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Price on Their Head

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"I'm going to put a price on your head that's so big, when you look in the mirror your reflection's gonna want to shoot you in the face."
Dean Sanderson, The Mechanic (2011)

This person is badly wanted by somebody. Wanted badly enough that they are willing to pay a large sum of money whoever brings in this person. They often don't care if this person arrives dead or alive. The bounty is usually offered by either The Law or a criminal. Or both.

This person will often feature on a "Wanted!" Poster. The price will usually attract Bounty Hunters.


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     Anime and Manga 

  • Black Lagoon:
    • When Roberta first arrives at Roanapur, it doesn't take long for the cartel she's at loggerheads with to realise her true identity. Rather than run a mile, they continue coming after her, attracted by the numerous bounties that have been placed on her head. Needless to say, they do not claim those bounties.
    • During the Hansel and Gretel arc, the titular twins' spree of carnage earns them an $80,000 bounty that has half the city coming after them. When Gretel learns of this from Eta, she simply offers Eta nearly double that to walk away and pretend she never saw her. Unfortunately, Eta's with Revy, who suggests just killing Gretel and taking her money along with the bounty, and Gretel escapes in the ensuing struggle. Ultimately, the twins are killed not for the bounty, but because they royally pissed off Balalaika.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Every one of the fugitives that Jet and Spike are chasing has this as an incentive for the heroes to catch them. It rarely works out.
  • In One Piece, a pirate's prestige is tied to the size of the bounty the World Government has placed on their head. Likewise, a pirate crew's prestige is indicated by the sum of bounties on all of its current members. The Straw Hat Pirates, for instance, started off with zero bounties, and eventually racked up a total of over three billion berries. Main character Luffy, all by himself, received a bounty of 1.5 billion berries after all of his antics of being a Chaotic Good hero. In general, pirates' bounties are treated similarly to Power Levels, with a pirate's bounty being roughly correlated to how strong they are in a fight, although there are many exceptions.
    • It's noted that in the East Blue, regarded as the weakest of the four Blues, the average bounty is 3 million; a bounty of 10 million or more would be noteworthy. In the first half of the Grand Line, one hundred million or higher is considered exceptional; in the second half, that same number is considered common or weak, and it's hard to surpass three hundred million. It's also noted that any bounty that goes to one billion or over is considered monstrous, even in the New World.
    • As of chapter 957, aside from Luffy, only nine other people are known to have ever had bounties of one billion or higher — in order, they are the late Pirate King Gol D. Roger (5,564,800,000, the highest known to have ever been given), Edward "Whitebeard" Newgate (5,046,000,000 before his death and the second highest ever issued), Kaido "of the Beasts" (4,611,100,000), "Big Mom" Charlotte Linlin (4,388,000,000), "Red-Haired" Shanks (4,048,900,000), "Blackbeard" Marshall D. Teach (2,247,600,000), Queen "The Plague" (one of Kaido's three "Lead Performers"; 1,320,000,000), Charlotte Katakuri (son of Big Mom; 1,057,000,000) and Jack "The Drought" (another of Kaido's three "Lead Performers"; 1,000,000,000). Chapter 1006 later reveals that King "The Conflagration", the last of Kaido's three "Lead Performers", also has a bounty of over 1 billion.
  • Trigun: Vash has $$60,000,000,000 on his head for the destruction of a city. This paradoxically causes even more damage due to the hordes of reckless bounty hunters that are constantly chasing him. Eventually the Bernadelli Insurance Corporation declares him a "human act of God" to avoid paying claims on the damage he causes, incidentally cancelling the bounty.

     Comic Books  

  • Justice Society of America: One arc sees the entire team getting individual bounties placed on their heads, with the sole exception of Stargirl.
  • In Maus the Nazis have put posters informing the population each delivered Jew would be worth one kilo of sugar.
  • Lucky Luke villains are sometimes shown progressing in crime by their growing bounties (Averell Dalton's is always lower than his brothers', when he even has one).


