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Characters / Red Dead Redemption - Protagonists

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This is a partial character sheet for Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II. Visit here for the main character index.

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    John Marston 
Has his own page here.

    Arthur Morgan 
Has his own page here.

    John "Jack" Marston, Jr.
Click here to see 12-year-old Jack  
Click here to see 16-year-old Jack  
Click here to see 19-year-old Jack 
"My name is Jack Marston - you knew my father."

Voiced by: Josh Blaylock (RDR I), Marissa Buccianti (child, RDR II) and Ted Sutherland (teen, RDR II)

"I guess there's only room for one hero in this family."

The son of John Marston and Abigail Roberts, Jack was born into an outlaw's world, staying at camp with his mother while his father went out robbing with the Van der Linde Gang. Not wanting their son to grow up the way they did and face the prospect of an early grave, John and Abigail tried their hardest to make sure he grew up educated and respectable. Unfortunately, by 1914, circumstances left him in just such a position, drifting across Mexico, the last living relic of the age of gunslingers...

  • The Aloner: Justified given that the age of outlaws is practically over by 1914, so it makes perfect sense why Jack is a traveling loner. Along with his mental health issues, losing his entire family by age nineteen didn’t help his case. Apart from the few side mission characters (who are more so acquaintances than friends), Jack is on his own for the most part.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: While it's understandable that Jack is a completely broken man by 1914, he does show strong signs of early-onset depression even back in 1907, being very insecure, and extremely withdrawn, despite his young age. However, it's unclear how much of this can be chalked up to simple depression, given that he's already spent his life constantly on the run.
  • Ambiguously Trained: How Jack Marston became as good a gunslinger as his father, John Marston in only three years is shrouded in mystery.
    • It could be implied that he did nothing but train his shooting skills for three years straight and perhaps hunted and camped in Tall Trees for long periods of time alone to hone his gunslinger skills.
    • Unfortunately, this possibility would only added more weight to Abigail’s severe depression after John’s death, as she would be constantly worried about Jack going off on his own. As such, the two would become more and more distant from one another.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You play as him after the "final" mission of I.
    Jack Marston: I ain't going nowhere , old man!
  • Anti-Hero: Where he falls on the spectrum depends on how the players plays him, though as long as he isn't killing people randomly he will stay withing this trope. However while the Stranger missions show him to be a kind person willing to help others, the fact remains that Jack is usually played as a hardened killer.
  • Arch-Enemy: It's Edgar Ross .
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Has this against Edgar Ross's threat of killing him in 1914.
    Edgar Ross: And I'll shoot you like one too you little piece of trash! Now get out of here, before I kill you as well!
  • Badass Bandolier: Inherited from his father.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's a literary scholar who wanted to be a writer. He's also an outlaw because he wanted vengeance for John's death.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do NOT insult his dead family. Whether it be directly or indirectly. Edgar Ross and determinately, Mario Alcadle, learn this the hard way.
    • Lawmen, and civilization in general is something Jack hates.
  • Best Served Cold: It takes three years, but he does avenge John's death by filling Ross with lead.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Is a man of few words, but that doesn't stop him from being able to put a bullet in someone whether he's insulted or is being paid to.
  • Book Ends: Retroactively invoked in the prequel. He kills the murderer of his father in the location when he first met him as a child: A river.
  • Bounty Hunter: Becomes one after killing Ross. As it’s one of the few ways to make Jack more money, should the player choose so.
    • Ironically, it is Sadie Adler who suggested that even a twelve year old Jack could do it, In the epilogue of II where she herself was a bounty hunter by 1907. It can be inferred that given the circumstances along with Jack’s penchant for violence and his gunslinger skills, he took Sadie’s words to heart to be a bounty hunter.
  • Break the Cutie: At the beginning of II, he's a Keet, but by the end, he's devolved into a jaded and quiet recluse.Given everything he went through as a child, it’s justified. It gets much worse during the events of I.
  • Broken Ace: Has mastered gunslinging, horse riding, hunting, survivalism and many, many more things by the tender age of nineteen, not to mention being quite book-smart. However, all the trauma of his past has caught up to him, and he's basically a depressed, lonely drifter, living a lifestyle that won't even last through the decade. Thankfully, an Easter Egg in GTA V implies and hints that Jack eventually became a writer.
  • Broken Bird: A lot of Jack's dialogue in combat remarks on how little he has left to live for. The three years since John's death have done much to erode his idealism.
  • Blood Knight: Enjoys getting into gunfights and duels. Whether it be for bounty hunting as his job, or helping others. However, it’s implied there’s a dark reasoning behind this.
