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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
"Every man has a right to change, a chance of forgiveness."
Click here to see him in Red Dead Redemption 
Voiced by: Rob Wiethoff

"People don't forget. Nothing gets forgiven."

An orphan of Scottish descent, John Marston ran away at a young age to live on his own, soon finding himself in the company of Dutch van der Linde. Raised like a son by the outlaw and his growing gang, John was a loyal follower for many years, until rising tensions and a job gone wrong saw him left for dead by his so-called family. Embittered by the betrayal and looking for a second chance, he married his sweetheart Abigail and settled down as a rancher with their son, Jack - until one day, a group of government agents came to him with an ultimatum...

  • The Ace: He’s an extremely accomplished gunslinger and horse rider who is basically a One-Man Army who can cut down swathes of gangs, lawmen and even the Mexican army. There’s a reason why Ross wanted him to hunt down the rest of the Van der Linde Gang because he’s the right man for the job.
  • Action Dad: John's defining trait is his devotion to his family. The very reason he's going on a long, violent quest across New Austin, Nuevo Paraiso, and West Elizabeth to hunt down his former gang? The BOI has them trapped in a Gilded Cage and he wants to set them free.
  • All for Nothing: How he ultimately views his time as an outlaw in the Van der Linde gang by I. When Javier Escuella asks if the lives they lived together meant nothing to him, he responds with saying that all they did was make excuses for robbing and killing people.
  • Amazon Chaser: Abigail used to ride with their gang and is even more of a verbal badass than John is. She's also the one who kills Agent Milton in the prequel.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Is the playable character in II's epilogue.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Has some harsh words for Jack after saving him in "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child". Considering that the kid tried to hunt and take down a grizzly bear by himself, it's quite justified.
  • Anti-Hero: John is an Anti-Hero no matter how you play him, but the Karma Meter makes it somewhat difficult to ascertain exactly what Anti-Hero he is. A player who does consistently good deeds, along with Marston's willingness to help people in need and motivation for the main story to make him more of a Knight In Sour Armor or a light Good Is Not Nice Pragmatic Hero. A particularly nasty player can make him a Pay Evil unto Evil Unscrupulous Hero or even a Villain Protagonist.
  • The Atoner: It's right there in the title. He hunts down the remainder of his former gang members as means of atonement for his time as an outlaw and keep his future safe.
  • Back from the Dead: A non-canon example. In Undead Nightmare, John returns to the world as a zombie.
  • Badass Bandolier: Not at first, but you can get one. It's more than just cosmetic; purchasing it allows him to carry more ammunition.
  • Badass Baritone: His voice is somewhat deep and very, very raspy in I. In II, however, his younger self kinda sounds like a Western version of Yamcha from Dragon Ball Z.
  • Badass Beard: He has a noticeable neckbeard, in the best way possible. Upon becoming the playable character in II, his beard can be grown out as much as the player sees fit.
  • Badass Boast: "You'll be the first to know when I kill you, I promise."
  • Badass Cape: The poncho outfit, which is a Shout-Out to The Man with No Name's outfit in The Dollars Trilogy.
  • Badass Longcoat: Quite a few of his outfits.
  • Bad Liar: If the player takes their time when they find Dutch on his base in I, his response to John telling him the place is surrounded is to mention how John was always a bad liar. In the prequel, we see how bad he is at it. Agent Milton instantly sees through the "Rip Van Winkle" alias when asked for a name (though it’s ambiguous if it was merely a snide remark on his part or not), and in II's epilogue John's lack of knowledge about everyday farm stuff and his skill with guns and horses speak much louder than his sob story about losing her wife's family inheritance to her brother - and it would've helped if he could at least remember the fake name he's supposed to be giving.
  • Barbarian Longhair: John is almost always seen with collar or shoulder-length hair.
  • Berserk Button: A lot, due to his anger issues.
    • Don’t even think about harming his family. If it wasn’t for them being held captive, John would’ve put a bullet in Ross' forehead. In the prequel, he's barely holding off his anger when he finds out that Jack got kidnapped and stops at nothing to get him back.
    • Don’t mistreat his friends. If Arthur antagonizes too many people at camp, he will approach Arthur and knock him flat in one punch.
    • Don’t intrude him. He will get annoyed when Arthur follows him too close around camp and/or stares at him for too long. Stay in his room for too long at Shady Belle and he’ll shove you out of it.
    • Don’t let him catch you loafing about. He constantly shouts at or even outright kicks Uncle every time when he sees him sleeping on the job. One instance, he outright kicks him in the lower back (where his so-called "terminal illness" was but it is actually just back pain) when he catches him sleeping.
  • Book Dumb: He never got a proper education, but is a fast learner, quickly mastering ranching tasks under Tom Dickens' and Bonnie's tutelage. In II, Arthur calls him dull and it's slowly revealed that John has few skills beyond shooting.
  • Bounty Hunter: In Red Dead Redemption, he's been tasked by the Bureau Of Investigation to track down Bill, Javier, and Dutch, though in more of a Boxed Crook way than for money. In Red Dead Redemption II, Sadie takes him bounty hunting with her to help him earn money in order to pay off his mortgage on the ranch. In both games, he can also take individual bounties in order to earn money.
  • Broken Pedestal: He used to be supremely loyal to Dutch. However, his faith is shaken when Dutch supposedly abandons him during the botched Saint Denis bank heist, and is shattered when Dutch definitely abandons him when he's shot during the raid on the army train. Even in the epilogue years later, John’s viewpoint of Dutch had changed dramatically.
  • Butt-Monkey: He gets insults hurled at him by every possible chance by both Abigail and Arthur. When you first find him, he gets attacked by a wolf and his horse is dead, then after Arthur rescues him, the first thing Abigail does is insult him.
  • Character Development: Actually undergoes this in the prequel, where his character is a sharp contrast from the John Marston we knew. Initially, John started off as a rather hot-headed and often apathetic towards his family, even leaving the gang for a whole year. However, as time passes, he starts to take his role as a father much more seriously after Jack's kidnapping and tries to spend more time with his family. It's probably best shown in their living arrangements, in the first couple of chapters Abigail and Jack sleep separately from John on the ground while he sleeps on a cot in a pretty big tent. By the end of the main story, they're all sleeping in the same area and Abigail sleeps in the bed while John sleeps on the floor. In the epilogue, John still retains his hot-headedness, which makes him struggle in trading his outlaw life for a one of normalcy, as he often tries to solve problems with violence. It's only after Abigail and Jack leave him does he mature more and more, realising that he will always be a danger to his family if he doesn't change.
  • Chick Magnet: Bonnie MacFarlane is implied to have a crush on him, Mr. Geddes' wife also tried to invite him over in an attempt to cheat on her husband, and many prostitutes go over to him when he enters a bar. Abigail is real lucky to have been the one John fell in love with. Arthur even lampshades it at one point.
    Arthur: "Little Johnny Marston. So popular with the ladies."
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Should the player feel so thus inclined in the Stranger missions. According to Abigail in the epilogue of II, John has a bad habit of taking up his guns in defense of others, thus blowing his cover as a civilian and forcing the Marstons to constantly be on the move.
  • Cowboy: Not particularly at first, but during the game you pick up a lot of cowboy skills. Justified, since it’s been years since he was a gunslinger and he’s gotten rusty.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His prostitute mother died during childbirth, his father was an alcoholic who died when John was a young kid, forcing him to live as a street urchin, eventually getting caught stealing and nearly getting hanged as a young teenager before Dutch found him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It helps him keep his sanity with all the nutcases he encounters.
  • Death Equals Redemption: In his final stand with Edgar Ross, it's implied that John knows that he won't make it out alive. With a bloody ledger marked both by his time as an outlaw and as Ross's lackey, John saw that as long as he's alive, his family will never have a peaceful life. Thus, he willingly gives up his life in hopes that both he and, more importantly, his family would be redeemed of his past crimes.
  • Determinator: This picture pretty much sums it up. He fights countless crooks, bandits and even a Mexican army, all to save his own family.
    • Taken to Eleven in the prequel. One of the game's first missions is rescuing Marston after he doesn't come back from scouting: you find out his horse was eaten, he got mauled by wolves and was stranded in a blizzard for two days with no food. All after getting shot escaping Blackwater with the gang. Over the course of the game he gets held hostage, thrown in jail and shot again during the last train robbery. John Marston, simply put, is one tough son-of-a-bitch. Lampshaded by Marston himself.
      Marston: "Arthur always says I'm lucky!"
  • Disappeared Dad: Before he was the textbook example of a Papa Wolf, he straight up abandoned his family for an entire year since he believed Jack wasn't his son. And even when he did come back, he was a godawful deadbeat dad for about 15 more years.
  • Disney Death: Although those who played Redemption 1 know that he survives, after he is shot and falls off from the train during the gang's final robbery, Dutch claims that John didn't make it. He later returns to the camp, proving how far Dutch has fallen from the man who looked after his own.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He'll sometimes dish these out to demonstrate his Hair-Trigger Temper. The first thing he does when he steps foot in Mexico is kill three random people for taking his hat (though to be fair, they were harassing him a fair bit even after he tried to reason with them).
