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Heartwarming / Red Dead Redemption II

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"We did more for the people with the money we took than the damn government ever did..."

Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.

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     Main Story 
  • At this point in time, the gang is still a one big family. They may quarrel with each other, tease each other, fight each other, but it's clear they look after each other. Case in point, much of the early missions involve getting gang members out of trouble and taking care of them. Dutch is a true and literal Father to His Men, and the gang is all too happy to call each other brothers for they are indeed Dutch's children.
  • If you choose to go around antagonizing your fellow gang members around camp, people sitting next to them will sometimes stand up for them. Keep doing it and someone will actually punch Arthur out.
    • Furthermore, walking back into camp after one of these knockouts, Dutch can come up to Arthur and - more than yelling at him or reprimanding him - reminds him that he's better than this and that he and the gang needs him to be that better man. It shows the amount of respect and love Dutch holds for his eldest 'son'.
    • On the other hand, you can do the opposite and stand up for your gang members from others; one potential encounter has Micah flirting with Abigail, for instance; after a point, he will realise Arthur is right behind him and quickly scurry off, prompting Arthur and Abigail to remark on what a horrid little man he is.
  • During long rides on his horse, Arthur will on occasion start singing softly to himself. It's a small touch, but still oddly endearing.
  • If you examine Arthur's tent at camp you'll find a newspaper clipping from 1887 about a robbery conducted by three masked men. The reporter goes on to state that the men stole the money, then later word was received that the criminals made donations to various poorhouses on their way out of the region. An illustration of the Van Der Linde gang's early days, when they robbed from the rich to give to those less fortunate.
    • A lot of the stuff in Arthur's tent is really sweet. He has pictures of both of his parents, Mary, his dog, and one of him with Dutch and Hosea when they first got started. If you play dominoes with Mary-Beth, she'll ask about the flower he keeps. He tells her that they grow where he was born and that his mom loved them so every time he's out there he gets one because it reminds him of her.
  • Arthur's devotion to Dutch. Granted, we know it won't last, but seeing the gang in their prime and trying to help people is rather sweet.
    • Hell, the entire gang up to a point; take the kidnapping of Angelo Bronte after he set the gang up at the Trolley Depot; he insults Dutch and desperately offers Arthur, John, Lenny or Bill a thousand dollars to kill their leader; the camera cuts across each of them, stonefaced and utterly unmoved by the proposition.
  • It's revealed that at one point, John ditches the gang for an entire year. When he comes back, he's welcomed back with open arms. The only apparent person to hold a grudge is Arthur (which is based on John's treatment of Jack and Abigail), and even he doesn't openly treat John poorly. As the game progresses, they slowly become friends (again), understand each other's problems and just casually chat in missions. Arthur and Sadie even break John from prison, and their friendship finally culminates in Arthur using his remaining time to ensure John can live a full life with his family. Even as the remains of the gang tried and failed to remain functional, their friendship endured it all.
  • Sadie is a widow that Morgan and the others rescue from a murderous rival gang. Even though the gang is already running low on supplies and have too many people to feed, they take her in and treat her as part of the family anyway.
  • The relationship between Arthur and Sadie. They really trust each other, and build a great friendship.
    Sadie: You're the only one of these fools that I trust!
    • After Arthur has helped Sadie get revenge for her husband's death, if Arthur has good honor, Sadie will tell him, "Aside from my Jake... you're the best man I've known."
  • Abigail has a solid friendship with Arthur as well. She trusts Arthur with her son more than his own father, and is always grateful when he puts himself on the line to protect the gang.
    Arthur: Be Careful.
    Abigail: I don't have to, I have you as a friend.
  • At the start, John is still pretty distant from his wife and son. Seeing them grow closer over the course of the story can be quite sweet mixed with awesome.
    • Of the many camp events that happen at random, one involves John brushing Jack off when the latter wants to play Greek heroes with him. Much later in the final campsite another random event sees John happily playing along with Jack, swinging sticks as though they were swords at each other, and John encouraging his son with complete earnest.