  • Character Development: Of the negative kind. In 2, he starts as an optimistic and cheerful 3 or 4 year old kid. But by 1907, he is a quiet, distant, and likely depressed. His issues have only gotten worse by 1911 and by 1914, he became a gunslinger, the very thing John and Arthur didn't want him to be. Becomes more positive after the events of the story if he truly does become a writer, if a certain Easter Egg is any indication.
  • Cheerful Child: In II.
  • Childish Tooth Gap: If you use first person while conversing with Jack at II, you’ll see that he’s missing a tooth.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: If Jack is played having High Honor, it seems like he has shades of this. Helping out strangers wherever he can sounds an awful lot like his pa in 1907.
  • Cop Hater: Absolutely detests law enforcement and government agencies of any kind, for understandable reasons.
  • Composite Character: Retroactively becomes one In-Universe after II. As an adult, he has his father's looks and personalitynote  but Arthur's intelligence. Even his default outfit is a combination of the clothes John and Arthur wear; the hat, shirt and belt are John's, while the brown/beige jacket, black pants and boots - while not an exact match - seem to be based on Arthur.
  • Cruel Mercy: One way to interpret Jack's decisions should he let Edgar Ross's family live. After they guide him straight to the man himself, he kills Edgar and leaves the wife and brother to live with the loss of their loved one, just like he's had to for three years, and with the knowledge that they led Edgar's killer straight to him.
  • The Cutie: Naturally, as the only child in the Van der Linde gang.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: His father, John Marston’s death as well as the rest of his family dying including Uncle, his dog Rufus, and his mother Abigail. Additionally, the decline of Beecher’s Hope in only three years, is the reason why Jack is so cynical by 1914.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Seems to have inherited this from both his parents, to the point where some of his dialog would easily rival theirs in snarkiness. The biggest notable example is his response to Edgar Ross's wife after she tells him to be careful about the dangerous river.
    Jack: I sure will ma'am, and don't worry about a thing. I'm sure your husband will be just fine...
  • Death Seeker: Heavily implied by his dialogue in gunfights. As he will usually shout something along the lines of “Go ahead! I got nothin’ to live for!” May also be a motive as to why Jack takes revenge on Edgar Ross for killing John. If he (Jack) avenges John it will feel good, if he dies trying, at least he’ll be with his family.
    • The GTA V Easter Egg thankfully hints that he managed to find peace, despite this depression and take up writing again.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: As pointed out in Expy, Jack has all the makings of a classic Western protagonist due to being a wandering gunslinger with no friends and a tragic past. In free roam players can have Jack travel across the US and Mexico helping people and hunting criminals as a bounty hunter, further showing his similarities to characters from this genre like the Man with No Name. The deconstruction comes from the fact that players get to see exactly what could turn someone into this type of character and how unfulfilling it is, as well as how anyone choosing to be this would have to be a Death Seeker with severe depression.
  • Dramatic Irony: For all of John's effort to escape Dutch's gang and gives Jack a normal life, Jack grows up to be almost exactly like Dutch; a well-read outlaw with a very low view of the government
  • The Drifter: After the events of the game and Abigail dead, he abandoned the ranch (outside of his bedroom being a game save spot). Jack seems to do odd jobs, bounty hunting, and helping odd folks out to make money in his Drifter like lifestyle.
  • Driven to Suicide: Not by himself, but his in-game dialog makes it crystal clear that he doesn't mind if someone else manages to kill him. Not to mention he quite bluntly states he has nothing to live for. Thus, Jack would take on bounty hunting to feel alive while being shot at.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: It's implied in one side quest, “The Prohibitionist”, that he's become a very heavy drinker.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Debatebly. If one takes it as canon an Easter Egg in Grand Theft Auto V suggests that he finally got his dream of becoming a writer.
  • The Eeyore: Granted, losing your father to an unscrupulous government agent and having his mother die three years later when you're a teenager will do that to you.
  • Emo Teen: Downplayed. He comes off as an angsty teenager, but it's clearly a side-effect of his depression. Possibly best exemplified in the epilogue of II where conversations with him tend to be short and he has a tendency of staying quiet during them. He'll react more strongly if antagonised, however.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When we first meet him, he's nervous around John and basically has to be given permission to go and hug him. And when asked how he's been doing, Jack instead apologetically admits to the livestock dying or getting stolen under his watch, firmly showing him as a major "Well Done, Son" Guy despite John clearly just wanting to know if he's okay and is just happy to see him again.
    • By the time we see Jack after the time skip to 1914, he’s just finished burying his mother and putting his father’s hat on. Coupled with his angry and silent demeanor, it shows what Jack has become after losing his family. An outlaw driven by revenge.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In the epilogue, his hair has grown long and he now has a beard and goatee.