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Dies in a shootout with an Army contingent manned by Ross all by himself, to give his family time to escape.
  • Everyone Has Standards/Even Evil Has Standards: He may be an Anti-Hero and a former outlaw, but even he has limits that he wouldn’t cross.
    • When ordered to burn down a village by De Santa, Marston is clearly against the idea but is forced to go along with it to maintain the support of the Mexican army. Afterward, he's pretty disgusted at himself while everyone else is happily pillaging. On top of that, and his disgust with all the other colorful characters he meets, no matter how much of a murderous douche you play him as, as this comic lampshades, he'll never cheat on his wife.
    • In the prequel, he's disturbed by the way Dutch kills Angelo Bronte by drowning the man and feeding his body to an alligator. He later elaborates to Arthur he's shedding no tears for the man, suggesting further he's either disturbed at the brutality of the method or Dutch's growing unpredictability.
    • Even in his days as an outlaw and a negligent father and husband, he still has scruples that he never breaks. While leading a small portion of the gang in a train robbery, he tells his teammates to not kill any of the innocent passengers inside. Likewise, he’s annoyed if Arthur snipes one of the shepherds he was trying to steal sheep off of, asking him if that was necessary.
    • Like Arthur, he's downright disgusted by the revelation that Jeremiah Compson was a former slave trader.
  • Experienced Protagonist: John Marston was a bandit and gunslinger long before the start of the first game, so he is an adept outdoorsman, capable rider and knows his way around a shootout, though he has gotten rusty. He is a crackshot and brawler who is familiar with explosives and no stranger to all manner of theft and violence. He's fairly well-educated to boot, considering his lot in life and the era he lives in.
  • Expy: Played with, as he resembles Red Harlow physically but not in personality.
  • Extreme Doormat: He's no pushover, but John is often subjected to verbal abuse, insane rants, manipulation, and unfair transactions, concerning his missioms for important NPCs. He suffers stoically because he needs to earn their favor in order to track his targets. This is best characterized in Nuevo Paraiso, where he works for both the detestable, inhumane Allende and the obnoxious, insufferable Reyes. The Mexican army missions are immoral and occasionally even obvious setups, while the rebel jobs tend to pit John against the entire army while Reyes takes all the credit for John's heroics. Both men string John along, forever promising information that never seems to come because they know he will leave Mexico as soon as he has his men and they will be deprived of their best agent.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Can be this, thanks to his Dead Eye skill.
  • Fatal Flaw: His Hair-Trigger Temper and Chronic Hero Syndrome combined. In ‘’II’’, Abigail says that these two traits make it hard for the Marston family to settle down to have a normal life, as John will often resort to violence which ends up attracting attention to themselves and forces them to move again and again.
  • Flanderization: His inability to swim in the first game was clearly to explain the Super Drowning Skills stopping players from exploring areas players weren't meant to reach (yet). In II, not only is he incapable of swimming, it's implied he's afraid of water.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: A source of friction early on in II between him and Arthur was when he left the gang for a whole year and abandoned Abigail with baby Jack. While most of the gang forgave John, it took some time for Arthur to let bygones be bygones.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: To prevent the player from going outside the map, John dies instantly (or near instantly in II) when he goes too deep in water. In-universe, John just never learned how to swim.
  • Good Parent: To Jack. He's caring, stern, and tries to set him on the right path.
    • II reveals he was actually an awful father to Jack at first. It took him getting kidnapped for his inner Papa Wolf to emerge. And even then, he's still really bad at parenting Jack for about a whole decade. But he at least tries. It isn't until the final stretch of I where he truly becomes a good parent.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: While he can be good or evil depending on how you play, he sure didn't get them "falling over in church", as he puts it. II reveals that he got them in 1899 from a wolf attack.
  • Guns Akimbo: In the epilogue of ‘‘II’’, he can dual wield sidearms.
  • The Gunslinger: Deadeye lets him make pinpoint shots at a rapid pace.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: One of his biggest flaws. He doesn't resort to violence as a first resort, and generally prefers to reason with or intimidate people, but if pushed too far he won't hesitate to ice you. A band of three Mexican hoodlums who swiped his hat and relentlessly harassed him found out the hard way.
    • The prequel establishes that the restraint he shows in I is something he patiently and painstakingly trained for the sake of his family, ever since Abigail left him for three months because of one heroic shootout too many.
  • Handicapped Badass: There are several hints (later confirmed in II) that point to John being nearly blind in his left eye. He's still quite a sharpshooter, however. He even quips, "Looks like I got my eye back" once you killed a few people in Dead Eye mode. Hell, if it wasn’t for that eye he’d be a better gunslinger than Arthur.
  • Happily Married: He absolutely adores his wife. In contrast to every other Rockstar protagonist out there, he turns down every other woman's advances without hesitation, always remaining faithful to her.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He'll assist any side that helps him get the men he wants, especially in Mexico where he’ll side with both the Army and the revolutionaries for his own ends. Nonetheless, he openly disapproves of the brutality that both sides engage in.
  • Hero Protagonist/Villain Protagonist: A fully filled karma meter on the good side will give you the title of “hero", while a fully filled karma meter on the bad side will give you the title “desperado".
  • Heroic Neutral: Just wants to be left alone with his family. This particularly comes up in the Mexico arc, in which he repeatedly asserts that he's not interested in politics, works with whomever he thinks will best help him get to Williamson and Escuella, and repeatedly expresses cynicism about both sides. This makes him the subject of several a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from many of the participants who have chosen a particular position. But his cynicism ultimately proves well-founded, since when the rebels finally take over they turn out to be just as bad as the government they replace.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He allows the government to kill him, so his wife and son can live the rest of their lives in peace. But he doesn't go down without taking a few with him.
    • Face Death with Dignity: Once Uncle kicks it, he knows he isn't getting off the ranch alive, and even if he did he and his family would be hunted down until he's dead. So he sends them away, looks through the barn doors to see what exactly is waiting for him, and tries to take at least a few down before going down himself.
    • Taking You with Me/Do Not Go Gentle: Knowing that he is going to die and has to die for his family, Marston is damn well not going down alone.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Has this dynamic with Arthur. In spite of the vitriolic bickering they constantly throw at each other, they always have each other's backs no matter what. It reaches the point to where everyone turns on Arthur, John still has his back till the very end and is one of the most incredibly affected by his death, to the point where he tracks down his Arch-Enemy and kills him.
  • Honor Before Reason: Goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Micah with Sadie and Charles to avenge Arthur despite knowing that if Micah dies, it will bring attention, but given everything Micah did, you can hardly blame him.
  • Immigrant Parents: He’s actually half-Scottish as his father was a Scottish immigrant.
  • Instant Expert: Despite having zero experience in ranching, he’s able to pick it up pretty quickly while working on the Geddes’ ranch.
  • I Owe You My Life: He develops this attitude towards Arthur, who allowed him to escape the outlaw life, to the point he risks blowing his cover to avenge him by going after Micah Bell.
  • It's Personal: He develops this towards Micah Bell not only for ruining the gang that was his family, but to avenge Arthur.
    • Averted in I. John makes it clear that he takes no joy in hunting down Bill, Javier, and Dutch, only doing so because of the federal government's coercion. He tells Javier as much after capturing him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the epilogue of ''II', when John tells Abagail that Jack witnessed a shootout and she yells at him, he points out it was literally no other choice. Regardless of how you try to handle the situation, it will end with John shooting the three.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: In the prequel. Observing him around camp and playing through the epilogue will show John slowly evolving from a boorish and nasty desperado to a responsible and considerate gentleman.
  • Karma Houdini: Ross considers him to be one of these, to the point that he kills him.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Reyes even calls him a romantic trying to be a cynic.
  • Last Stand: Mows down a full army of bad guys before finally meeting his end, all to save his family.
  • Lean and Mean: He has a significantly skinnier frame and build compared to Arthur, but it doesn't make him any less effective in close quarters combat. His time on Pronghorn Ranch demonstrates that he is absolutely vicious in a fist fight for a man of his size. After Anthony Foreman is captured in the epilogue for a bounty, he initially mistakes John for Arthur, but realizes his mistake and notes that the latter was "bigger".
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He's considered attractive both In-Universe and out, and judging by his appearance in both games, likes growing his hair out. In fact, the only time he's seen with short hair is in the epilogue of ''II' when he's trying to keep a low profile. (And if the player decides to cut it)
  • Made of Iron: The guy survived being mutilated by wolves, brutally mauled by a grizzly bear, getting shot by a sniper and subsequently falling down a train, and managed to take a repeater shot to the gut. Even when he gets killed by a hail of bullets, the fact that he was still standing for 40 more seconds before giving in just speaks volumes of how one tough son of a bitch he is.
  • Meaningful Name: A john is a hooker's client, and his wife Abigail was a hooker before she conceived Jack.
  • Mr. Fanservice: His facial scars do nothing to convince anyone otherwise. The epilogue of II even has him shirtless while building the Marston ranch. Arthur can tease him over this.
    Arthur: "Little Johnny Marston. So popular with the ladies."