  • The Old Guard (Dutch, Hosea, and Arthur) going on their fishing trip is pure heartwarming, as the three men reconnect however briefly and enjoy an afternoon together, even if it is sidetracked by Arthur having to capture some escaped felons. The men reminisce about the good times, poke playful fun at each other, and sing bawdy songs as they row their boat back to camp. It captures the sense of family and camaraderie of the gang's early days, even if only for one brief moment.
  • Just about everything to do with little Jack Marston. Not only Children Are Innocent but going by the previous game Abigail mentions Jack seeing Dutch, Bill and the rest of the gang as Honorary Uncles and we see here that was the case and they treated him like family in turn; from Dutch referring to him as "Jackie" and Arthur taking Jack fishing. Particularly when he takes the time to make a flower necklace for Abigail, which she gushes over when he gives it to her. When Jack is kidnapped by the Braithwaites, this garners not only a collective Papa Wolf response from John and Arthur, but the majority of the gang as well, starting a Roaring Rampage of Rescue for Jack. Once he's back, the whole camp celebrates.
    • The celebration involves the whole gang gathering around campfire drinking as Javier plays a tune; afterwards the whole camp is in high spirits, drinking, chatting, and telling stories around the campfire.
    • When the gang rescues Jack, you can be forgiven for assuming that Bronte and his men did horrible things to him. Truth is — they didn’t. In Jack’s own words, he got a fancy suit, two slippers (for both day and nighttime wear), his own room with a toy box and plenty of books; he even goes on to say that Papa Bronte began teaching him Italian and introducing Italian food. These are his kidnappers, yet he talks about them as if they were simply his babysitters.
    • The way Arthur treats Jack before John gets his act together is really sweet too. If you give Jack the thimble he requests, he gives Arthur a "family" picture of the two of them and Abigail,
  • As Arthur is savagely beating a man to death in the middle of Valentine, one of the onlookers intervenes and begs Arthur to stop. What does the man have to gain from stopping Arthur? Absolutely nothing. This townsman just witnesses a complete stranger needing help and gives it because it's the right thing to do.
    • That man is mister Downes. The poor farmer who will give Arthur tuberculosis.
    • How did the fight in question start? Bill ignited a bar fight with his usual hot-headedness. Arthur and other gang members immediately jumped in to give Bill some backups.
    • In conjunction with above: Later on in the game when Arthur is diagnosed with tuberculosis, he passes out in a city only to be revived by a helpful gentleman who leads him to the doctor. This is a random stranger who likely is somewhat aware of Arthur’s activities, yet he’s willing to help Arthur regardless, and with no expectation of monetary gain. Also, if it turns out that Arthur has no money, this stranger is nice enough to give him enough money to cover the cost of the bill.
  • Arthur’s journal entry after helping Penelope Braithwaite in the suffragette rally is quite sweet and shows the softer side of him hidden under the rough exterior.
    On the other hand, I met this poor bastard Gray boy - BEAU - and his forbidden love - MISS PENELOPE - quite the most alive creature I have seen down here. Suddenly, I’m marching as a suffragette. The looks of loathing on the faces of the locals delighted me while their leader - a Mrs Calhoun amused me. I don’t know much about good causes, nor the joys of democracy, but I enjoyed my little experience riding alongside them. World is certainly changing fast.
  • Before the end of the Saint Denis chapter, you can sometimes catch Lenny and Dutch around camp having discussions about literature, politics, and philosophy. Dutch is consistently impressed with Lenny's intelligence and education, and while their debates get heated from time to time, both clearly enjoy them.
    Dutch: Watch out for this one, Arthur! He'd eat you alive!
  • While looking for a new campsite for the gang, Arthur and Charles come across a distressed German family, who tell them the father has been kidnapped by bandits. With some prodding by Charles, Arthur agrees to rescue the father. Not only does the father reward Arthur with a gold bar, but when Arthur passes out from his tuberculosis, the same German family from before takes him off the street and shelters him in their home.
  • Meeting up with Sadie and Charles in the Epilogue. They were two of the people who most deserved to make it out of the gang's collapse alive, and riding with them again is an honor and a pleasure.]
