as the most wanted criminal of the Galactic Republic.
    • The Bounty Contract in-game events allow other classes to engage in this as well, capturing bounties dead or alive to earn rewards from the Bounty Hunter's Guild.
  • In Strider, once Hiryu becomes a big enough nuisance the villains hire the services of Bounty Hunter Solo, an armor-clad flying hitman with a preference for firearms and a claim to be the strongest human being on Earth. Solo is more than happy to clash against the fabled Striders in battle, and more than once after getting bested in their first bout.
  • Both titular characters from Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy are bounty hunters pursuing a group of Space Pirates across various planets, with the beginning of each stage a "Wanted!" Poster depicting the boss and the bounty reward.
  • The protagonist of Three the Hard Way works as one.
  • In Twisted Metal 4: Quatro's ending reveals him to be this.
    Quatro: I want nothing to do with your prize, Sweet Tooth! I came here only for the bounties on Calypso, Zombie, Grimm... and you.
  • 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 the bondman's regular bounty hunter, and then freeing him from the basement where his quarry's murderer is torturing him.
  • Vermillion Watch: Order Zero sets up a rivalry between the (British) Watch and the (American) OZ, a team of bounty hunters who prefer to go for "kill" rather than "capture". Conflict ensues when the player character realizes OZ's current target is linked to the Red Queen, and keeps Dorothy from shooting her so she can be questioned.
  • Vermintide II: A possible career option for Victor Saltzpyre. Though squishier than a Witch Hunter Captain and less effective in melee combat, his talent toolkit centers around ranged attacks; he gets guaranteed critical hits and his ultimate ability has him shoot a Sawed-Off Shotgun for colossal damage. If this class is chosen, it's the end result of Victor calling out his superiors in the Order of the Silver Hammer for covering up the existence of the Skaven and allowing them to run rampant instead of prioritizing them; though technically Victor remains a sanctioned Witch Hunter, he has taken matters into his own hands and begun funding a private war against the Skaven by collecting bounties and hunting down difficult targets for the coin.
  • Although Wing Commander: 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.note 
  • Yakuza 3 has a sidequest that sees Kiryu called upon to aid the "Honest Living Association", an outreach program that helps former yakuza find gainful employment in their new civilian lives. The HLA is being targeted by hitmen called the "Reapers", thus do they task Kiryu with finding and capturing these hitmen in exchange for monetary rewards.

    Web Animation 
  • Lobo (Webseries): The titular character hunts down aliens to get paid.
  • In Shrapnel, if there is a "Wanted!" Poster with your face on it, you can expect a so-called "Hunter Killer" to be on the lookout for you.
  • In RWBY, the Huntsmen and Huntresses are essentially an institutionalized version of this. After graduating from one of the four Huntsman Academies (Atlas, Haven, Beacon and Shade), licensed huntsmen can move freely between kingdoms and take contracts for pay. These contracts usually revolve around fighting Grimm or protecting settlements that lie outside the fortified kingdoms, but can also be minor jobs such as assisting local police or escorting schoolchildren. Atlas plays with it, since their graduates are strongly encouraged to join the military, but are technically free to act as they wish.

  • Banished: Luger, who wants to claim the bounty on Rak's head.
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: Genoworks Exotica wants its creations back. This is their preferred method.
    • Mercial, though she doesn't work for Genoworks Exotica.
  • Dream Catcher Lunos' belief is that as a werewolf demon, this type of stuff is in his nature and is what he does best. Naturally, it's his job.
  • A Bounty Hunter picks up the girls' Distress Call in Girls in Space and tracks them back to Earth.
  • 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 whom hunted the main characters.
  • The title character of The Legend of Lucy is a bounty hunting pig girl, although multiple characters have pointed out her actions are more akin to that of a vigilante.
  • Ganji and Enor from Order of the Stick.
  • Plume has the bounty hunter known only as the Hunter, who, true to more realistic depictions of this trope, does more than just killing for money, working as a private investigator as well.
  • In Roza, Esten appears to be this.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Doyt (and later Doyt-Haban). When the crew rescues some hostages, he explains the way to turn a profit. Ransoming them back to their families is wrong, but selling them to interested governments is fine.
      Tagon: That's actually a pretty fair idea, once you get used to the odd distinction.
      DoytHaban: How is the distinction odd?
      Tagon: It's not okay for us to sell a guy back to the people who love him, but it's just fine for us to sell him to a body politic that wants to incarcerate him or execute him?
      DoytHaban: Bounty-hunting is like that.
    • The Toughs as a whole, given that they have a standing payment for killing attorney drones.
  • Clark and Tonya from Shape Quest are bounty hunters.
  • Feral in Strays.
  • 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?
  • Winter Moon takes place in an MMORPG. Florence is an extremely powerful mage that has managed to piss off almost every important high-level player in the game. So he regularly has players trying to kill him to collect the rewards on his head.
  • The crew of the Falconer in Binary Stars are bounty hunters IN SPACE!. The main character ends up joining the crew after they kidnap her from her mother only to find out that she used to be married to the captain and suffers Identity Amnesia.