  • Expy: He looks a lot like Inigo Montoya. Now, what are both characters' motivations?
    • Characterization wise he bears similarities to Red Harlow, being a young outlaw hellbent on avenging his parent who was killed by a man of influence. Interestingly, in one mission he tells John that he read a story about "a brave man who hunts the man who killed his father". This would possibly suggest that the story of Red Harlow may have resonated with Jack after his father's death.
    • Interestingly, he's also extremely reminiscent of many classic Western protagonists, even more so than John and Arthur, a loner, drifting through the West with nobody and nothing to his name, helping those that need helping, and shooting those that need shooting. This is especially similar to Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” in the Dollars Trilogy.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Just like pa. It's implied he did nothing but train his gunslinging skills for three years.
  • Foreshadowing: Woo boy, there’s a lot.
    • Wishes to be a gunslinger at four years old. Fifteen years later and his entire family dead? Jack is a cold hearted gunslinger.
    • The above is made even worst by Abigail's response to her son's declaration, as she states he would become a gunslinger "over [her] dead body". The first time we see Jack in his gunslinger outfit, in 1914? He's standing above his mother's grave.
    • Although not said by him, Sadie says that bounty hunting is legal work and even a twelve year old Jack can do it. Seven years later, it’s Ross who is being bounty hunted by Jack, although in revenge illegally.
    • In the mission “Wolves, Dogs, and Sons” Jack playfully suggests that both he and his father would be “The most wanted men in the West!” After John’s brutal death, depending on the player, Jack can turn out to be absolutely right. Since him getting into bloodthirsty shootouts with the law are more in character to Jack than John. Commit enough mayhem, and Jack can have a bounty worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in 1914. Worst of all, wearing a bandanna negates honor loss so Jack can gleefully commit as many crimes as he wants and still have perfect honor. Most wanted man in the West indeed...
    • In that same mission, he mentions that he can teach himself how to shoot and doesn’t need his father. Guess what Jack did for three long years after John’s death...
    • In "The Last Enemy that Shall be Destroyed" he says that he'd like to see "the day where John Marston stops shooting", Jack was definitely haunted by what he said to John that day for the next three years...
    • Similarly, the exchange after has Jack telling John that airplanes can turn men into angels. Three years later, Jack helps a man construct a makeshift plane in Mexico, where it unfortunately crashes. Jack really did see that machine turn a man into “an angel” that day.
    • Jack's parents say that while they want him to lead a different life than the outlaw path they lived, they call his stories and books silly. Given that Jack was given mixed signals about his dream for all of twelve years straight, after his family died he largely gave up writing to be a gunslinger, Bounty Hunter, and a wanderer who does odd jobs for money.
    • As a four year old, Jack meets his arch-enemy Edgar Ross by a river. The Pinkerton Detective tells Jack to "enjoy his fishing, while he still can." Fifteen years later, they meet again at a river when Ross is duck hunting, only this time Jack wants revenge for Ross killing John. Ross is brutally gunned down by the man he crossed badly all those years ago. Enjoy your hunting Ross, while you still can...
  • Freudian Excuse: Murder a lawman? “You killed my Pa!”
    • Although he was too young to remember it, John disowned him and refused to believe the kid was his for Jack's few first years. While he truly loves his son, John constantly dismisses Jack's favourite hobby of reading as stupid and has a tendency of just disappearing from Jack's life for long periods of time. As a result, the two have nothing in common, and Jack seems to think that his father actively dislikes him and makes some extremely reckless, dangerous, and even outright stupid decisions in an attempt to please him... and when John angrily points out said stupidity, the rift between them just widens more.
    • While Arthur and John are calm, respectful and friendly to their horses, Jack is almost abusive, and yells at them when he thinks they aren't doing their best. However, looking at his past with them, it's actually quite understandable. In the epilogue at age 12, it's possible for him to be bucked off while John is teaching him how to ride, an experience which probably would leave a sour taste in his mouth. At age 16, a horse he was using while hunting got mauled by a bear leaving him alone and defenseless against said bear, and when John later sacrifices himself, Jack seems to believe that had his horse been faster, he and Abigail could've saved John.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Jack discreetly kills Ross in a duel as an act of vengeance for John’s death. In-universe, it can be implied that Jack realized how Ross and the Government found John after he took revenge on Micah seven years prior. As John left a massive pile of bodies to get to Micah before killing the man, that’s bound to draw attention. By simply asking for information on Ross’s whereabouts in a “kindly” way- Jack remained under the radar until he filled Ross with lead. Furthermore, Jack never told his name or a false alias to anyone before meeting Ross to duel. As such,tracking him down would be nigh-impossible which is supported by how he doesn't get a bounty.