  • In St. Denis, an earnest young woman is raising money for the construction of a shelter for homeless veterans and their families. She asks Arthur for a donation of $20, and should you pay it she's not only touched by your generosity, she asks for Arthur's name. When he gives it, the woman informs him that Arthur's name will be noted and then placed on a founder's plaque once the building is constructed. A small victory, but it ensures Arthur Morgan's name lives on and is fondly remembered by the less fortunate.
    • As John, you can go back to Saint Denis and see the shelter. Arthur's name is on the plaque.
    John: "Arthur Morgan". Why, hello, old friend.
  • After coming back from Guarma to find the gang, it's revealed that while you were gone, Hosea and Lenny's bodies were retrieved from the patrolmen and morgue respectively and given proper burials next to each other, out of love and respect for the men who lost their lives during the botched heist.
  • Bill Williamson, of all people, has one with Arthur. When Micah mocks Morgan for his illness and calls him 'Black Lung', Bill is quick to stand up for his old friend and angrily tells Micah off.
  • During the Epilogue John has the option of tracking down the various characters Arthur helped throughout the game. Even though 7-8 years have passed, they still remember Arthur very fondly, telling John about his adventures from their perspective. It also raises a relieved smile or two that characters like Swanson and Pearson managed to leave the outlaw life behind, dodge the law successfully for years, and reinvent themselves as stable, prosperous members of society.
    • Despite the fact that it should be a Foregone Conclusion that Charles and Sadie will die during the Epilogue, both of them survive, and go on to have what are probably the happiest endings of any character in the series. Sadie heads to South America, pursuing adventure with maybe less of a Death Wish than before. Charles heads to Canada, looking to escape the law for good and, after seeing John with his family, maybe start one of his own.
    • Speaking of Charles, it's also revealed that he was the one who found Arthur's body and buried him and Miss Grimshaw. According to him, he buried Arthur on a quiet hilltop, one that perfectly faces the evening sun, which is "exactly where he would have wanted to be." Even more meaningful is the engraving on Arthur's grave marker, most likely done by Charles himself:
    • John finds Mary-Beth waiting for a train in Valentine after the credits roll. When she tells him she's become a writer, John expresses genuine and excited happiness at her accomplishments, and they take a moment together to remember Arthur.
  • A credits scene shows Mary visiting Arthur's grave, demonstrating that despite everything that happened between them, she still cares for him.
  • John's reunion with Uncle in the Epilogue. He actually gives the old coot a hug.
  • Also from the Epilogue, watching Beecher's Hope slowly take shape as John does his best to leave his outlaw past behind him. He, Charles, and Uncle (supervising, of course) slowly put the home together over the course of months. It's tinged with heartbreak, given what will eventually happen here, but for one brief moment in time the future looks bright for the Marston family and their friends.
    • Soon after this, John's reaction when Abigail and Jack arrive at the ranch after fearing that he drove them away for good. This is quickly followed by John jokingly calling Rufus his "new rival", and Abigail responding with this simple line:
      Abigail: He's loyal, dumb and angry... so he reminded us of you.
    • Regarding Rufus, if you analyze him the information box will say "Rufus is a good boy"
  • After the botched robbery in Saint Denis, the gang is in dire straits. They are saved by two unlikely candidates: Sadie, who started her tenure as a shivering mess, and Swanson, who gets his act together pretty much solely because the gang needs him. They keep the remaining crew together, organize a temporary place to stay and make sure the lost gunslingers get back to them eventually.
  • Arthur's talk with the Nun (if he has high honor and helped Brother Dorkins) is both sad yet also heartwarming. After Arthur tells her how scared he is, the scene takes a heartwarming turn when the Sister tells him that she too has those moments when she doesn't know who or what to believe in...but then she sees Arthur helping those who can't help themselves and remembers that she believes in people like him.