     Fan Works  

  • Ultimate Video Rumble: After Demitri Maximoff's actions in the second Rumble, Heihachi Mishima puts a sizable bounty on the vampire's head in the third. (As there are a lot of guns-for-hire in the Rumble, and many of them have no qualms with shooting the competition, the hunt rapidly degenerates into a free-for-all.)
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: As said in "Getting More Nurses", Mukrezar has a bounty that's over two million gold pieces.
  • This Bites!: As in canon, the Straw Hat Pirates (save for some of their animal members) and many more have earned bounties. After Enies Lobby, Cross and Soundbite alone are 1.5 billion, narrowly higher than the entire rest of the crew put together (all their bounties equal 1,480,100,000).
  • The Infinite Loops: Some loopers, such as Pikachu and Anakin Skywalker, are known to put out rewards for non-loopers to find and capture MLEs during loops.
  • The Will Of The Empire: Part of Vader's scheme involves having massive bounties placed on everyone he feels would be a major threat to Luke's claim on the throne, and all the significantly corrupt officers and moffs, to be paid out of his considerable fortune. This being The Empire, the result is important Imperials dropping by the thousands in a matter of weeks, and leaving Luke a clean(er) slate to build off of.


  • Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia: El Jefe puts a contract out on Garcia because he knocked up El Jefe's daughter. The protagonist finds out that Garcia is already dead and buried, so he decides to dig him up and remove his head to return for the reward.
  • The Dark Knight: After the Joker angers the mob lord Gambol one too many times, Gambol declares that he'll pay $500,000 for the Joker brought to him dead, and $1,000,000 alive so Gambol can get revenge on Joker himself. However, the Joker uses this to his advantage by secretly hiring some of Gambol's goons and pretending to be dead while they bring him to Gambol, allowing him to get close enough to assassinate the mobster.
  • For a Few Dollars More: The Man with No Name and Colonel Mortimer team up to go after El Indio and his gang worth $27,000 in total.
    • In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Blondie and Tuco run a scam where Blondie turns Tuco in for the reward money ($2,000) and then rescues him from the hangman and they split the bounty.
  • In Once Upon a Time in the West, the bandit Cheyenne has a $5,000 bounty on his head. Harmonica uses it to bid for Jill's land.
  • The Hateful Eight: Daisy Domergue has $10,000 on her head. Major Marquis Warren had $30,000 during the war. The rest of the Domergue gang also have bounties.
  • Ransom: Millionaire Tom Cullen receives a demand for $2,000,000 for the safe return of his son. When federal agents kill the only connection to the kidnappers, Mullen tries a new strategy: he broadcasts the $2,000,000 as a bounty to anyone who fingers the kidnappers. Anyone, no questions asked, no charges pressed.
  • Maleficent: The dying king promises the throne to the one who kills Maleficent.
  • Star Wars: In A New Hope, Jabba the Hutt had put a bounty on Han Solo's head. Sources outside of the film indicate that Luke Skywalker initially had a bounty of 60,000 credits for destroying the Death Star, which irritated Solo at the time, as it was higher than his own bounty. Jabba eventually raised Solo's to 224,190 credits, though this was nothing compared to the 10,000,000 that the Galactic Empire placed on Princess Leia's head.
  • The Three Musketeers (1993): The Cardinal offers a bounty for the each of the Musketeers after they free D'Artagnan.
    Cardinal Richelieu: One thousand gold pieces on each of their heads, dead or alive!
    Cardinal Richelieu: I prefer dead!
  • Unforgiven: After a prostitute is disfigured by two cowboys who get a slap on the wrist by sheriff Little Bill, her coworker prostitutes put out that they'll pay $1,000 to whoever kills them. The Scofield Kid wants that money and eventually talks William Munny out of retirement to help him.
  • The Informer: The British are offering £20 for information leading to the capture of Frankie McPhillip. Gypo goes for it.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Sheriff of Nottingham is constantly raising the bounty on Robin Hood's head. First it's 100 gold pieces. Then 500. The 25,000 crowns. It does nothing to sway people's loyalty to him.
  • I Shot Jesse James: Everybody in the James clan has one, though Jesse's is the highest at $3,000.
  • Forced Vengeance. Chuck Norris is told there's a $100,000 price on his head. His only reaction is to ask if it's in US or Hong Kong dollars.
  • In Mortal Engines, Hester is about to be auctioned off to a sausage maker when the notorious Anti-Tractionist Anna Fang appears and bids 50 on her. While this is ten times his offered bid, the auctioneer points out that there's a reward of 50,000 on Fang's head, so unless she's willing to cough up that much... Fang quickly demonstrates that he should have taken the 50.


  • Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal has disgruntled French Foreign Legionnaires, angry that President De Gaulle chose to accede Algeria to the insurrectionists, hire a British sniper to assassinate the French president. The sniper has a badass reputation as The Kingslayer, and commands a $500,000 fee. The cabal is able to gather the advance by robbing banks, confident that they'll be able to gather the remainder from right-wing businessmen once they've proved themselves by killing De Gaulle.
  • Discworld: The Assassins' Guild lives and breathes this trope. The Hogfather had a bounty of $3,000,000. Moist von Lipwig had a conditional $100,000 bounty on his head. Lord Vetinari and The Duke of Ankh, Sir Samuel Vimes had bounties, before being being taken off the lists.
  • Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow series: Shane Schofield, and 14 others, get a $18,600,000 bounty for his literal head.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. Anyone who brings in Tyrion Lannister's head will get a lordship.
  • Star Wars Legends: Han and Leia end up getting a price put on their heads by Han's villainous cousin Thrackan Sal-Solo after he declares himself leader of Corellia. He hires Boba Fett's daughter but she's killed and he then tries to hire Fett himself. Fett initially hoped to find his daughter by finding Han but later defected and helped kill Sal-Solo with his granddaughter and Han he learned of 1,000,000 credit price on Sal-Solo's head and that Sal-Solo sold out his (Fett's) daughter to the other side.
  • The Executioner. The Mafia has a $250,000 open contract on Mack Bolan, though the Villain Cred of killing the vigilante One-Man Army tends to be emphasized more.
  • In The Witchlands, the Big Bad Raider King has an ever-rising bounty on his head (literally on his head, as delivering it is a requirement in the contract). Unfortunately for everyone involved, he's a master of Assassin Outclassin'.
  • Forest Kingdom: In the Hawk & Fisher spinoff series' book 5 (Guard Against Dishonor), when Fisher is framed as a traitor, a bounty is briefly placed on her head. It's revoked when she helps catch the real traitor.