  • Friendless Background: The first four years of his life was being raised by a gang of outlaws, then another eight years moving from place to place as his family tried to avoid the law, and while he then spent four years on the ranch it was far enough from Blackwater that it was unlikely he made any friends during that time. Then his father was killed and he apparently dedicated the next three years of his life into training so he could get revenge. While on Pronghorn Ranch there was another boy around his age, but since that was the son of the owner while Jack was the son of a employee it's unlikely they would have spent much time together.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Goes from a harmless, geeky teenager to an expert gunslinger, a survivalist and a dangerous outlaw in three years. Considering that he’s got nothing better to do with these gunslinger skills, he more than likely becomes a bounty hunter in Mexico to use them. Jack Marston went from being unable to kill a single bear at sixteen, to being fully capable enough to where his kill count can reach the dozens or hundreds.
  • Generation Xerox: He not only has his father's sharpshooting skills, but has his equipment as well. He even looks exactly like his father. He also shares a lot of personality traits and skills with Arthur, who helped raise him as if he was his biological nephew.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He got these from a bear he tried to hunt on his own.
  • Good Samaritan: A high honor Jack Marston has shades of this when he helps out strangers.
  • The Gunslinger: The last one left by 1914, and a damned good one at that.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Is very capable of kicking ass on his own. However, in-game dialogue makes it crystal clear that Jack is suffering from severe depression and heartache from losing his entire family. Additionally, there’s sheer loneliness from being completely alone in the almost completely dead Wild West.
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: In the epilogue, Jack's hair has grown rather long, becoming shoulder length and right parted. In fact, it's exactly the same hairstyle as a young John Marston’s shoulder length hair in 1899. This implies that Jack wanted to imitate his father’s 1899 appearance to better fit the criteria of a very dangerous outlaw.
  • Heroic Bastard: Technically. John and Abigail didn't officially get married until Jack was 12, so he's a bastard during the event of the second game.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • If you decide to turn Jack into a full-on desperado, there's a chance that an NPC challenges him to a duel for killing his father. If accepted, Jack'll make fun of the stranger's dead father, presumably before killing him as well.
    • If the player kills Ross's wife and brother, Jack is actually performing a worse act than Ross did. While a backstabbing prick, Ross didn't kill anyone "innocent" at Beecher's Hope, as both John and Uncle were former criminals and Abigail & Rufus died of unrelated reasons years later. By contrast, Ross's wife and brother are completely innocent.
  • Hunter Trapper: One of the only ways an High Honor Jack can make money is by selling the fur and meat of the animals he hunts. While this doesn't change his status as The Aloner and Broken Ace, if that's all a player has Jack do than it's a far better fate than becoming a bounty hunter or an outlaw as that is an occupation his parents would have been more proud of.
  • Iconic Outfit: Not as iconic as those worn by John and Arthur, but Jack wears his father's hat, a white shirt, a light brown jacket, black pants, a red bandanna, black boots and his father's gun belt.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Had dreams of being a writer, or a lawyer, having the intelligence and creativity for both, but his family's death seems to have ended any hopes and dreams he had for the future. Apparently, Zig-Zagged, if the book titled "Red Dead" by J. Marston that you can find in Grand Theft Auto V counts as canon and not just an Easter Egg.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: In the side mission “Eva in Peril”, Jack frees her from her abusive pimp, Mario Alcadle for $200. As it turns out, Mario tracked her down and murdered her in cold blood and was burying her in El Selpulcro. Jack was very angry at this for obvious reasons but there was one thing that Mario said which REALLY enraged Jack. It was him justifying his murder of Eva because she was “just a whore.” Jack took that as an indirect insult to his dead mother, Abigail Marston who was a former prostitute, which ends up being the point where all bets were off and he wanted Mario dead. Since insulting Jack’s family does not bode well with him at all.
  • Informed Flaw: In II, Abigail temporarily snaps and says she can't put up with the disgust and hatred 4 year old Jack shows her anymore. For all the player knows, however, he's the sweetest child on the face of the earth. May be a nod to how players disliked his 1911 self in the first game, and it's likely that the stress of her life had made Abigail rather angry before Jack said or did whatever set her off.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Holy shit. Jack is just as accurate and deadly as a marksman as his father and uncle Arthur were.