  • In return for John's services in fighting off the Laramie gang, Mr. Geddes hires John as a farmhand, despite him knowing practically nothing about ranching. Geddes also deliberately overlooks John's obvious and shady past as a gunslinger. John rewards Geddes' trust in him with loyalty and hard work, learning the ins and outs of ranching as he goes. By the time John feels he's ready to go off and start his own ranch, Geddes gladly puts in a good word for John at the bank so he can get the loan to purchase Beecher's Hope.
    Geddes: Oh, don't play coy with me son, we need your help. I don't care what you used to do, or what your name is. This is the land of second chances.
  • John's proposal to Abigail is incredibly sweet: he takes her out to a movie in Blackwater, then borrows a boat to take her out on the water (enduring her playful jabs about how he can't swim). He then offers her the ring Arthur once gave to Mary Linton. She accepts and the pair are wed with Uncle, Jack, Charles, and Sadie in attendance. It's a moment in time that's just complete and pure heartwarming.
    • In the lead up to John's proposal, he first suggests they get their picture taken together. Abigail thinks it's a little funny, but goes along with it. While she's running a quick errand, John's left by himself to wait for her, and while he waits, he pulls out a familiar photograph to look at: a younger Arthur and Mary. It's implied that John got the idea to get his and Abigail's picture taken from finding Arthur's picture amongst his belongings.
  • The gang slowly starting to trust and befriend Kieran Duffy, although unfortunately this is cut short by Colm O'Driscoll.
  • Arthur giving Josiah Trelawny his blessing to leave and the fact that Trelawny stayed long enough to say goodbye to Arthur, especially since other members of the gang just leave without a word.
  • John running into Rains Fall, Mary-Beth, Tilly, and Pearson in the epilogue. It's nice to see them living normal lives and catching up with John.
  • Seeing that despite settling down in Rhodes and getting married, Pearson still keeps the photo of his outlaw family. It's a very touching gesture of just how much the gang meant to its members and that despite the gruesome and savage end, there were good memories to be cherished.
  • When Uncle is kidnapped by the Skinners, John goes to save him without a second thought. For all their bickering, he clearly does care for the old man.
  • After spending nearly his whole adult life with the gang, living on the edge of society and being told that civilization is uncaring and cruel, a random stranger in St. Denis helps Arthur to a doctor when he is seized by a coughing fit, and even gives him money for the doctor's services. Despite the tragedy of his diagnosis, it's nice to see that the world isn't as cruel as Dutch made it out to be.
  • The relationship between Penelope Braithwaite and Beau Gray. They're seemingly the only family members with any common sense, as they know how pointless and destructive the two families feud has been to the town and they've been carrying out a secret relationship. Arthur agrees to help the two of them escape from their cousins so they can go to the city and live a better life together. It's touching that Arthur despite being a dead man walking because of his disease takes time out to help the two escape and live a better life, likely out of regret for not running off with Mary when he had the chance.
    • Turns out Penelope and Beau aren't the first members of the Feuding Families to fall in love. In the swamp north of San Denis is a lockbox with a faded letter dated 1806 from one Lucile Braithwaite to one Douglas Gray. The two not only fell in love and eloped but stole the family gold and used it to help fund people in Congress who were fighting to stop the importation of slaves to the country.
  • After Abigail returns at the end of the Epilogue, a random event may trigger where Uncle makes Abigail cry by sincerely telling her that it's all thanks to her that John finally went legit and that she is the greatest woman he has ever known.
  • As much of a Tear Jerker moment that it is, Eagle Flies doesn't die angry at his father. Instead of resenting him and insulting him like he does before the raid in "My Last Boy", he smiles up at Rains Fall and holds his hand before passing away.
  • If the player chooses to help Edith and Archie Downes in Chapter 6, a newspaper in the epilogue reveals that they used the money Arthur gave them to open up a successful golf course.
  • When Arthur decides to take Sadie out shopping with him to get supplies and post a letter for Pearson, she decides to read it. She's pissed at him for forcing her to do work that she considers below her. She imitates Pearson's voice and reads it, all ready to make fun of him. But she stops when she reads that he hopes Aunt Cathy is doing better, she skips past it saying it's "boring". But you can hear in her voice Sadie actually felt bad about that, and didn't wanna mock it.
