Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game

When I first heard of Red Dead Redemption, I immediately thought this would be one of those western games that are bland and emotionless. Then, I finished the first game and was I ever wrong. 


It was only a matter of time after Red Dead Redemption was released that I decided to delve deeper into the story of how our protagonist John Marston came to be the charismatic anti-hero.

It's been several years since I've played both games, but the Red Dead Redemption series is one of the most memorable games of all time. Check out what the story is all about and how you can play the game with my guide below.

  • An Anti Hero Is Born
  • The Hunt For Williamson
  • The Hunt Continues
  • Playing Red Dead Redemption
  • Light The Sky With Your Name
  • Explore The Barren Western
  • Use The Best Weapons Available
Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game
Image Source: Game Rant

An Anti Hero Is Born

Red Dead Redemption starts in 1911 when our protagonist John Marston, who is a former outlaw, has his family abducted by corrupt government officials who want to get rid of the criminals in the region for their benefit. 

He is then tasked to bring his former criminal cohorts to justice - dead or alive.

And while many might think that Marston would be torn by this decision, he leaves for the mission immediately as he has some score to settle with his old buddies after leaving him for dead a few years ago.

The Past Comes Back

The game starts twelve years after the second Red Dead Redemption game, which is a prequel to the original game. Marston is tasked to kill Bill Williamson, Javier Escuella, and Dutch van der Linde with whom he has a more compelling relationship. 

It was later discovered that John was Dutch's second-in-command and his former boss. This is what makes the game so compelling to me. It feels like watching a movie altogether with the past coming back to haunt him.

The Hunt For Williamson

Now, Marston was able to track down Williamson in Fort Mercer but made the mistake of doing it alone. He was shot in the stomach and once again left for dead. Fortunately, he is rescued by Bonnie McFarlane, who treats him, and in return, he does a few jobs on her ranch. 

Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game
Image Source: Digital Trends

He soon heals up and continues on his quest to bring his former colleagues to justice. This time, he meets some of the most colorful Western characters that I've ever met with con artist Nigel West Dickens, arms smuggler who goes by the name Irish, and treasure hunter Seth Briars. 

Together, they infiltrate Fort Mercer in an attempt to bring down Williamson, only to find out that he has fled to Mexico to seek shelter from Javier Escuella, who is also his target.

The Road To Mexico

It is at this moment that we are treated to one of the best scenes in the game. After parting ways with these allies, we then follow John as he travels across the Western landscape in the sunset to the tune of Far Away by Jose Gonzales. 

Upon his arrival to Mexico, John gets embroiled in a civil war where he plays the role of a mitigator for both sides. He later finds out that Colonel Agustin Allende has been protecting Escuella and Williamson. 

John joins the rebels and assists Abraham Reyes, their leader, in an all-out assault where he finally kills Escuella and Williamson.

The Hunt Continues

John heads back to the US and is joined by Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham, who were the officials that abducted his wife and son

Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game
Image Source: Games Radar

They later discover that Dutch has been hiding in the mountains together with the disgruntled Native Americans. 

In an attempt to bring Dutch to justice, John was able to corner his former leader, but Dutch tells him that Ross and Fordham will always be a thorn in his side before he committed suicide.

Left For Dead

Finally, John gets his family back but is later attacked by Ross and Fordham, killing a close friend and former colleague named Uncle. 

John lets his family escape while he remains to confront Ross, only to be shot. Years later, we see John burying his wife, and he was finally able to exact revenge on Ross by killing him.

Playing Red Dead Redemption

I know the game's storyline can be quite gripping, but the only way to progress in the game is by playing it. Playing Red Dead Redemption is far more intricate than the story I've just shared with you. 

Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game
Image Source: USgamer

What makes gameplay more complex is the Fame and Honor feature, the combat system, the large map, and many other mechanics you need to know before you start playing. 

Here are some of the things that you need to do to play Red Dead Redemption better.

Main Missions And Side Quests

The game's main storyline also serves as its main mission, and while the bulk of the game is more about the main missions, there are also a few side quests that players can complete. 

I find taking on side quests as a way of taking a break from the seriousness of the main storyline. Apart from side quests, there are also challenges and tasks that I can do. 

These tasks expand on the Red Dead Redemption experience, and I suggest taking on all of these tasks to fully enjoy the game.

Light The Sky With Your Name

One of the most defining features of Red Dead Redemption is the Fame and Honor system. These are the two most important statistics in the game that every player should know. 

Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game
Image Source: GameSpot

Fame can be acquired by finishing different missions and side quests that will bring more fame and notoriety to the main character. 

As your fame increases, so do your popularity, so more people will recognize you in many different areas.

Be A Man Of Honor Or An Honorless Man

Honor, on the other hand, is far more intricate and complex. Honor is all about the decisions you make in this game apart from the actions that you do. Honor acts pretty much like a morality system in the game. 

When you save people or avoid killing a target, your honor increases; however, your honor decreases if you decide to kill people in cold blood. All of these will impact the way you play the game and the overall experience. 

The actions and choices I make in Red Dead Redemption will always leave a mark, so I always suggest planning who you want to be in this game.

Explore The Barren Western

The West is a vast barren land that needs to be explored. Whenever I don't have side quests to do or if I'm tired of the main mission, I usually hop onto my trusted horse and speed away into the horizon. 

Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game
Image Source: CG Magazine

Imagine playing the game with an amazing backdrop and just let the experience sink in. That's what Red Dead Redemption is all about. 

Trust And Treat Your Steed Right

One thing that I immediately noticed in playing the game is that my horse is everything. It is my best friend, and best friends treat each other right. There would be no way to travel around the different locales without my trusted steed in this game. 

There are plenty of horses that I can capture and ride in the game; however, it all boils down to how you treat your horse. They'll be much easier to ride and willing to do everything that you want them to do when you treat them with respect. 

Much like in real life, you need to be one with your horse if you want to survive out there in the wilderness.

Use The Best Weapons Available

As I go through the game, I can pick up and choose different weapons; however, I can only equip one type of weapon at a time. This means that I need to choose the best weapons available. 

Red Dead Redemption - Learn The Story Behind The Game
Image Source: Polygon

There's a lot of variety when it comes to weapons. I start with revolvers, but there are more weapons to choose from aside from the common revolver. 

Try them out and see which ones appeal to you the most and see which ones are effective at taking down enemies.

Save As Often As Possible

Red Dead Redemption has an automatic save feature, but it is still very wise for players to save before going into crucial parts of the game. 

I tend to save on two separate occasions so that I can always choose which ones I want to go back to in case something goes wrong.


Now that you've finally caught up with the story behind Red Dead Redemption, it's even more compelling as you try to connect it with the second game as it heads back to a time when these characters were working together and discovering how their relationships develop. 

All in all, Red Dead Redemption is all about the characters, and the game has successfully created characters that we can root for.