  • Irony: One of the random conversation between him, his mother, and Hosea in II is him wanting to be a gunslinger, which Abigail highly objects to, and John doesn't want him to Turn Out Like His Father, and Arthur explicitly, in no uncertain terms, tells him "Don't be like me". He becomes one out of his own choice later in his adult life, though depending on his honor there is bonus irony in that he can become a heroic bounty hunter who helps the law on occasion instead of an outlaw.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Jack is fairly passive as a young man, preferring to read his books, unlike his barely literate outdoorsman father, which creates a fair bit of friction between them, since neither can really relate to the other.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: After everything that happened from the events of RDRII and the first RDR, it totally makes sense.
  • Keet: As a Cheerful Child in II.
  • Knight Errant: Played straight if you save all of the Stranger missions for Jack after he kills Ross. Jack at this point is aimlessly wandering around the country without a purpose or much reason to live. However, once you take on the stranger missions it reveals that Jack is actually the same good man his father was. Sure, Jack is a hardened and lonely gunslinger at heart but he is always willing to help people with almost no complaints.
    • This becomes a Justified Trope because John wouldn’t have time to do any of the Stranger missions on his quest except for the side mission “I Know You” which is exclusive to him and "Jenny's Faith" as she would not be able to survive for three years straight in the desert by herself.
  • Last of His Kind: Last living Marston, last of the Van Der Linde gang unless you count the likes of Mary-Beth, Pearson, Charles, Sadie, Tilly, Rev. Swanson, and possibly Trelawny, who got out by Red Dead Redemption II's climax and, fitting in the game's theme of the end of the Western era, one of the few Western gunslingers left by the game's end, if not the very last one.
  • Like Father, Like Son: He couldn't be any more similar to John if he tried. That said, he actually turns out more like his Honorary Uncle Arthur than his dad, due to his high intelligence and love for books, awful self-esteem, cynical worldview, even worse temper than his father, incredible talent at every single activity he attempts, and his perpetual inability to find a purpose for living.
  • Meaningful Name: Because Jack is usually a nickname for John, he's likely named after his father, symbolizing his eventual fate of becoming an outlaw like John.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Is most likely John's child even though he doesn't like it at first. Out-of universe, people have noted that in I he bears some resemblance to the other members of the gang, such as Dutch or Javier.note  Regardless, John is considered his real dad and the games never delve into this.
  • Manipulative Bastard: And a clever one at that. In the Epilogue in 1914, he successfully manipulates a Government Agent, Ross’s own wife, and Ross’s brother to divulge the location of Edgar Ross without gaining any suspicion to himself. All under the pretense of sending him a “message”.
  • Misplaced Retribution:
    • Can kill both Ross's wife and brother, despite both being completely innocent and only related to Edgar by family - in fact, if they are killed Ross never even finds out about it, so their deaths will be for nothing.
    • John was ventilated by a whole firing squad, and while Ross did order the attack, he didn't personally fire at John. Jack still picks him as his target, possibly because he took all credit for killing the remains of Dutch's gang and whilst Ross didn’t open fire at John, the soldiers who killed him were just doing their job and Ross is the one who ordered the attack and betrayed John personally. Also see Self-Serving Memory below.
  • Morality Pet: He's one to almost everyone in the entire Van der Linde gang, even Bill.
    • When he gets abducted by the Braithwaites, the entire gang come storming the Braithwaite mansion out for blood.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: "My name is Jack Marston. You knew my father."
  • Nature vs. Nurture: Heavily implied. As a little boy, he outright stated that he wanted to be a gunslinger when he grows up. This is possibly because because his father and his uncle figures like Hosea and Arthur were gunslingers themselves and he himself has read books about gunslingers like Otis Miller and Black Belle. However, even the gunslingers he grew up being raised by wanted him to not become one himself. As such, his parents did their best to raise him properly and instilled in him the dream of becoming an author instead. When they died, he lives out this childhood dream of his against their wishes.
  • Nice Guy/Affably Evil: Jack has an honor meter like John, and any stranger mission you might complete as Jack has him acting in a mostly affable manner towards the non-playable characters, as John tends to act even with low honor.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the side mission “The Wronged Woman”, Jack helps out a woman named Clara Laguerta in Blackwater, who claims that she was seduced by her employer, Harold Thornton, and is now pregnant with his child. Thornton fired her once it was apparent that she was pregnant, and he has since become an alcoholic.
    • Jack goes to the bar and confronts Harold on this, in which he denies everything Jack said. Jack keeps insisting otherwise pissing Harold off, and Harold decides to duel the young man to the death. Naturally, it doesn’t end well for him, as Jack unloads his gun into him, killing him. So Jack gives the money off of Harold’s dead body to Clara who claims that she’s upset that it ended that way and she’ll attend his funeral.