  • If you reach 100%, John is seen visiting Arthur's grave. As "Crash of Worlds" (a reprise of "Unshaken") plays in the background, John writes on Arthur's journal and says "Guess we're just about done, my friend." If you check the journal, you'll see that unlike most of the mediocre-to-average drawings of John, it's actually a very beautiful drawing of Arthur's grave with what he said written on it. Just a reminder to you that John wouldn’t be where and who he is without the help of his brother Arthur.
    • Even better is that if Arthur helped a lot of people by the time his Honor Meter reached "High Honor", then it is shown that they have returned the favor by planting flowers next to his otherwise barren gravestone through the years since he died.
  • In the last set of debt collection missions, one of the people Arthur has to collect from is a deserting soldier named J John Weathers. After he and Arthur fight off a group of soldiers out to kill Weathers we see why he was deserting in the first place when his Native American wife (who also happens to be heavily pregnant) comes out of hiding to embrace him. Weathers then offers a silver locket to repay the debt. If Arthur chooses to absolve it, we get this exchange:
    Arthur: Damn the debt. Just get her somewhere safe.
    Weathers: Thank you, feller. You know there ain't enough kindness in this world, that's for sure. But you...
    Arthur: I don't know nothin' about kindness.
    • If you have high honor during Arthur's last ride, he'll remember that line from Weathers, showing that it did mean something to him after all.
      • Also, if you saved Jimmy Brooks from certain death in one of the first missions of Chapter 2 ("Polite Society, Valentine Style"), not only do you get a pen from him (along with the Honor increase), but he will also be the first voice you hear in Arthur's last ride in High Honor mode, professing his gratitude to you for saving him earlier.
  • A high Honor Arthur who acts to protect John makes a last declaration that's equal parts Tear Jerker and heartwarming:
    Arthur: "I'm coming with you. I'm gonna get you out of this bullshit, if it's the last goddamn thing I do!"
  • If you played Arthur on the straight and narrow path all the way to the end (and helped John escape), then the ending can count as equal parts heartwarming and Tear Jerker. Having been critically wounded and left to die alone by Micah, Arthur gets up and takes the time to spend his final moments alone on the summit of Grizzlies East by crawling over toward the edge of a cliff and huddling himself close to a large rock, content that his efforts to get John to safety are all Worth It and no longer afraid of dying. He uses his final minutes to relax and, as his TB begins suffocating him to the point of drowning in liquidized lung blood, he turns his head east to catch the final glimpses of the beautiful sunrise as his breathing is slowing down, before he lets out his final breath as his eyes gently close for the last time, rendering him Peaceful in Death. We see a final glimpse of a beautiful buck for a good ten seconds as it looks toward the camera from eating the grass before returning, followed by two more scenes of white-bright light on the mountains. All set to the angelic version of "Crash of Worlds". It's almost as if we, the players, are sending Arthur to heaven with a bit of a smile on our faces, with flights of sunrise angels singing him to his eternal rest.
  • When little Jack goes missing. It's heartwarming to see Dutch go all Papawolf.
  • At the end of Chapter 6, Arthur gives John his satchel, among other things, before either heading back in an attempt to get the money, or holding off the Pinkertons in an attempt to allow John to escape. Some years later, in the Epilogue, when John can finally use the satchel, the first thing players might notice is a distinct lack of food, which might have numbered in the hundreds, if not thousands of items, depending upon if Arthur had the Legend of the East Satchel. While this might be a bit frustrating, because John now has to restock his provisions, one thing to have in mind is this, despite having a price on their heads, John and his family still needed to eat, so, in all likelihood, it's possible that, by having placed that much food in his satchel, Arthur saved John and his family after his death.
  • After the Epilogue, if John sets out to finish the items craftable by the Trapper, and is in need of cow hides, and the like, one place he won't kill any livestock at is the Pronghorn Ranch. While this might be annoying to the player who'd been counting on some easy kills, it's nice to see that John respects Mr. Geddes enough that, even if he was thoroughly dishonorable, he won't harm the livelihood of the one who helped him get on his feet.