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Characters in Redemption 1 mention both a ferry and a bank job when discussing John's past as an outlaw, implying it was either of these robberies where John got shot and left to die. While both happen in II, (and John got injured during the former and arrested during the latter) it was actually an attempted robbery of an army train. He got shot in the arm and fell off. It also goes unmentioned in 1 that he still confronted the gang later to chew out Dutch for leaving him to die.
  • Nature Lover: During II he can wax poetic to Jack about how much he loves the great outdoors.
    Marston: "Pretty countryside, ain't it? The grass and the light...there's a lot of ugly in this world, but there sure as hell is a lot of beauty. You'll see it better when you get older. It's tough at your age. and light, but to me? It's life. I can't explain it."
  • Never Live It Down:
    • In-universe. His former gang members love to bring up that Abigail, his wife, was the gang's resident prostitute. John himself doesn't care.
    • Another one is the fact that he can't swim, something that the rest of the gang pick on him for.

      Arthur: "Just go play with the kid. Teach him how to swim...oh wait, you can’t."
    • Some members of the gang, especially Arthur and Micah, like to remind John he was nearly wolf food.

      Herr Strauss: (screaming in pain from a bullet wound)
      John: "It's just a scratch, shut up!"
      Arthur: "You can talk. We all heard you whine about a little knick from a wolf."
  • Nice Guy/Affably Evil: Generally tries to be cooperative with those he's working with and displays a large amount of restraint and patience, not to mention being a very loving father and husband.
    • Beware the Nice Ones: Despite this, he does have his limits and will not hesitate to threaten those he feels aren't holding up their side of the bargain.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • You feel doing all of those good deeds and side stories, don't you? Ross says Hello. John Marston is quite possibly the Trope Codifier. All the good deeds he does throughout the game... is undone when Ross and his men come to kill him.
    • It gets even worse with the context of II revealed. It turns out that killing Micah to avenge Arthur's death is what caused Ross to pick up John's trail in the first place, essentially meaning every death in Red Dead 1—including John's—is the result of trying to do right by Arthur. Seriously.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Possibly In-Universe. The gang's fall is a rough one, and by the time he leaves the gang he is seriously fed up with Dutch's poor decision making and false promises, and believes that Dutch was Evil All Along yet managed to cover it up. Yet by 1911, he thinks fondly of him, remembering him as a man who started off as good but slowly went insane. This is demonstrated by John in his journal admitting he wanted to kill Dutch at Mount Hagen in the epilogue of II, in contrast to him clearly not wanting to by I and giving Dutch several chances to come peacefully during their confrontations. It's possible that seeing Dutch beyond his Despair Event Horizon in 1907 made him realize that the man he really has a problem with is Micah, and sees Dutch as another victim of his. It helps that Dutch briefly comes around and shoots Micah during their Mexican Standoff.
  • Nominal Hero: His targets and the people he takes down in their path are outlaws, killers and tyrants, and his allies are lawmen, oppressed peasants and honest farmers, but John is hardly concerned with order or justice. He simply wants to finish his mission and return to his family, and he does plenty of dirty business along the way.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: He only starts to openly work for the rebels after Allende and de Santa tried to screw him over and Reyes saved him. Otherwise, he treats them as a means to an end, though he's somewhat sympathetic towards Luisa.
  • Older and Wiser: In I he's noticeably calmer and sensible than the last time we see him in II. Although he hasn't aged that much, (Only 4 years) he is still far less impulsive and isn't above the idea of dying to protect others.
  • One-Man Army: He, by himself, fought off bandits, rebels, wolves, cougars, and the Mexican and US Armies (if only).
  • Outlaw Parents Want Good Kids: He and Abigail made Jack unaware of their profession, especially in regard to the days of Dutch's gang.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: It's not brought up much, but John and Abigail had a daughter who died of fever sometime in the time skip between the games.
  • Papa Wolf: Very protective of his son; when he finds out that Jack went hunting a Grizzly by himself in "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child", he wastes no time setting off to find him. In the final shootout, he flips out at the attacking US soldiers as they try to harm his family. And he ultimately allows himself to be killed to give them a chance at a life without Ross and his cronies coming for them.
    • In the prequel, when Jack gets abducted by the Braithwaites, John is absolutely pissed off.
      Marston: "I'm gonna let fly at those sons of bitches."
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Pretty much everyone who knows his real name thinks this of his "Jim Milton" alias in II. Hell, even those who have never met him clearly see through the act.
  • Parental Abandonment: His mother died in childbirth, and his father died when he was 8, leaving him to grow up in an orphanage until he met Dutch.
  • Parental Neglect: In the prequel, he's unintentionally neglectful to Jack, being often too busy with work to spend time with him. However, with advice from Arthur and Jack being abducted by the Braithwaites as a wake-up call, he decides to take more time off to be a proper father. It still takes him almost a decade to fully clean up his act, however.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Frequently on the receiving end of these from his allies, especially when traveling together between objectives during a mission. The subject is usually a fair criticism of his flawed morals, sociopathy, and selfishness from upstanding characters like Bonnie, the marshal and Ricketts, or when lowlives and thieves like Irish and West Dickens call out his hypocrisy for looking down on their dishonest ways.
  • Retired Outlaw: He simply wants to live his days out in peace with his family, having been disillusioned with the outlaw life he grew up with years ago. The epilogue to II reveals it took him a few years - in 1907 he still was very willing to grab a gun. He only decided to fully retire once Abigail left him.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Against Abigail's wishes, he joins Sadie and Charles in pursuit of revenge on Micah. This inadvertently brought Edgar Ross on his trail.
  • Rugged Scar: Covered in em'. As he says, he certainly didn't get them "falling over in church". II reveals that he got them after being attacked by wolves.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: He will never even consider cheating on Abigail. Any and all suggestions from anyone else are gently turned down.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: His aforementioned Heroic Sacrifice to give Abigail and Jack a better, safer future... The three-year-later epilogue reveals Abigail soon died anyway (implicitly from Death by Despair due to John's death), and Jack ended up a miserable Last of His Kind and loner whose only real reason for living is Revenge on Ross (thus becoming an outlaw himself — exactly what John didn't want — in the process). May be somewhat subverted, however, if you see a certain Grand Theft Auto V Easter Egg note  as canon.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Lampshaded by Bill Williamson - John was always one for "fancy words." Subverted in II, when it's revealed that in 1899, John didn't have that great a way with words.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: The only woman he fell in love with was Abigail, to the point where no matter how low his honor is and how many prettier women (mostly prostitutes) hit on him, John remains faithful to her. The only time in both games we can see him show any interest in another woman is when he gets drunk and pulls Karen on his lap in a camp event in II.
  • Son of a Whore: Like his son after him.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: That's what happens when you cross Book Dumb with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Spiteful Spit: If Marston kills Javier instead of capturing him, he will spit on Javier's body. But he's shown wiping his eyes as if he's crying, implying that he's genuinely regretful having to kill him.
  • Static Character: John Marston arguably doesn't go through any kind of development in the first game, remaining the same man that he started out as from start to end. This is because he had already undergone his own Character Development in the prequel.
  • Suicide by Cop: It's a Heroic Sacrifice, but still. He felt that he and his family's safety were mutually exclusive.
  • Super Drowning Skills: He never learned to swim. The gang actually makes fun of this in II.
  • Supporting Protagonist: He becomes the playable protagonist in the epilogue of II. Even before that, he has a prominent role in the story.
  • Terrible Artist: While Arthur's skills with a pencil are slightly above average for the time period, John's drawings (and even writings) in II's epilogue look very simplistic in comparison. For example, Arthur usually pays great attention to detail while he's drawing something, while John just quickly draws the general appearance of whatever he's trying to put on paper.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As a young man John was a talented gunslinger, but not much else. A small pack of wolves going after him left him on the brink of death, a far cry from the guy who would hunt massive cougars and bears, not to mention survived countless gunfights and a military revolution.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Young John treated Abigail badly and didn't even believe Jack was his son at first. Come I and John is a loving family man who would do anything for the ones he loves.
    • The player can see much of this slow, organic development throughout the course of II, particularly if they spend a lot of time in camp. John can be found brushing Jack off when he wants to play and even having his wife and kid sleep on the floor of their separate tent. Later you can see Marston using tree branches to swordfight with Jack, teaching him how to carve arrows and asking him about his feelings after a traumatic event. In later campsites you find him sleeping on the floor, with Abigail using the bed. He also grows a sense of humor and learns to take himself less seriously - he reacts poorly and boorishly to teasing in the prequel, a far cry from the ever-polite cowboy of the original.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Two from Arthur: his hat which he passed on to John before staying behind to fend off the Pinkertons and the engagement ring he gives Abigail. It's the one that Arthur gave to Mary that John found in his things.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even though their relationship is a bit strained at the beginning of II, by the end he looked up to Arthur and was more loyal to him than he was to Dutch. He always has his back, even when no one else does. Even after he died, John always thinks of him and remembers everything he taught him.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: He has all of Morgan's customization options in the epilogue of II, with even more added in.
  • Warrior Poet: He's a surprisingly eloquent speaker, something that Bill Williamson points out.