    • A couple days later, Jack visits the cemetery where Harold’s wife, Elizabeth Thronton is mourning her husband’s death. Jack awkwardly listens to Elizabeth say that Harold was a good man and didn’t deserve to die. Furthermore, Clara attended the funeral and was laughing, meaning she used Marston to con an innocent man out of his money. Unlike Ross or Alcadle, Harold had no reason to be killed and his blood was shed over nothing. Nice one, Jack.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever the hell Jack Marston from 1911-1914 did to become as good a gunslinger as his dead father is completely shrouded in mystery. If anything, the entire three year time skip is completely elusive other than Abigail and Rufus dying at the end of that time period.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Apparently four year old Jack's actress couldn't do a southern accent.
  • One-Steve Limit: To a horse named Brown Jack. With regards to the Red Dead series as a whole, to Red Dead Revolver's Jack Swift.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His name is John Marston, Jr, but everyone calls him Jack.
  • One-Man Army: Just like his father, he is able to absolutely decimate enemies in huge numbers with frightening efficiency.
  • Outlaw: Becomes a VERY dangerous outlaw by the end of the game who can, and will kill without any question or remorse. Even to the point where his ruthless efficiency and skill could even rival that of Micah Bell, and in the first game there's no limit to the bounty he can receive. His total body count could possibly reach the HUNDREDS if a player free roams as Jack a lot. However he doesn't get a bounty for killing Ross, his brother or his wife implying that he actually gets away with it.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Kills Edgar Ross three years for using and betraying his father John to his death.
  • The Quiet One: In 1907, he doesn't talk much even if John tries to strike a conversation with him. His responses are usually short and quick, and he tends to stay quiet if you try to continue the conversation by pressing "Greet" again. By 1911, he has a more loving relationship with his parents and talks more to them. It all comes crashing down by 1914.
  • Rags to Riches: Jack starts out as a toddler in the Van der Linde gang with nothing but the clothes on his back. By 1911, he’s still presumably not that wealthy and only worked/hunted for food but likely has a small allowance at age sixteen. By 1914 however, he inherits everything in his father’s possession- including his money. Said money could be several thousand dollars worth depending on the player. Given that Jack takes up a bounty hunting job in Mexico after killing Ross, it’s safe to say that he’s financially secure with several thousand dollars and hundreds more coming in.
  • Renaissance Man: Deconstructed. At age 19, Jack has mastered the arts of hunting, gunslinging, horseback riding, outdoors survival, and just about every other thing his father mastered over the course of his decade-long career as an outlaw in three years. However, it's implied that Jack feels like he has nothing to live for, so he likely spent the entire three years doing nothing but training these things.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Before Jack avenges his father's death, he will deliver a short, but scathing line to Edgar about how he killed John "like a dog" and that he never truly gave him a second chance despite doing everything for him.
    Jack: You killed my father! (...)You killed him, I saw you! (...) You sent him to do your dirty work, then you shot him like a dog!
  • Tragic Keepsake: Inherited all of his father’s possessions after John’s death.
  • Revenge by Proxy: If the player chooses, Jack can kill Ross' wife and brother before finally finding the man himself.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Massively deconstructed. [[spoiler:Before John's death, Jack was a kindly, idealistic young man with dreams of being a writer. In the epilogue where you play as Jack, it's revealed that he's become a jaded outlaw who drifts from place to place, haunted by his past, and ultimately has very little reason to live. In short, Jack ended up becoming everything his father didn't want him to be. And just to drive it further, even if Jack does manage to get his revenge, Ross is remembered by the masses as a hero who brought some dangerous criminals to justice, John is remembered as a brutal outlaw who learned the hard way that justice is inescapable, and Jack spends the rest of his days as a depressed, wandering loner with his life completely ruined. There is no happy ending for Red Dead Redemption. However, if one takes it as canon, one can find a book titled Red Dead by J. Marston in Grand Theft Auto V, it's possible that Jack managed to find some peace and become a writer after the events of the game.
    • Even in game, to an extent, Jack at least has the side missions to keep him occupied and limited company with others. Assuming if one considers Jack doing the side missions after killing Ross canon.]]
  • Self-Serving Memory: Claims he saw Edgar Ross shoot his father. This cannot be true, as Jack was not present during John's execution and Ross only fired at John BEHIND the lawmen, instead calmly smoking a cigar while primarily his army ended John and not him personally. The newspapers that mention how Ross took credit for killing Dutch's gang may be behind this.
  • Son of a Whore: Just like his father.