     Live Action TV  

  • Firefly: Simon and River Tam have prices on their heads as a result of him rescuing her from the Academy. It's not specified how much the Alliance is offering for them, but it is enough to get Jayne to rat them out on Ariel and is enough to get a sadistic Bounty Hunter after them. This causes no end of trouble for the rest of the crew.
  • Galavant: Madalena puts a price of 6 gold coins on Sid's head after he runs away. When cornered by peasants who have reason to be hostile to Queen Madalena, Sid tries to convince them to let him go and says 6 gold coins isn't much money anyway. One peasant retorts that 6 gold coins is enough to buy a farm.
  • Game of Thrones: After deserting the Lannisters and killing a group of their soldiers he encountered, The Hound becomes one of the most wanted men in Westeros. Tywin places a large bounty on him, deciding that anyone who brings in The Hound's head will get 100 silver stags.
    Tywin Lannister: What would it take to make a common soldier stupid enough to try his luck with The Hound?
    Varys: Ten silver stags seems a generous bounty.
    Tywin: Make it a hundred.
  • NYPD Blue:
    • When a Serial Killer murders a wealthy man's daughter, the man offers Simone $1,000,000 to kill him instead of arresting him. Simone doesn't do it but also doesn't report the illegal solicitation of a contract, giving the man some slack over his grief. Later, after the killer is arrested, it is all but stated that the wealthy man pays another man whose daughter was also murdered by the same serial killer (and who was an expert sniper during the Vietnam War) to murder him. The assassin confesses and is willing to pay the penalty but refuses to implicate the wealthy man, who is now paying for the murderer's wife's dialysis at a private clinic.
    • In another episode a numbers runner has had a contract put out on him and Medevoy is assigned to his protection detail. While the numbers runner and his friends stay with Medevoy playing poker (thus giving them an airtight alibi) one of the numbers runner's employees goes out and kills the other man, thus "cancelling" the contract.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor has had various prices on their head over the years, ranging from £20 to an entire star system.
  • In The Wire, Avon Barksdale puts a bounty of $1,000 each on Omar and his crew after they rob his stash-house. He doubles it upon learning that Omar is gay.
  • Farscape uses wanted beacons which show holograms of the criminals (usually Moya's crew) with narration explaining the reward for turning them in.
    HOLOGRAM: An unprecedented reward is offered for information leading— (Chiana advances recording) —dead or alive, five million currency pledges rests on the Nebari Chiana, who was last seen— (shuts chip off)
    CHIANA: They're everywhere. In every bar, every port, every ship that can fly. We had nowhere to go but here, and all because of you [Crichton].
    RYGEL: (smugly) I'm worth seven million. That's frelling with her head, too. (Chiana hits him)
  • Blake's 7.
    • When Space Pirates seize the Liberator in "Bounty", their leader Tarvin says the Federation will offer him 13 million credits for the Liberator and its crew.
    Tarvin: I wonder if there's a price on your head anywhere?
    Sarkoff: No. But I imagine there is on yours, though.
    Tarvin: [Laughs] I'd be ashamed if there weren't.
    • In "Gambit", Servalan negotiates with a crime boss to have a Federation fugitive captured dead or alive. She offers two million credits, but is forced to settle on eight million. However it's later revealed to be just a ploy to get the crime boss wondering what's so important about this man that Servalan wants dead.
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger:
    • The Empire has a price on each member's head in Zagin (with 1 Zagin equalling 360 Japanese yen), with Don's always being the lowest. It gets to the point where Captain Marvelous's bounty is listed as "Unlimited Reward" after the events of episode 38 and the death of Warz Gill, while the others' last bounties are 8 million (Gokai Blue), 4 million (Gokai Pink), 3 million (Gokai Yellow), 300 thousand (Gokai Green and Gokai Silver each), and fifty (Navi).
    • Basco ta Jolokia also had a 3 million Zagin bounty on his head before coming to work for Zangyack. His actions in betraying them in episode 43 result in it being reinstated and upped to 10 million, while his monkey partner Sally got a bounty of fifty (the same as Navi's).
    • AkaRed, Marvelous's mentor, had a bounty of at least eight million before his apparent death.
  • On Star Trek: Enterprise, Captain Archer escapes a life sentence on the Klingon gulag Rura Penthe. Later in the season, it's revealed that the Klingons have put a price on his head. After he escapes a capture attempt, it likely goes up.
  • In the documentary Churchill's Bodyguard, it's mentioned that Irish Nationalist leader Michael Collins complained bitterly about a 5000 pound price that the authorities had put on his head, dead or alive. Churchill responded by showing him his framed Wanted notice that had been put out after Churchill escaped from a Boer prisoner-of-war camp, offering only 25 pounds for him dead or alive. Collins found this Actually Pretty Funny.


  • The Bon Jovi song Wanted Dead Or Alive is about a man wanted... well, you know. Interestingly, the song never comes out and says what it is he's wanted for.


     Tabletop Games  

  • Shadowrun:
    • 3rd edition supplement Loose Alliances: Matthias Hesse, leader of the Neo-Nazi terror group Nationale Aktion, has a 50,000 Euro bounty on his head due to the group's attacks at the Munich Stadium.
    • Dunkelzahn's Will placed a standing 1 million nuyen bounty on any blood mage or toxic shaman captured alive and brought to the Dunkelzahn Institute of Magical Research for study.
    • Dunkelzahn also willed that one Lars J. Matthews lose all legal status for a period of ten days, during which time anyone who killed him would be paid a million nuyen. (Never deal with a dragon).
  • The Quest for the Silver Empress adventure from Judges Guild Pegasus magazine: One of the NPCs is "Rabid" Grawulf Thornal. Thornal is a criminal who killed the son of a noble during a robbery, resulting in a 5,000 gold piece price on his head.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeon magazine Forgotten Realms adventure "All Things Nice". The Con Artist thief Clavius has a price on his head in twenty different towns. Treblun Gonologon is worth 2,000 gold pieces, dead or alive, to a group of pirates in Baldur's Gate.