  • Wild Card: In Mexico, he's willing to work with whomever he thinks can get him to Williamson and Escuella and continually makes it clear that he has no personal stakes in the civil war.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He’s pretty uncomfortable around water no thanks to his Super Drowning Skills. In II, he can be heard breathing heavily whenever he’s close to a large body of water.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's 26 at the start of II, 34 by the end of it, and 38 by I, but he looks like he’s in his early-to-mid forties in each appearance.

See Jack Marston here

    Arthur Morgan
"You know, all that mattered to me was loyalty. It's all I ever believed in."
Voiced by: Roger Clark

"Listen to me. When the time comes... you gotta run and don't look back. This is over."

Born of Welsh descent, Arthur was left an orphan when his father was arrested for larceny. Taken in by Dutch, Arthur became one of the first members of the Van der Linde gang, as Dutch's right-hand man and his most loyal follower. In 1899 after a job in Blackwater gone horribly wrong, the gang was forced to flee further East into civilization. There, Arthur's faith in the man whom he called father and the decisions he makes begins to be tested.

  • Abusive Parents: Implied. Arthur's parents are long dead by the events of the game, but while he reminisces on his mother's death with a measure of sadness, his only comments on his father's death is regret that it didn't happen sooner. However, he does keep a picture of his father at his bedside, implying a degree of fondness for his father.
  • Adorkable: He has a childlike sense of wonder that comes through from time to time like: when he remote controls a toy boat, cheers at a magic show, or gets straight up giddy whenever he does good at poker. It's impossible not to smile at him.
  • Affably Evil: Despite being an outlaw, he is quite chummy and outgoing to people, especially to Nice Guys like Jean-Marc and Arturo Ballard.
  • A Good Way to Die: Strongly invoked when finally succumbing to tuberculosis with high honor. When all is said and done, Morgan lays down and dies watching the sunrise, at peace with himself for having helped John survive to live with his family.
  • All for Nothing: His sacrifice to give the Marstons a normal and secure future comes to naught when Edgar Ross comes knocking, kickstarting the events of the first game that ends in tragedy for the family. That said, it wasn't all for nothing for Arthur himself, provided the player went with the high honor route and allowed Arthur to die on his own terms.
  • All There in the Manual: Arthur's extended thoughts and feelings can only be accessed from his journal, which goes into more detail about his life.
  • Animal Motifs: If you're honorable, Arthur will be symbolized by a beautiful buck, often seen as a symbol of "spiritual awakening", which reflects Arthur choosing to become the good man that he is inside. If you're dishonorable, he'll be a twisted black furred coyote, which are often compared to sinister tricksters, reflection of a low honor Arthur's twisted morality. They even hang around his grave in the epilogue.
    • It's also implied in the epilogue that Arthur was reincarnated as a blue jay that watched over Beecher's Hope and the Marstons. The blue jay symbolises many positive qualities, among them being truth, faithfulness and solidarity. These are traits that a high-honor Arthur possesses.
  • Anti-Hero: Although he sometimes helps people out of the goodness of his heart, Arthur usually only gives aid if he's reimbursed in some way, regardless of the level of honor he has.
    • If the player has maintained high honor throughout the game, however, Arthur can become a Knight in Sour Armour who uses what little time he has left to atone for his misdeeds (getting Miss. Downes and her son out of coal mines to start a new life) and will help John and his family escape from the outlaw life so that they can have a peaceful future
  • The Atoner: Regardless of how you play him, Arthur will attempt to reform after getting diagnosed with an at-the-time fatal disease. This culminates in him defying Dutch and helping John Marston escape the outlaw life.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: 'Tacitus Kilgore", his alias for receiving mail and working for the mayor of Saint Denis, among others.
  • Badass Beard: Despite being clean-shaven in most media, he is capable of growing one. It actually grows in gameplay and can grow even longer with hair tonics.
    • He can also opt to shave most of it and rock a sweet Badass Mustache as well.
  • Badass Bookworm: A contrast to Book Dumb John, though not to the extent of Jack.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: In Chapter 4, though he and the other gang members wear black tuxedos to a party at the Mayor's house in Saint Denis, there are times when he can wield a gun and shoot enemies while in the same tuxedo.
  • Badass Longcoat: Can wear from a variety if the player chooses.
  • Bald of Evil: If the player has Arthur's head shaved, in addition to playing him as low honor.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Arthur has no real love of the outlaw life, only doing it because of his loyalty to Dutch and his love for the gang and his hatred of modern civilization.
  • Berserk Button:
    • During Chapter 2 a bar fight breaks out in Valentine between the gang members and a few locals. Arthur is quite content defending his fellow gang members, right up until his opponent calls him ‘pretty boy’. He nearly beats the guy to death.
    • Having been raised in the egalitarian Dutch's gang (where some of his closest friends have Hispanic, African, and Native American heritage; and in Charles' case, both of the latter two), he loathes slavers and racists. You can find the KKK (in three different encounters) and he'll say . "I'll kill you goddamn hooded bastards" when you loot their bodies.You gain honor for killing them too!
  • Big Beautiful Man: Like CJ from San Andreas, you can fatten Arthur up, although it's extremely hard. You pretty much have to eat enough high calorie food items each day to do so. While CJ's obesity is strictly played for laughs, even at max weight Arthur is still an undeniable Hunk. Until he's diagnosed with tuberculosis which causes him to suffer rapid weight loss.
  • The Big Guy / The Brute: The most powerful and active member of the gang. It’s no coincidence he’s also the tallest and stockiest, next to Charles and Bill.
  • Blood from the Mouth: The earliest hint that Arthur won't survive this story is when he starts coughing up blood and collapses.
  • Broken Ace: Arthur is an accomplished gunslinger, hunter and even has shades of a skilled artist and a Warrior Poet. However, this is put down by his own self-loathing and the tragic mistakes he made in the past.
  • Broken Pedestal: Perhaps the most tragic part of the Trauma Conga Line that is Arthur's life is his relationship with Dutch. Dutch was not only Arthur's father, but the man he worshipped like a God, or cult leader. Realizing that he really was a piece of shit who possibly didn't care about him all along gave Arthur an existential crisis. In fact, one of his final words to Dutch is a weak and tearful "I gave you all I had."
  • Byronic Hero: Arthur is... troubled. He's an unrepentant criminal with no desire to change his lifestyle yet everything he does is to take care of his own. He is also constantly stressed, mainly because every plan that his gang has to make money usually brings in a ton of unnecessary heat or fails entirely, forcing his gang to relocate. At several points he can apologize to his gang for being so angry all the time; and if he kills a lot of innocents he can confess to Sadie or Tilly that he doesn't know why he does it, he loses control to his anger.
    Mary: "There's a good man within you... But he is wrestling with a giant."
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Being with Dutch since the start of the gang has earned him the right to speak plainly to the boss. He often uses this privilege to question or argue some of the crazier schemes or darker deeds Van Der Linde cooks up. Reaches its high point during the finale, when Arthur finally has enough of Dutch's continual lying and crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
    • In a more lighthearted example, Hosea accidentally offends Charles while discussing the plight of a native tribe and deflects it by claiming he was merely simplifying it for Arthur's sake. Arthur scolds Hosea for blaming the slip up on him and reminds Charles, who is new to the gang, that Hosea is a career conman and not to accept any lies or excuses from him.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: An early mission involves him and Lenny heading to the local bar to relax; unfortunately, the two are ridiculous lightweights and quickly end up drunk, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Caretaker: Morgan can bring dead animals and other supplies back to Dutch's camp. Doing this improves the gang's morale, while ignoring them results in hunger and complaints. They can never die from hunger, so the player isn't forced to help them if they find something more interesting to do.
    • He also seems to have a thing for wanting to take care of women in need, especially widows. He helps Abigail with Jack early on in the game and says in his journal that maybe he should have married her because he could provide for them. He goes out of his way to help Mary with her family who doesn't like him even though she married another man. He and Sadie genuinely bond over the course of the game and he helps her get the men who killed her husband. When Micah flirts with the girls, he'll tell them to let him know if he's bothering them again. He also teaches Charlotte to hunt and take care of herself after her husband died and last but not least goes above and beyond to help Mrs Downes and her son out of the situation he got them in even though he knows she doesn't like him. In the epilogue, she runs a successful golf course that she bought with the money he gave her.
  • Celibate Hero: He could bed a lot of women if he wanted to, but he remains loveless throughout the whole game. The lewdest thing he does is go on a cheesy date with Mary. When you get solicited by prostitutes, your choices are "reject" and "decline". It's probably a combination of still being in love with Mary and his other confirmed relationship ending in tragedy. At some unspecified time before the events of a game, he had a son with a woman named Eliza. He came to visit them one day and found their graves (they had been killed by robbers over $10) and never really got over it.
  • Character Development: Arthur's Undying Loyalty to Dutch and Fatalist attitude about himself and life all come crashing down in Chapter 6 when Dutch continually loses more and more reason and when Arthur gets diagnosed with tuberculosis realizing that even if his life can't be changed but others can, he resolves to help John and his family as much as he can in getting the hell out of this life and finding a new one. Whether it's a Heel–Face Turn or a Villain's Dying Grace is up to the player's honor however. With the high-honor ending leaning towards the former and the low-honor one leaning towards the latter.