  • Spoiled Brat: Abigail gets seriously fed up with 4 year old Jack's seeming ungratefulness in II, though there's little evidence of him being like this. It's not played for laughs, she really is sick to her stomach of being a mother and it's possible that Jack's lack of awareness of how difficult their life is meant he unintentionally upset her. They both grew out of it though.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: During his time as a hostage of Angelo Bronte in II Jack was treated very well by his captor, who fed him spaghetti as well as teaching him some Italian words. He naturally had a very pleasant experience and even came to refer to him as Papa Bronte, which naturally made John very uncomfortable. Thankfully, Jack seems to have completely forgotten the experience by 1907.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Just like John, Jack drowns instantly if his nose goes below water.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Once John Marston dies, he's the playable character.
  • Tagalong Kid: He grew up among the gang and is present in the prequel as a four (or three, depending on the month when he was born) year-old.
  • Teens Are Short: Downplayed. When he finally appears in I, he's taller than Abigail and the same height as Uncle, but a few inches shorter than John. However, by the time he's 19, he grew to be as tall as his father was.
  • Token Good Teammate: The only member of the Van der Linde gang to not be a criminal during the gang's heyday, though this is more of his age. By the time we see him again in 1914, Jack's become just as dangerous an outlaw as the gang his family used to run with.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Before John's death? A bookish, somewhat awkward teenager, always getting himself into trouble. After John's death? He's become a badass, just like his father, who hunts down and murders Edgar Ross in a duel as an act of vengeance. Unfortunately, this is the polar opposite of what John wanted his son to be.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: John's death and the three hard years that followed turned him from an aspiring writer into a remorseless killer. However, he can remain a good man at heart if the player so desires.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Hunting a GRIZZLY BEAR by himself after only going hunting twice in 1911 was just outright stupid. If John wasn’t there to save his ass, Jack would be bear chow. It’s implied that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, as Jack makes stupid reckless choices to earn his father’s approval. When John points out said stupidity, the rift only grows between the two.
    • By 1914 however, Jack can kill Grizzly Bears effortlessly in massive numbers to make loads of money. Within three years, Jack went from being unable to kill a bear and getting some scars as a result, to being able to kill multiple without breaking a sweat.
  • Tragic Dream: He had two different dreams that fit the critera:
    • He wishes to be an author, being raised with education by Hosea and Abigail to steer him away from being a gunslinger. But this dream was never meant to be after what happened to John, although if one takes it as canon, an Easter Egg in Grand Theft Auto V does imply he was able to move on, as Franklin owns a book named Red Dead by J. Marston.
    • One of the random conversations with Hosea and Abigail in above example is him wanting to be a gunslinger, but Abigail, Hosea, and even Arthur himself wants him to grow up normal. Due to trauma, he eventually became the thing he wished to be at four years old.
  • Tranquil Fury: His rage is boiling yet silent as he confronts Edgar Ross in the epilogue ready to avenge his father's death. In fact, he keeps his rage toward Ross under the radar from his family, talking in the usual stern but amicable way he usually does. It’s only when Ross not only mocks John’s death with zero remorse, but also insults and threatens to kill Jack too if he doesn’t shut the hell up, where Jack ultimately decides that Ross should be killed.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Has had a very tough life, from being born into and raised by a violent gang, at high risk of being killed as said gang is being tracked by law enforcement and several other factions, being abducted at one point, having a largely absent father in his early childhood, having several 'aunts' and 'uncles' either drop like flies or become Ax-Crazy, risking losing both his parents several times while as a young child, losing his younger sister to cholera, growing up mainly as he and his parents are on the run and is forced to use a pseudonym, being held hostage by the government along with his mother, experiencing the army coming down and brutally killing his father and the closest thing he's ever had to an uncle, and losing his mother three years later, thus being the only surviving Marston. It's no wonder he Took a Level in Cynic and is heavily implied to be suffering from depression.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Jack becomes a gunslinger like his father, who didn't wish for him to become one. Whether or not he is becomes an outlaw after killing Ross depends on the player though, as his shooting skills can be used solely for hunting and heroic deeds if the player chooses.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The prequel showed that he's absolutely adorable. Played with in that he's still a Nice Guy, just that he Took a Level in Cynic after the crap his family had gone through.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: In contrast to John, there isn't much that motivates Jack, outside of exacting vengeance on Ross. When he accomplishes exactly that, he goes back to his aimless career as an outlaw and wanderer. Grand Theft Auto V however implies that he was able to move on and start a normal life as a writer, although it's canon status is debatable.
  • Vigilante Man: Seems to be a primary character trait of Jack by 1914. A skilled warrior who travels and wanders the land helping out either strangers or defending himself using any means necessary.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Because of the age dissonance mentioned under Younger than They Look, his high-pitched voice feels a bit off - the voice suitable for 16/19-year boy sounds odd when he looks like he's in his thirties.