     Video Games  

  • A Hat in Time: During the Nyakuza Metro's finale, when Hat Kid steals the Time Pieces from Empress, rather than attacking Hat Kid right then and there, Empress instead calls out to the whole Metro that Hat Kid now has a bounty while deliberately letting Hat Kid flee from the shop, and then chases her as Hat Kid desperately runs for her life from a gang of cats and the enraged Empress who is hauling a rocket launcher.
  • Borderlands 2: The four Vault Hunters from the vanilla game all have ludicrously high prices on their head for a variety of reasons. Axton is wanted for "war crimes" and has $5,000,000,000 as a reward, Zer0 is wanted for "Political Assassination" at $32,000,000,000, Salvador is wanted for "manslaughter, theft, arson, destruction of property, trespassing, cannibalism, public indecency and profanity at $99,000,000,000.99, and Maya is wanted for being a Siren at $720,000,000,000.
  • The Division: When players kill non-hostile Division agents in Dark Zone areas, they turn into rogue agents that gives other players incentive to gain experience points/loot/money by killing them. The only way to get the rogue status to go away is to kill the other Division agents or hide and wait for the bounty time to end.
  • EVE Online: Any player can put up a bounty on a character's head, which is visible to other players if they view his or her profile.
  • Fallen London: The department of Menace Eradication offers prices on the head of just about any beast out there, intelligent or otherwise, and a few humans to boot. Capture above death in the latter case, since people are known to come back with some ease down in the Neath. The highest bounty of all belongs to the Vake, at four million Echoes, an absurdly high amount of money... and one of the Ambitions is all about claiming this prize. In the end, it turns out the Vake, AKA Mr. Veils, put that prize on his own head because he wanted someone to hunt, and other hunters seemed like the most fun. And it turns out not even the entirety of the Bazaar and its institutions have that much money lying around, so if you turn the head in they have to take out the Tragedy Procedures, and narrowly avoid having to liquidate the entire city by just giving you everything Veils had (and since every Master is rich beyond measure that is a lot of property), plus a few extras to sweeten the deal.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus: At one point Neftin Prog offers a bonus for whoever can kill Ratchet: 10,000 bolts (which isn't really a lot, honestly). Ratchet then says that it'd be nice to go a day without getting a price put on his head. Earlier in the same area Neftin says that he wants Ratchet's head on a stake and his robot turned to scrap.
  • Evolve: All Basilisk Soldiers, such as Slim, have a 10,000 key bounty on their heads due to their role in the attempted rebellion. According to Abe, the bounty is so high because the only people in any position to take advantage of it would have been rooting for the rebels.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Tails has a $1,000,000 bounty from the G.U.N.
  • In Paladins, Lex has an ability called "Retribution" that puts a bounty on an opposing Champion that increases when they gain a kill streak. If he lands the killing blow on his mark, he can potentially earn a lot of credits at once.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, your lead character Yuri is presented with his own wanted poster... and is insulted to learn that the bounty on him is "only 5,000 Gald." It is later raised to 10,000.

     Western Animation  

  • The Looney Tunes episode Rebel Rabbit: Bugs Bunny is infuriated upon learning that the Department of the Interior offers bounties up to $50 for large nuisance animals, but only two cents per rabbit. Bugs sets out to become the biggest nuisance ever and vandalizes America in hilarious ways. The U.S. Army finally captures Bugs and imprisons him in Alcatraz. "Meh, perhaps I've gone too far."
  • Samurai Jack: Aku placed a price on Jack's head, said to be a googolplex in season 1. In one episode, he had to deal with bounty hunter after bounty hunter. In another episode, he encounters another character who also had a price on his head placed by Aku and after their initial clash, they worked together to deal with the bounty hunters going after them in that episode.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 88, Stumpy, Quack Quack, and Mr. Cat, who are bandits in this episode, see Wanted Posters with their names, pictures and rewards: 5000 dollars for Mr. Cat, 6500 dollars for Quack Quack and... 33 cents for Stumpy.

     Real Life  

  • It was common, in the past, when police services were rudimentary, for the victim of a crime to put a bounty on the head of the author of the deed.
  • Duting the revolt of the Hereros in the German South West Africa, Lothar von Trotha announced to his troops that he would pay 1,000 mark for each rebel chief, and 5,000 for Samuel Maherero.
  • In order to stop desertion from Foreign Legionnaries left without work wince the pacification of Morocco, on 1921, Commander Maire announced to the locals that each deserter brought alive would be worth 20 francs, and that each head would be worth 100 francs; this stopped desertions.
  • The Gulag administration announced to the Siberian they could receive bounties for each head of escaped zek.
  • The Romans are said to have put a bounty on a rebel leader's head. When he came forward to give himself up and claim the reward, the Romans were supposedly so impressed they let him go.


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