  • Chick Magnet: Played with, Mary, Sadie, Mary-Beth, Karen, Tilly, and even the widow Charlotte, all seem to hold affection for him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Depending on how you play as him, Arthur will resort to sneak attacks, Molotov cocktails, dynamite, and poison-laced throwing knives to win a fight. He even lampshades this in a conversation; as while being an accomplish gunslinger, he usually tries to shoot people in the back in order to get things done.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Or prequel in this case. He differs from John Marston in various ways.
    • The first game starts off with John Marston as a former outlaw who has to hunt down former members of his gang. Arthur Morgan, on the other hand, starts off as a member of that said gang.
    • While Marston is a Nice Guy even if some of his methods are underhanded, Arthur comes off as more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. In contrast to the level-headed and patient John, Arthur is more hot-headed and snarkier than John ever was, and is more likely to resort to violence.
    • John is Happily Married to Abigail despite his former life as an outlaw, considering Abigail was part of the Van der Linde Gang as well. Arthur, however, has a strained relationship with Mary Linton, as he's sadly unable to balance his life as an outlaw and his devotion to Mary. Tragically, he never fully mended the fence with Mary before his untimely death.
    • Relating to the above, Arthur is different from John in that he's never able to let go of his life as an outlaw until it was too late. Unlike John who was able to abandon his former life to the point that he's willing to hunt down his former gang members, Arthur was far too deep in Dutch's influence to truly find balance between a normal life and that as an outlaw, which was what caused his deteriorating relationship with Mary. He even scolds John for daring to walk his own path by leaving the gang for an entire year, and held a minor grudge against him as a result. It's only after the discovery of his illness and broken faith in Dutch that he decides to die his own way by giving Marston a chance to live a normal life with his family.
    • Both John and Morgan ultimately die defending the Marston family. But while John died from his wounds, Arthur instead succumbed to his tuberculosis (unless Micah finished the job in the "low honor" ending).
    • Arthur is fairly cultured for an outlaw and has artistic talents; while he's an absolute beast in a fight, he doesn't really enjoy neither violence nor the thrills of high-risk heists, he's the first to admit that he only thinks that outlaw life is the life for him because he dislikes being tied down to societal norms and being able to wander the wilderness as he pleases. It's very likely he could thrive as a civilian with enough effort, but nothing and no one can convince him to leave the gang, not even a chance to survive his illness. The closest he gets is when he tells Mary to give him some time to save some money and tie up loose ends and then they can get married. John, on the other hand, has few talents and lacks his son's appreciation for literature. His true skill is with a gun, which he can't use legally and the epilogue makes it clear that being a rancher was Abigail's dream, not his. He eventually leaves the life out of love for his family.
    • This even apparent in their character designs. Arthur is tall and built like a brick wall, useful for someone who was heavily involved with a variety of gang activities, including hunting and intimidation, while John is average in height and fairly skinny, fitting for someone who mostly served as a gunman and not much more. The pre-release material depicts Arthur with short hair and some stubble, while John lets his hair grow out and his facial hair, while not long, is still noticeably longer than Morgan's.
    • A more humorous example is their swimming capabilities. While John can't swim even if his life depended on it to the point he would sink like a sack of bricks, Arthur is at the very least decently capable of swimming.
    • Arthur spends the prequel surrounded by comrades and blood brothers, often espousing a philosophy of absolute loyalty, and pondering it as the gang falls apart. John, on the other hand, is mostly on his own during his mission for the Bureau of Investigation, trying to keep new associates from getting too close to him while hunting down the very men he and Arthur once called family.
    • John is certainly a Deadpan Snarker when the situation calls for it, but he's relatively solemn, even rude, compared to Arthur. Arthur Morgan is pretty gregarious and amicable, especially among friends. This is fairly justified, as Arthur Morgan, for much of the game, is living the life he chose with the people he cares about, while John is dragged back into a world he left behind on a lone suicide mission because the government essentially has his family at gunpoint. He works for his family's safety, not his own ideals. It's understandable why the man might not be in particularly high spirits.
  • Cultured Badass: He references classic literature like Romeo and Juliet a little too frequently for a country boy hick. He's also appreciative of photography and is an excellent draftsman.
  • The Cynic: Much like Hosea, Arthur never held any delusions of his gang being possibly more than just a bunch of killers and thieves. In some of the optional conversations he can have with Mary-Beth, he reveals his acceptance of the fact that the Age of Outlaws is coming to its end, and that gangs like the Van der Linde gang will no longer have a place in an increasingly civilized world.
    Arthur: "Our time has pretty much passed."
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The man's life is never-ending misery, plain and simple. Beaten half to death by his father as a kid, spent most of his childhood a street orphan after his beloved mother died, kidnapped and brainwashed into a thug who knows nothing but violence by Dutch. His adulthood wasn't any happier, losing his one chance at happiness when his child and lover were murdered. And that's not even getting into what actually happens to him in the game...
  • Deadpan Snarker: The man is a downright riot to listen to, especially if you have him act like a complete Jerkass to the rest of his gang.
  • Defiant to the End: If he helps John escape with low honor, Micah will finish him off with his revolver. Arthur isn't fazed, calling him a fool and telling him that they're not that different, before getting shot.
  • Determinator: Due to doing all of the things he does while dying of tuberculosis, Arthur would rival Old Snake in a "most strong-willed video game protagonists ever" contest.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Mary loves Arthur dearly, but doesn't want to be with him while he's still riding with a gang. He promises once he gets enough money he will run away with her. Though she still loves him, she breaks things off with him for good via a "Dear John" letter once word reaches her of the gang's botched robbery at Saint Denis. Tragically, Arthur is in the final stages of tuberculosis by the time he receives the letter, and either succumbs to it or is killed by Micah shortly after turning on Dutch and trying to leave, meaning he never got the chance to patch things up with her. She's seen in the credits crying at his grave.
  • Doomed by Canon: Since he's never mentioned in the previous game, things presumably do not work out well for him. Ultimately, he ends up dying from tuberculosis regardless of whether or not Micah finished him off.
  • The Dragon: He's practically third in command after Hosea. He subtly takes over his role as the Only Sane Man after his death, ascending to this.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: An interesting case. Once the gang is in Beaver Hollow, Arthur remains loyal to Dutch and goes along with the plan, even though he disagrees with it - his honor determines whether he's keeping up appearances or is genuine. Regardless, he starts doing things behind Dutch's back: throws Strauss out, grants leave to Swanson and Trelawny, attempts to deescalate the Wapiti-US Army feud and actively plots to help the Marstons leave.
  • Due to the Dead: In spite of the circumstances he finds himself in, Arthur takes a moment to cradle his fallen horse and thanks it. Also on the receiving end of this, when he and Miss Grimshaw are found dead by Charles Smith and laid to rest, Arthur on a quiet hilltop, in a grave that perfectly faces the evening sun, "just as Arthur would have wanted." Even more so is that his grave is adorned with a bunch of flowers if he was played honorably through to the end.
  • Dying Alone: In the High Honor ending, after he has successfully convinced Dutch to abandon Micah and leave, the villain spares Arthur instead of shooting him and runs off, allowing him to spend his final moments alone on the mountaintop, content that he has sacrificed himself to help John escape and secure a better future for his family, and watching the final glimpses of the sunrise at dawn, shortly before passing away from tuberculosis.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: He makes his last stand against the treacherous rat Micah Bell. It's made clear that if Arthur wasn't dying of late-stage tuberculosis and badly injured, Micah would have folded quicker than Superman on laundry day. And if Arthur has high Honor, he succumbs to his tuberculosis while watching the sunrise one last time, dying a redeemed man.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: After contracting tuberculosis Arthur's complexion grows notably more pale, eye sockets darkening, and his eyes become bloodshot.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • While he might be an outlaw who robs and kills for a living, he has a very low opinion of racism and doesn't hesitate to voice his disgust towards such subjects as slavery or the Klan.
    • He’s also surprisingly progressive in terms of women's suffrage, believing that they should be allowed to vote because he thinks that anyone who's dumb enough to want to vote should be able to.
    • While collecting the debt from Gwyn Hughes, he was appalled when he revealed that he was gonna get the loan by digging up a dead body full of jewels and seemed a bit hesitant in assisting him.
    • He utterly loathes Leopold Strauss's loan sharking and being forced to be his debt collector. This may is probably not helped by the fact that Arthur contracts tuberculosis from a man he is sent to collect a debt from.
    • While he's far from a saint himself, Arthur is disgusted by Micah's bloodlust and wanton sociopathy.
    • He outright calls the Murfree Brood evil, and is outright disgusted by their atrocities.
    • He also has a soft spot for animals. He loves horses, and will dote on his horse if he reaches a high bond level with them. He also has a low opinion of animal abusers, reacts with shock and disgust when he and Charles come across the seemingly meaningless slaughter of a herd of bison and if the player has him shoot a lot of animals without collecting their resources, he'll mention during one of his chats with Mary-Beth that he's deeply troubled by the fact that he's started killing animals for no reason.
    • While he is willing to hurt women (he's not naive enough to believe they won't try to kill him), he still tries to avoid doing it and is disgusted by men who beat women. He calls a drunk an animal when said drunk punches Karen.