  • Walk the Earth: His fate after the end of the first Red Dead Redemption is implied to be this. Being alone, Jack would spend lots of time riding around the wilderness with nothing better to do.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: It’s implied silently by Jack after killing Edgar Ross in 1914. After killing the man, Jack looks down at his father’s gun and Ross’s dead body in an almost questioning way- but has a silent realization. While he avenged his father's death, he has become an outlaw gunslinger driven by vengeance. Something that his family didn’t want him to be.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: He constantly tries to emulate and impress John as a way of getting his attention or so he could stay home. Even when he was four, his bio even outright states that one of his biggest wishes in life is to spend more time with his father.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Jack becoming a wandering gunslinger, a bounty hunter, and staying in Mexico a little while to avoid arrest for Ross’s murder is the general consensus among players, the rest of Jack’s life is left elusive. Essentially to the point that players have lots of theories and speculation on the matter as it is open to interpretation.
    • Although, the “Red Dead Redemption” book Easter Egg in GTAV seems to hint that Jack ended up as a writer in the end.
  • You Killed My Father: So he kills Ross back. And if the player wants, his wife and brother as well.
  • Young Gun: When he's sixteen he fights with his father against the US Army, and he's only nineteen when he becomes a playable character.
  • Younger than They Look: After the Time Skip, no one can tell he's nineteen – in fact, he doesn't look a day under thirty. Gameplay-wise, this is due to the devs reusing John's character model and modifying his face to look somewhat different. In-story, it's to show how much his father being killed and his mother dying from sickness have taken their toll on him, not to mention his lifestyle as a drifter under the harsh sun of New Austin, West Elizabeth and northern Mexico.

    Red Dead Online protagonist

"I know you're innocent... Well, not perhaps exactly innocent, but not guilty of what you were accused."
Jessica LeClerk

Some time in the 1890s, Phillip LeClerk was shot and killed by agents of a criminal conspiracy in Blackwater. Looking for a convenient patsy for their assassination, the conspirators found one in the form of a quiet, mysterious drifter that had come into town not long before. Their associates shot dead by the law, this drifter would spend six months working a chain gang, waiting to be hanged - only to be rescued by Phillip's widow, Jessica. Her only request? Help her find the men who ordered her husband's death, and put them in the ground...

  • Action Girl: If you're a high honor female.
  • Bounty Hunter: Can become one if the player so chooses as part of the Frontier Pursuit update. As the bounty hunter, the player can either bring in the criminals dead or alive with corresponding changes in honor.
  • Cool Old Guy: A High Honor player can be this since the protagonist can be 60 years old if they desire.
  • Dark Action Girl: If you're a low honor female.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The male protagonist is approximately 6'3" and the female protagonist is about 5'9". Despite these heights being above average by nowadays standards (let alone the late 19th century), the protagonist is still about the same height as other characters.
  • Heroic Mime: They won't talk to anyone and the Dialogue Tree from single player is replaced by emotes. However, they make small noises, mumbles and yells when controlling their horse, although none of them are actual words.
  • Hillbilly Moonshiner: They can become the owner of a moonshining business if the player so chooses.
  • Hired Guns: Act as Mrs. LeClerk's henchman at the start of the game. In addition, they also frequently sell their service to various interested parties, which is the basis for the Stranger missions.
  • Hunter Trapper: Can become one as the trader role if the player so chooses. They have to hunt animal carcasses and bring in tanning equipment so their business partner Cripps can make sellable products out of them.
  • Mysterious Past: The only backstory the player learns is why they were in prison and that they were considered suspicious due to prior criminal acts alongside their status as The Quiet One. No other details are given such as how they got so good with firearms or what their criminal past is.
  • Not Me This Time: Part of the reason why they make for such a good scapegoat is that they are already on the wrong side of the law before the events of the game. However, they are not responsible for the murder of Philips.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: There are no gameplay differences between male and female players. They all have the same health, stamina, and dead eyes stat. The only differences are in clothing, hairstyles and emotes.
  • The Quiet One: Is canonically a person of very few words. Multiple characters comment on their quietness and it's a plot point that they got arrested for keeping to themselves too much around the time of Phillip's murder. They do try to speak during one stranger encounter, but get interrupted before they can get the word out.
  • Scapegoat: The protagonist was arrested for a murder they did not commit, and are tasked to bring down the real culprits by any means necessary.
  • Young Gun: They can be as young as 18 years old, not unlike a certain famous outlaw from the Old West.