    Web Original 
  • The web series Chapel has Butch Sauft, the man who originally caught Chapel. But it wasn't personal.
    Butch: Sorry I caught you.
    Chapel: Sorry I ran.
  • Elliot Bishop in Chrono Hustle is a bounty hunter in the old west, in addition to working for the TRD.
  • In the web serial The Dread Eclipse, Ordo Arcanus is occasionally required to enlist the services of ratcatchers to capture rogue mages who escape to neutral territory in exchange for a hefty bounty. One of the protagonists, Caren, is a ratcatcher who's so dedicated to her job that she even turns in her con artist uncle for a measly six-hundred bucks.
  • 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.
  • A Hero's War: The official Order of Knights is run this way; instead of a ruler giving orders, they simply post bounties for the work they want done. Good for personal freedom, not so good for efficiency.
  • Mage-knights in Void Domain are explicitly stated to work as bounty hunters on occasion. The mother of one of the main characters is a retired mage-knight.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Shane is accused of being this by his fellow Supertroopers, who went renegade while he stayed loyal to Earth. The truth is harsher; the only reason Earth didn't throw Shane in cryo or kill him was because of Takes One to Kill One, and they wanted the others hunted down.
  • 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. He ended up turning on his client for welshing on his deal.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long has an episode where Jake rants on a blog about how he'd pay a million dollars to get rid of his Sadist Teacher. Countless magical bounty hunters reading the blog (trolls, cyclopses, wood nymphs, pixies etc.) think it's a legitimate bounty and go after the teacher, forcing Jake to protect him.
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In the first season, Zuko hires a female bounty hunter named June 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. Though since he was only ordered to kill, makes him a hitman.
    • While it's technically not their job, Xin Fu and Yu, a pair of professional Earthbenders, were also hired to capture Toph and return her to her parents (serving the role but never being called bounty hunters), but they had no experience bounty hunting. Xin Fu, however is willing to sell anyone out to the Fire Nation, because they pay more. 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.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Showdown", the real hero of the story is Jonah Hex, a cynical Wild West bounty hunter with a hideously scarred face and gruff manners that hide his heroism.
  • Ben 10 has several, such as siblings SixSix, SevenSeven, and EightEight, the cyborg crab alien Krabb, and the Good All Along Tetrax.
  • 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).
  • Baba Ghanoush — a parody of Boba Fett — who appears in several episodes of Dogstar (and turns out to be Gemma's uncle).
  • Skeletor hires two bounty hunters to capture He-man in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002). If nothing else, they were a lot more competent than his usual minions.
  • Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart gives us Tanya Keys, a mischievous, shapeshifting Tanuki Femme Fatale with a lust for gold and a rather turbulent history with Mao Mao.
  • My Dad the Bounty Hunter: As the title indicates, the series is about two kids discovering their dad is an intergalactic bounty hunter. The first episode opens with him on the job, tracking down a bail jumper.
  • Dale in King of the Hill becomes a bounty hunter after a one day class.
  • Nick Logan, the main character of Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends starts out as a bounty hunter. He gets pulled into the Alliance when one of his marks turns out to be a lycanthrope.
  • Samurai Jack has faced many bounty hunters due to a high reward on his head set by Aku; 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. 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. Another episode revolves around an encounter with two of these on a train; it laters turns out the pair are a former married couple, and the female hunter very nearly succeeded in capturing Jack.
  • Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders once became bounty hunters on The Simpsons.
  • In SpacePOP, Geela hires a bounty hunter named Khang to capture the girls and retrieve the Ring of Grock.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil gives us Rasticore Chaosus Disastorvayne, a former monster soldier and bounty hunter hired by Miss Heinous to destroy Star and Marco. He gets One Shotted by their Quest Buy card.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars gives us Cad Bane. That particular season was actually prolifically advertised for the inclusion of lots of bounty hunters.
  • Transformers: Animated brings us Lockdown, who takes parts of his quarry as trophies before turning them over to his employer. Psycho for Hire with a dash of creepiness to boot.
    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.
  • The Wander over Yonder episode "The Waste of Time" reveals that Sylvia was working as a bounty hunter when she first met Wander... in fact, he was her quarry at the time! We have yet to see exactly how Sylvia went from trying to turn Wander in for a reward to being his best friend and travel companion.
    • In an earlier episode, “The Bounty” has Lord Hater hire three bounty hunters to capture Wander and Sylvia, with Commander Peepers trying to sabotage them so he can keep his job.