    • He's also deeply respectful of Native Americans and has deep sympathy for their plights. He refuses to brandish a weapon in the reservation and doesn’t antagonize anyone there, regardless of honor level. As such, he’s disgusted and furious at Dutch for taking advantage of their plights for the law to focus more on attacking the Indians and not the gang.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Already stricken with tuberculosis and having a short time to live, he helps John escape from Micah and the Pinkerton gang and chooses to stay behind to fight them off while buying the Marston family time to flee and start a new life. In the High Honor ending, after having emerged victorious while getting wounded himself, Arthur, content that he has sacrificed himself for the Marston family, uses his final moments to relax peacefully and watch the sunrise, and to let nature take its course with his tuberculosis.
  • Face of a Thug: Well, he's actually a TEXTBOOK thug and certainly looks the part, but for all his flaws he's still a good guy, especially if you keep your honor up.
  • Failure Hero: The whole game is already a Trauma Conga Line for the Van der Lindes, but Arthur definitely gets it the worst.
  • Famous Last Words: "John made it. He's the only one. Rest of But, I tried. In the end... I did."
  • Fatal Flaw: His temper and over-reliance on violence is even worse than John's. This causes his undoing, as he decides to beat up a sick man, who in turn gets him sick.
    • His biggest flaw is his loyalty to Dutch. Having been raised by the man his entire life, Arthur was always loyal to Dutch even if he questions the man's choice of actions. This causes him to make many mistakes in his life, such as his broken relationship with Mary.
    • Self-loathing is another major one. Actions may speak louder than words, but just listen to how he talks about himself in front of the mirror and how quick he is to reject compliments. Explains why, despite his sharp tongue and belligerent personality, he's often a pushover for those he cares about.
  • Fat Bastard: Low honor + overweight Arthur = this. Made impossible once his tuberculosis gets bad, however.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Eagle Flies, Rain Falls and the rest of the Dakota tribe really. He goes from being indifferent towards their plights, to becoming one of their closest friends and allies.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Sadly falls straight into this due Rockstar never building a narrative back in RDR1 that John had a member in the gang that ultimately ended up being his one true brother who sacrificed himself to give them the life we see in 1.
    • However to the game's credit, it does give an explanation, in the Epilogue John confesses to Mary Beth that he is always thinking of Arthur, but it's too painful for him to talk about him (and true to his word, even in the Epilogue he seldom talks about Arthur, and only in rare circumstances. Usually only to the strangers you met as Arthur). So it's likely John did think about Arthur quite a bit in 1, he just didn't speak about him to avoid bringing up painful memories. Abigail also cries at the mention of his name, so it's likely they all agreed to not bring it up at home either.
    • Also, John quotes Arthur when he says "keep on riding and don't look back".
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Played with. During his final confrontation with Dutch and Micah at the camp, John recovers from his Disney Death, and he and the others are attacked by the Pinkertons led by Agent Edgar Ross, who force Arthur and John to flee to the mountains. Once John learns that his family is safe at Copperhead Landing, he wants Arthur to protect him; Arthur, however, wants to return to the camp with the key Abigail had given him to get the money from the chest to spite Dutch and Micah, but John says that he might be killed by the Pinkertons if he heads back to his family alone. Here, the player is faced with two options: "Go with John" or "Go for the loot". If Arthur decides to go with John, he'll have to fight off the Pinkertons a bit while escorting John before stopping, saying he can't go any further due to his now-advanced tuberculosis, before handing John his hat and satchel. On the other hand, if Arthur decides to go for the money, he will part ways with John and hand him his hat and satchel, making sure that John will survive. However, when Arthur returns to Beaver Hollow and takes the money from Dutch's chest, Micah knifes him in the side, critically wounding him; and depending on what you do with his honor, he takes the money from Arthur either before the latter succumbs to his TB and his wounds or after Micah kills him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Outside of gameplay, Arthur does not hold back insults and speaks his mind when he needs to. Gameplay-wise, you can potentially have the highest honor possible, and still kill anyone who's a threat to you if left to your own devices.
  • Go-to Alias: He uses a few over the course of the game, although the gang's go-to one for sending and receiving mail is "Tacitus Kilgore".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: A lot of his issues with John towards the beginning of the game is pure jealousy. John gets to be with the woman who loves him when he can’t be with Mary and gets to be a father which is something he also desperately wants a second crack at while John ignores the both of them.
  • Guns Akimbo: With a second holster, he can equip two sidearms in this fashion.
  • Guttural Growler: He talks in a very hushed, gravelly voice.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: His Fatal Flaw.
  • Handicapped Badass: The last sections of the game will be spent while Arthur is dying from tuberculosis. It won't affect the gameplay and he will kick just as much ass though.
  • Has Two Mommies: Gender-inverted: Dutch and Hosea are explicitly called Arthur's two daddies.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Don't mistake his disgust towards xenophobia for heroism; he's just a misanthrope who thinks almost everyone is awful, regardless of sex or race. He gets called on this bullshit at high honor by many people near the end of the game, since for all his evil he's still shown more love to others than most of the other cast combined.
  • Heartbroken Badass: While Mary Linton broke his heart, Arthur can ultimately agree to help her. All while lamenting that he wished she had run off with him.
  • Heroic BSoD: Gets this after Dutch tells him that John, the man whose life Arthur was trying to save before dying himself, was killed by the Pinkertons. Fortunately, Dutch is lying.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The final mission sees Arthur sacrifice himself for the security of the Marston Family. To what extent he does this is up to the player, as he can either make a final bid for Dutch's money and part amicably with John, or stick with John till the bitter end and die holding off his pursuers.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: No matter how consistently high your honor is, Arthur never misses an opportunity to voice his self-loathing.
    Arthur: "No wonder they all leave you, you sour-faced idiot."
  • Heroic RRoD: He is told that he has a chance of surviving his sickness if he goes someplace warm and relaxes, he instead chooses to help John and his family escape; which ends up sealing his fate but allows him to die content.
  • Hidden Depths: Invoked. Arthur loudly presents himself as a dumb brute. Almost no one believes this, but Morgan himself is privately so self-deprecating that he's often surprised by this. Judging by his journal entries he is an eloquent writer (especially saying he never went to any sort of formal school and didn't learn to read until he was 15) and a fairly good artist - there's even a button prompt to draw interesting sights on the trail. Although he doesn't understand a lot of it, he's also drawn to artists and eccentrics such as Albert Mason, Charles Chatennay and Marko Dragic, even forming genuine friendships with the former two.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Towards most of the strangers, he will usually mock or scoff at them but ultimately agrees to help. In one case a black doctor has his wagon stolen by a bunch of racists, after hearing that the doctor was working for free to help people, Arthur tells him to wait and goes off to retrieve his wagon without promise of pay or reward, he simply does it out of the (small speck of) goodness in his heart.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: No matter how fat you try and make him, Arthur just gets wider and a double chin, so he seems more stocky than fat. Justified, since the Wild West's conditions were so tough that it would be impossible to survive if straight up fat, if you were even lucky enough to get that much food in the first place. Haven't you noticed that there are almost no fat people in the game (aside from Micah's, Uncle's, and Pearson's beer bellies)?
  • Honorary Uncle: To Jack.
  • Hope Spot: Going with John while in High Honor mode creates one in the ending when Arthur is about to be killed by Micah, but convinces Dutch to abandon the villain and leave, after which Micah spares him and runs off. It looks like Arthur has triumphed and is gonna live after all... except that he only has about a minute left until tuberculosis claims his life, but not before he makes sure his dying moments are spent peacefully and looks at the sunrise for the final time.
  • Hunk: Doesn't matter how hairy, dirty, or fat you make him, Arthur is a damn good looking man. Just don't call him a Pretty Boy. Then he gets tuberculosis and his once good looks vanish in a few weeks.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Arthur is diagnosed with tuberculosis, and his coughing gets progressively worse by the final mission. By the end, he ultimately succumbs to it.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He forms a real bond with the old war veteran Hamish Sinclair, formed from both of their love of hunting and fishing and of Arthur's genuine respect for the man.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The box art and official game website show him bearing a striking resemblance to his voice actor Roger Clark. His resemblance is also shown in this way earlier in the game.
  • In the Back: If Arthur has low honor and decides to go for Dutch's loot, he ends up getting fatally stabbed in the back by Micah.
  • Ironic Death: He actually notices this himself and writes it in his journal. As an outlaw, he has survived tough weather, countless shootouts and animal attacks... and his death comes in the form of a very ill man coughing on him.
  • I Owe You My Life: He firmly believes that saving a life forms a bond. While he's hostile to Kieran Duffy from the outset, he warms up to him once the former O'Driscoll saves his life, sincerely thanking him a few times; after Kieran's death Arthur laments in his journal that he's deeply saddened that he wasn't able to return the favor. Arthur also warmly calls Eagle Flies his friend when he saves him after Dutch tries to leave him behind at the refinery.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Fully invoked in the finale of Chapter 6 if he decides to help John to safety.