     Strangers & Side Quests 
  • Some random encounters can have you meet the people you helped later and they'll repay you for your kindness. One guy was bitten by a rattlesnake and you can help him by giving him a health tonic or sucking out the venom. Later, you see him in Valentine and he thanks you by purchasing anything you want from the gunsmith.
  • One of the Stranger missions has Arthur helping a widow named Charlotte after her husband was killed by a bear. The poor woman's from the city and knows damn near nothing about fending for herself, so Arthur takes it upon himself to teach her how to hunt so she can survive in the wild. It's very heartwarming, in a weird way, to watch Arthur teach her how to skin a rabbit (he actually has her do it while instructing her how) and how to use a gun properly.
    • In the second half of her sidequest, when Arthur's tuberculosis causes him to collapse while having a meal with her, not only does she let him sleep in her home, but she tells him in a letter to take the money she's left for him in the jewel box and to always stay true to himself.
  • Arthur's relationship with the animal photographer Albert Mason is this, they seemed to genuinely get along.
    • Albert himself is an example of this. His motivations for wanting to photograph real wildlife out West comes not from a desire to cynically exploit the West, but a genuine love for nature and a desire to raise awareness for the nascent conservation movement. He's aghast but understanding when Arthur has to kill wolves in self-defense, and photographs alligators to raise public awareness of their near-extinction. His only real flaws are that he's clearly in over his head and self-depreciating to a fault.
    • You can encounter a giant in a cave who is terrified of other people, but he warms up to Arthur and if you come to revisit him he will thank for taking time to come and see him.
  • One Stranger mission has Arthur meeting and quickly befriending a Civil War veteran named Hamish, who (despite being handicapped) is a Cool Old Guy who doesn't let anything get him down. He and Arthur spend time together talking about stuff, fishing, and hunting wolves together. Sadly, the final part of this mission has Hamish being gored to death by a wild boar, and Arthur avenges Hamish's death by shooting the boar. Plus, before he dies, Hamish asks Arthur to take care of his horse Buell for him. The thing that keeps this from being a flat-out Downer Ending is Arthur saying this line after he shoots the boar:
    "We got him, old man."
    • If you visit Hamish in later missions as John, John will inform Hamish that Arthur had died. Hamish can only nod solemnly and remark on how he and Arthur had become good friends before the latter's death. In the final mission, depending on how many you did as Arthur, Hamish will fondly list off some of the trophies hanging in his house as being Arthur's work.
  • You might encounter a man in Strawberry proclaiming that he knows the path to salvation, and that any can be saved if they do exactly as he says. If you stop to hear him out, it turns out that he's not another conman trying to manipulate the weak and the desperate, as he tells you that all you need to do to find salvation is to be kind to other people and try to do more good than bad.

  • In the Polygon article entitled "What Red Dead Redemption 2 gets right about having a terminal disease", one author, Eirik Gumeny, writes that he learned to avoid characters he could relate to when he was growing up with another terminal disease (cystic fibrosis), "as they never seemed to exist as people." But when he played RDR2 and discovered that it would end with Arthur Morgan dying of tuberculosis, it turned out that Arthur was facing the same difficult situations Eirik had experienced when he had CF; but that, like Eirik, the disease is a part of Arthur, not the other way around. The article ends on a positive note:
    "Red Dead Redemption 2 never defines Arthur Morgan by his tuberculosis. He is shown to be more than his disease, despite the omnipresence of his symptoms and the fully realized world reacting to his ever-worsening illness. He has power over his own life, and his personality doesn't begin and end with his illness. [...] I finished Red Dead Redemption 2 a few weeks ago, and I left Arthur on that mountaintop, bloody and broken. But Arthur Morgan is still with me. [...] Arthur will always be there to remind me that I am more than my disease. That there are still things left to do. That, while I may not always be here, I am for now, and that means there’s still time to get to work."
  • As mentioned in the Tearjerker page, John O'Creagh, Uncle's original voice actor, died in 2016, before the prequel was made. The lake called O'Creagh's Run in Ambarino, that was named after him.

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