Dale Horvath is fictional character from the comic book series The Walking Dead and the American television series of the same name. The character's death in the latter half of the second season of the show marks a significant departure from the comics, where Dale lasted much longer.
Dale is first introduced as one of the survivors located in the camp that Lori and Carl Grimes are staying which is located on the outskirts of Atlanta, and is also the owner of the camp RV. Dale at first seems pleasant but reveals to Rick that he is suspicious of Shane, and he suspects that something is going on between Lori and Shane, which Rick ignores, under the impression that Dale is just being superstitious. Later he saves Donna from being bitten by a roamer, beheading the Zombie, and revealing that even beheading a Zombie does not fully kill them. Later one night during dinner, Rick proceeds to ask the group about their lives, to which Dale reveals that he was a car salesman who retired and set out with his wife across America for two years prior to the Zombie outbreak which resulted in the death of his wife. It was during his trip to Atlanta for safety that he picked up the twins Andrea and Amy. The discussion is interrupted when zombies attack the camp, which results in the death of Amy. Andrea went into grieving for her sister and Dale comforted her. After Shane’s death, Dale reveals that he knew all along that something was up, and that he was one of the few prior to Rick's arrival that wanted to relocate. Shane refused and Dale only followed due to Shane being "the law." After burying Shane, the survivors set off in Dale’s RV away from Atlanta in an attempt to find somewhere safe. On the way they run across Tyreese and his family while trying to move a car off the road for the RV to pass, the next night Lori reveals to the camp that she is pregnant, which alarms Dale, who suspects the child may be Shane’s, only to be quietened by Rick who suspects the same, but doesn’t want to think that way at that moment. After this they once again set off and end up at an estate that appears to be secure and safe, that same night Donna stumbles upon Dale and Andrea having sex.
The survivors remain on the move until Carl is accidentally shot by Otis, and they end up on Hershel’s farm, under the impression they are able to stay there for as long as possible. During their stay Dale attempts to convince Andrea that he has accepted his wife's death and wants to devote his time to her from here on out. After being forced off the farm, Dale and Andrea discover a prison.
Once the survivors reach the prison, Dale is assigned to various tasks, from patrolling the area to working on repairing the fences. After the apprehension of Dexter, who is suspected of murdering Susie and Rachel Greene, Dale begins to think that Andrea will not love him due to his age; however Andrea reassures him that she will always want to be with him. Dale patches up both Andrea and Rick after minor incidents, reassuring Andrea that even if she is scared, she will look pretty. Later Dale begins to fear that someone else might discover the prison, and try to take it from them, and begins to contemplate whether to stay, or leave, with Andrea stating that she would go where he goes. Dale begins to swap his old camper outfit for prison overalls like the other survivors, and assists Rick in searching blocks, and discovers the prison generator. Dale later begins to watch over everybody, including Allen’s children Ben and Billy while their father is in a coma. After witnessing various dramatic situations unfold within the group, Dale forms a committee of leadership with Tyreese and Hershel, as they disempower Rick, Dale and Andrea eventually become adopted parents of Donna and Allen’s orphaned children, Billy and Ben.
It is during this time that Lori goes into labor, and to keep the generator going, Dale along with Billy Greene set out into the car park in order to refuel the generator, however it is during this that Dale is bitten by a Zombie, and is only narrowly rescued by the arrival of the raid party who quickly take Dale back into the prison in order to have his leg amputated so that he does not turn. Thankfully the leg is amputated correctly and Dale is saved, however as a result, loses his right leg. As peace and stability return to the prison Dale begins to suspect that Andrea is falling for Tyreese due to his youthful age and the ability to use his right leg. His missing leg is replaced by a wooden peg. thanks to Andrea and Tyreese, and after asking Tyreese to leave them be, informs Andrea she doesn’t need to be with Dale anymore and that she may be with Tyreese, in which she replies and ensures Dale that she will always love him. Later that day the peace ends with the arrival of the Governor, and the townsmen of Woodbury. Dale and Andrea swore to protect the twins, no matter what. During the attack Dale nurses a wounded Andrea and makes the decision to temporarily move out of the prison in order to protect Billy and Ben, while being accompanied by Glenn and Maggie.
Dale, Andrea, Maggie, Glenn, Andrea, Sophia and the twins Billy and Ben relocate to Hershel’s farm, where Dale intends to stay for the rest of his life in peace. His distrust of Rick is at its peak. The arrival of three strangers, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene, prompts him to follow them in hope of reaching Washington DC. Unfortunately, tragedy struck once again when Ben murders Billy and Carl shoots Ben in retaliation. Distracted by the pain, Dale left his guard down during a zombie attack and was bitten. He hid his wound to protect Andrea from further pain. When the night came, he left the van and disappeared into the forest, being abducted by the mysterious Hunters. When Dale woke up, Chris introduced himself and told Dale that they were eating him piece by piece. However, Dale would have the last laugh, as was already infected and hoped to spread the disease to the Hunters. Furious, the Hunters beat him up and tried to induce vomiting. They then left his unconscious body in front of Gabriel's church to use him as a bait. Dale was carried into the church by the other survivors, where he eventually died. Andrea shot him in the head to prevent him from turning. The survivors later burned his corpse in front of the church.