  • Jerkass: The player can have him antagonize his own gang so relentlessly that Arthur ends up getting sucker punched into unconsciousness and thrown out of the camp for his troubles. And the cruelty is not limited to the gang, you can antagonize and terrorize anyone (even little Jack) as much as you want.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: If the player has Arthur antagonize a member of the gang, he often has some very valid criticisms of that character and their actions throughout the game (especially if he antagonizes Dutch).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his actions as an outlaw, he genuinely cares for the gang and can perform good deeds if the player chooses to.
  • Karmic Death: In an early mission, Arthur beats up a sickly man to the point where he dies from his injuries, said sickly man gives him tuberculosis which ends up killing him, unless you end the game with low honor.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: John was a romantic trying to be a cynic - Arthur is The Anti-Nihilist pretending to be a Straw Nihilist. This duality and refusal to accept that he has a heart is a big part of his arc. In the end, for all his outward misantrophy and lack of faith in anything, even a low honor Arthur goes down fighting for love by trying to keep the gang safe and securing a future for the Marstons, hoping it will mean something.
    Arthur: Love makes us do crazy things, more so than hate.
  • The Last Dance: Helping John escape is seen as this for him, knowing he has little time left thanks to his illness.
  • Laughably Evil: If you have Arthur spam the "Antagonize" option, you could have a whole game's worth of sadistic comedy gold.
  • Lean and Mean: Low honor + underweight Arthur = this. Enforced when Arthur gets tuberculosis and is stuck underweight, however the player is also encouraged to redeem themselves with the diagnosis, optionally downplaying the "mean" part.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Arthur's adopted father, Dutch, turns out to be a Broken Pedestal.
    • Symbolically, Dutch dies falling off a mountain, ostensibly killed by John, while Arthur (with high honor and having helped John escape) dies on top of one after saving John.
    • Also with blood family, Arthur's biological father was abusive whereas he loved his son Issac very much. He couldn't be there in the way he wanted due to his lifestyle but financially provided for him and his mom before they were killed over $10. He only ever brings him up twice (and the one time he actually goes into the details, it's an optional mission) because it's still too painful for him.
  • Made of Iron: Aside from being your typical video game protagonist, being able to shrug off an infinite amount of gunfire barrages and beatdowns, what makes Arthur stand out is that he's able to do all of that while days away from succumbing to tuberculosis.
  • Man Bites Man: If he went for the loot in High Honor mode, then he manages to bite Micah's hand before punching him, right after stabbing him in the eye with his knife.
  • Momma's Boy: While he talked bad of his father and thinks of him as a "no-good bastard", he never speaks badly of his mother and unconditionally thinks greatly of her and keeps a flower by his bed because she thought of it as a symbol of good luck.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A Hunk that you can strip down and bathe all you want for just a quarter. Very thoroughly. And the game does not pull a Sexy Discretion Shot either. It's not so good looking once his disease reaches its final stages.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Arthur is the same gameplay-wise even when stricken with terminal tuberculosis that makes him Nothing but Skin and Bones, though his Cores do drain much faster.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Arthur's loyalty to Dutch is one of his flaws. At worst he voices discontent about one of Dutch's plans, but Arthur follows with it anyway. He doesn't move past this until late in the story.
  • Nature Lover: Loves and appreciates the prairie just as much as John does and shares his disgust with Dutch over having to visit Saint Denis. It's one of the reasons he stays in the outlaw life.
  • Nice Guy: Eventually develops into this after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. He becomes more emotional and polite, less sarcastic, develops a selfless side, and openly shows more care and compassion than ever before.
  • Nice Hat: Which can be knocked or shot off your head. Thankfully, you can pick it back up. If it somehow despawns, you can just get it back out of your saddlebags. It's so nice that he makes a point to pass it on to John before he dies.
  • Noble Demon: Arthur is front and center about his status of being an outlaw but doesn't allow it to compromise his morals and standards. Most evident in a high honor playthrough, where the Sister tells him that for a bad man he always seems to be smiling and helping those less fortunate than him.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Not visually, but he shares one important detail with Doc Holliday, a gunslinger who participated in the O.K Corral gunfight. They both died to tuberculosis at age 36.
  • Noodle Incident: Much like John’s history in the first game, a lot of the events in Arthur’s life are left ambiguous, especially the timing. How long has he been having doubts about Dutch? What were he and Hosea working on in Blackwater? How long ago did he and Mary break up? Abigail who’s only been with the gang for five years knows her. One big aspect of his life in particular is left really ambiguous, his son Isaac. He tells Rains Fall that the boy died a long time before the game without going into specifics. He says that the kid's mother Eliza was only 19 but it’s never said how old Arthur was when the boy was born. He would have been about the same age Jack was in the first game if she and Arthur were the same age. We don’t know how old the boy was when he died either. Arthur just says Isaac was a good kid.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Tragically averted. Arthur Morgan is not a man who scares easy: America's deadliest predators don't give him much pause, and he doesn't worry about getting slashed or shot in a fight. But he knows full well he cannot do anything to save himself from a drawn-out, emasculating death by a lung infection, and worse, he dreads what kind of judgement he might face because of the life he has led. He admits to the Sister that he knows his doom is close and it's the one time in the game he looks actually vulnerable.
  • Not So Different: Sean annoys him but Dutch and Hosea both say he's a lot like Arthur was at his age.
  • Not So Stoic: It's pretty clear that despite the cold, indifferent front he puts up, there's certain parts of the outlaw life that weigh heavily on Arthur's conscience.
    • He's pretty disgusted at the work he has to do for Strauss's loan-sharking side business, to the point that Arthur throws Strauss out of the van der Linde gang himself after Strauss starts exhorting people so desperate that they literally work themselves into the grave in order to get the money back
    • Arthur is justifiably horrified at the way Dutch exploits the Wapiti tribe's struggle with the Army in order to take the attention off the gang. It's one of the very few times that Arthur vocally voices his disgust at what he and the gang are doing
    • Towards the end of the game, if you helped Sister Calderon and have high honor, Arthur will sit down with her at a train station and confess his fears about his inevitable death. The expression he wears, couples with the way his voice shakes, show that despite how much Arthur says he's perfectly fine with dying for the gang, the prospect of dying to TB terrifies him, to the point where it sounds like he's pretty close to tearing up.
  • Nothing but Skin and Bones: When his tuberculosis worsens, Arthur is forced BELOW underweight. He gets thinner than the game mechanics normally allow.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Arthur presents himself as far more single-minded and brutish than he really is. He often reflects privately, either in his journal, or in internal monologues with far more eloquence than he voices to others. Many people note this in the game too.
    • In a more direct example, a story mission in Rhodes has Arthur and Hosea disguise themselves as traveling moonshiners. Hosea is quick to assign Arthur the role of a dumb mute, and teases him for playing the character well.
  • One-Man Army: He's the player character of an action-packed shooter, of course he is. It's made especially evident, however, since Arthur's fellow NPCs actually can die in shootouts, resulting in a Non-Standard Game Over, which makes Arthur the one individually responsible for the whole Van der Linde gang, which is already the most Badass Army in the game.
  • Only Sane Man: Loudly gripes about himself being such. It initially begins with him being frustrated with Dutch's delusions of grandeur, but then Arthur progresses with this same attitude with quieter and more solemn concern.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Had a son named Isaac with a waitress, one day he came to visit to find they had both been killed by a robber over 10 dollars.
  • Papa Wolf: When the Pinkertons catch up to him during a fishing trip with Jack, Arthur’s first instinct is to put himself between them and the boy. When Jack gets kidnapped later on, Arthur is nearly as incensed as John.
  • Peaceful in Death: In one of the High Honor endings, after having been terribly wounded by Micah and left to die alone, Arthur, content that he has given John and his family a better future, crawls over to the edge of a cliff and huddles up against a giant rock there to spend his final moments at dawn. Seconds later, however, his tuberculosis is taking a hold of him as he is being suffocated and struggling to breathe in agonizing pain. As his gasping is slowing down, he turns his head around to catch a glimpse of the sunrise for the final time before slowly letting out his last breath as his eyes gently close in a Big Sleep, dying with a peaceful expression on his face.
  • Pet the Dog: Arthur usually hates the many Rockstar trademark eccentric strangers he comes across, however he reluctantly admits that even he liked the hot air balloon pilot and gives Sadie a What the Hell, Hero? for getting him killed.
    • In Rhodes, a potential Stranger encounter leads to Arthur helping out a poor fellow who was robbed of his wagon because of his skin color. Arthur is quick to offer his help without any of his usual fuss or demand of payment.
    • The Braithwaite's and Gray's rivalry becomes a tremendous obstacle for the gang, but despite the trouble it could potentially lead to, Arthur does help out the two unfortunate lovers trapped between the feud.
    • He gets along well with Albert Mason and helps him out without expecting anything.
    • He also seems to have a soft spot for Mary's brother Jamie. He lets Jamie hug him and tries to tell him that it's his dad that's the problem, not him. Jamie also muses that Arthur was the one who taught him to ride a horse.
    • Even at low honor, he still gives Captain Monroe enough money to start a new life.
  • Politically Correct Villain: He's a felon alright, but he sure as hell ain’t prejudiced. He never sees any problem with other minorities, treats women without a trace of misogyny, and is willing to help out a tribe of Indians who are under attack by the Army. Hell, even two of his best friends are black.