    Real Life 
  • Bounty fishing is sometimes used as a way of encouraging fishermen to help control the population of an invasive species that threatens to overwhelm the local ecosystem. Pikeminnows (in the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River) and lionfish (in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean) have both been subjected to this in the United States.
  • Today, civilian bounty hunting is legally practiced only in 44 states in the United States of America (Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Wisconsin do not have private bail systems) and its former colony, the Philippines. Though it should be noted that modern bounty hunting is a very different practice than in the old days. In the United States a bounty hunter is usually under contract with a bail bondsman and can't work without their sanction. The US and the Philippines are the only countries which allow for corporations to make bail on behalf of criminals, which means that a) many more people in America can make bail, and thus b) more people in America skip bail than the police can handle on their own; also bail in America can get ludicrously expensive, which makes bounty hunting a lucrative career. Most states also require strict licensing and training for bounty hunters, and a few states ban bounty hunting entirely. And of course, "dead or alive" bounties are completely illegal. A bounty hunter who killed their quarry would have to face a lot of questions from the police and could easily find themselves blacklisted in the bail bondsman industry for it (especially since killing the bounty would mean the bail bondsmen wouldn't be getting their money back). As it is, unlike law enforcement they don't have quasi-immunity and can be much more easily sued or prosecuted for any excessive force against fugitives.
  • 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. At least some have been alleged to be innocent, rounded up due to mistaken identity or just false accusations by enemies that they are terrorists.
  • Domino Harvey, whose real life story is significantly more unique than the cliche Hollywood turned her into.
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter is probably the most famous contemporary example, in no small part thanks to his hit reality TV show.
  • The Bounty Hunter monster truck is a top monster truck that is owned by Jimmy Creten out of Tonganoxie, Kansas as part of his 2Xtreme Racing team. The truck is well known for being a fiercely competitive truck with a large amount of horsepower that is difficult to defeat in racing. Despite this, Jimmy and the Bounty Hunter advanced to the final round of racing in the Monster Jam World Finals 6 times. But only won 1 out of all 6 of the times in 2019.
  • A Bug Bounty Program is a type of bounty for programmers to deal with bugs and exploits, in which the Bug Bounty Hunters search for the bugs with their programming skills and resolve them for a reward.
  • In post-UDI Rhodesia, faced with attack from guerrilas against cattle, the government took at giving to mercenaries a daily wage of R$7, with a bounty of R$ 750 for each caught rustler.
  • In societies were slavery was legal, slave catchers were tasked with capturing escaped slaves in order to take them back to their owners for a reward.
  • Before the creation of modern police in England, there were the thief takers, who tracked down and captured criminals for a reward. This system suffered from deep corruption though. Some thief takers such as Jonathan Wylde (who styled himself "Thief Taker General") were major underworld figures themselves, taking bribes to not apprehend certain criminals, blackmailing people whom they discovered compromising information on due to their connections, while turning in rivals. Others outright framed people to take the reward. These scandals led to the abolition of the thief takers and the (eventual) creation of Scotland Yard, then more police forces around the country (though naturally they had corruption problems at times too).


Video Example(s):



Shawn and Gus are impressed by the bounty hunter, so much so that Shawn imagines himself in the guy's place.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BountyHunter

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