  • Precision F-Strike: Despite having a potty mouth, he rarely says some sort of version of the word "fuck". He can say it as part of one of the bawdy camp songs and calls the Murfees "kin fuckers" but never says it otherwise.
  • Rated M for Manly: A big, strong, handsome, sharp-witted One-Man Army outlaw with Dark and Troubled Past and a soft side who casually charms almost every woman he comes across.
  • Real Men Get Shot: During Chapter 3, he gets knocked out and captured by the O'Driscolls. He tries to escape, but gets shot in the left shoulder and captured again. After being tied up and tortured and denied food, he escapes again and deals with the (now hours old) gunshot wound by cauterizing it with black powder. After recuperating for several weeks at camp, he's back in action good-as-new.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Upon discovering that he had contracted tuberculosis, he decides to spend his last days helping Marston have a future with his family. Having wasted his whole life in Dutch's thrall, moving on from one blunder to the next, Arthur decides to have one real moment of control in his life and do the right thing.
  • Reincarnation: Arthur is implied to be reincarnated as one of his three spirit animals in the epilogue.
  • The Reliable One: Dutch's premiere muscle, and with good reason. Over the course of the story, Arthur loses Dutch's favor over Micah.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: His full name is Welsh in origin: his first name, "Arthur", fits in with the legendary King Arthur, and his surname, "Morgan", fits in with the sorceress Morgan le Fay. Of course, his name can be more meaningful depending on what you do with his honor meter. His old horse, Boadicea, is also named after a mythological British royal. She was a Queen in the first century AD who led an uprising against the Romans.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Several characters in II apply but he is an extreme case due how much Arthur's actions affect the events in RDR1; Arthur is pretty much the one who sided with John till the end, directly being the foundation of John's attempt to live a life out of crime, Arthur was John's true brother in the end as John himself puts it that way, but RDR1 does not recognize Arthur ever existed because he wasn't conceptualized back then, surely John (and even Jack) would reminisce a bit about such a great person in their lives from time to time if Rockstar had a narrow concept for Arthur back then. Though John does quote Arthur when he says "keep on riding and don't look back", it's hardly much considering what a huge impact Arthur had on John's life. John tells Mary Beth in the epilogue that he's always thinking of Arthur, he just doesn't bring him up because it's too painful, and Uncle bringing him up at all makes Abigail start crying.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: In Chapter 4, he and the other gang members are dressed up in black tuxedos when they head for the Mayor's house in Saint Denis for a nighttime party.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Despite being a bonafide Chick Magnet, he's faithful to Mary, even though they're long broken up and could never be together. He did have a relationship with another woman at some point as they had a kid together.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: He says in his journal that he's figured out that Bill is hiding some huge secret (likely that he's gay) about himself but doesn't know what it is and doesn't press it. He doesn't believe it's his secret to tell. Though it's also shown that some people in the gang have their suspicions too, John and Charles can both imply that they think he's gay.
  • Secretly Dying: He tries his best to hide his condition from the rest of the gang, but does give in once he enters the final stages of illness.
  • Self-Deprecation: Look at Arthur in the mirror and he'll sigh while calling himself ugly. Oh shut up, Arthur, we all know you're a Hunk!
    • He also brushes off people when they compliment him on the good things he does, or tell him what they like about him. His self esteem is rock bottom.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Despite being a textbook thug, his words are fancier than even John's!
  • Sophisticated as Hell: He has an insanely thick southern accent and a sailor's mouth, but damned if he ain't cultured.
  • Southern Gentleman: He’s polite to most women, though it ultimately depends on the player. He also has an amusingly elegant vocabulary clearly inspired by Dutch.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: As seen by the picture next to his bed, his dad looks almost identical to him.
  • Supporting Protagonist: To John. In the grander narrative, this game is as much his as the first. Arthur’s actions are the catalyst to turning John into who he is in the first game and leading him to his own Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Invoked in chapter 6. Once Arthur is diagnosed with tuberculosis, he can reach the maximum level of honor and the game nudges the player towards redemption, allowing you to forgo payment in the remaining sidequests and absolve debts.
  • Tragic Dream: He doesn't enjoy the outlaw life and when he gets enough money hopes to run away with his Love Interest. Unfortunately because this is a prequel, he dies before the end.
  • Tsundere: If you play at high honor everyone can see his grumpy and cynical bad man act is as fake as it gets. He really does like helping people that need it and is extremely loyal to those he loves. Some (Mary-Beth, Mary, Karen, Charles, Sister Calderon and/or Reverend Swanson) will even call him out on this to his face.He's pretty much incapable of admitting this and would rather people saw him as a cruel jackass to the end even if it's as far from the truth as it can get.
  • Undignified Death: He survives countless gunfights and near-death scenarios, only to be killed by... a relatively common disease from the 20th century, tuberculosis. To make things worse, he contracted it because of his own impatience in dealing with a sick debtor who coughed all over him after being beaten up. His death is slow, painful, and completely unavoidable. However, he subverts this by making sure his last moments aren't in vain.
    • In both endings, Arthur takes quite a beating from Micah. This can be taken further if the player has low honor: in the Loot ending Micah stabs and kills him while he is crawling away, and should you help John, Micah shoots him in the head with his revolver. With a high honor, however, Micah just leaves, which results in Arthur lying down to look into the sunrise before dying in peace with himself.
  • Unflinching Walk: In the second trailer.
  • Uptown Boy: While he and Mary are both Hypocrites about each other's families (his being the gang, hers being her dad and brother), the big conflict between the two of them is that she comes from money and he doesn't. Rich women in the late 19th century didn't have the luxury of marrying for love and she ultimately marries a more "suitable" man. He even tells Mary Beth that she gave him more time than she should have given the class circumstance.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: A firm believer of this. He considers it a game for imbeciles and constantly tells people that. He only takes revenge once, and that’s on Colm O'Driscoll for torturing him and killing Kieran, and even then he quickly moves on and states that it doesn't make the gang's current problems any easier.
  • Verbal Tic: If you don't mind liver poisoning, take a shot every time Arthur says "Boah," especially if you have a male horse. Also, god forbid, "Sure".
  • Victorian Novel Disease: Viciously subverted—Arthur's tuberculosis definitely affects his appearance for the worst, and the player's cores drain faster to represent his decreasing physical ability.
  • Villain Protagonist: He is a merciless member of an outlaw gang, and you get to play as him as such thanks to the honor system. If he sticks to high honor by the ending, his last talk with the nun makes him realize that he doesn't have to be a villain at all for what time he has left.
  • Virtual Paperdoll: The most customizable Rockstar protagonist since CJ. His hair, beard, clothes, and even weight can be changed by the player.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With most of the gang no less! Despite all his ribbing, however, he truly loves them all. Micah being the only exception. He's especially this with John. He's pretty vicious to John about his treatment of Abigail and Jack but he does end up sacrificing himself so John can try to live a normal life.
    • It's notable that the only one he actually hates and only helps out of his sense of duty is The Mole.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: His blue eyes are so pretty that even the bartender in the Rhodes saloon calls them "fascinating".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After she stirs up the O'Driscoll's while Arthur is on his hot balloon ride, Arthur chews out Sadie because her actions accidentally got the balloon's owner, Mr. Bullard-whom Arthur was just taking a shine to-killed.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Downplayed since he's able to pull himself together, but pretty much we see Arthur show any fear (outside of the "I'm afraid" scene) is when he gets shaky and nervous while piloting a hot air balloon soaring through the clouds. Justified since pretty much everyone was terrified of heights back then, as planes and skyscrapers were unheard of.
  • Wicked Cultured: He is Dutch's son, after all. Most evident in his journal, where he proves to have an impressive vocabulary, a decent grasp on literature and pop culture, and ample drawing skills.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He firmly believes men and women are equally awful.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Not even if they're robbing him— the game won't let Arthur shoot at Cleet the cutpurse while chasing him in Saint Denis. Considering how the entire Van Der Linde gang rides out with a vengeance when Jack is kidnapped by Lady Braithwaite, and the disgust they show towards her for involving children, it's likely that this is a rule that Dutch and Hosea ingrained in all of their men.
    • Around camp, you can yell at anyone who's sleeping to get up but you can't do it to Jack.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A high-honor Arthur will be told this by Reverend Swanson or Sister Calderón before they leave, telling him that he still has time to good in the world and that he should, this inspires Arthur to go and help John and spurs his Heel–Face Turn right before he dies.
    • By the end of the main story, just about every other character will tell this to Arthur who has high honor. His final ride to camp, Arthur reflects on each time another character has called him a good man.
  • Your Days Are Numbered Being diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1899 is not a matter of if you'll die, but a matter of when.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Rather than risk the both of them being caught and killed, Arthur decides to stay behind and hold off the pursuing Pinkerton agents so John can escape.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's in his thirties, but looks a decade older unless you REALLY keep him well groomed. He can look even older depending on how the player customizes him (particularly by having him grow out his beard), and by the last part of his story his terminal illness has taken such a toll on him that he could pass for a man in his 60s.

    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...

  • Gonk: Due to the awful character creator, it requires significant effort to make a remotely human-looking character, so most people just don't even try.
  • 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.
  • Silent Protagonist: 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.

Example of: