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Perhaps the best word to describe John Marston would be “pitiable.” In Red Dead Redemption, he has a few deep scars across his face — likely sustained during the botched heist that is the inciting event for Red Dead Redemption 2 — and he always seems to be the unlucky one when it comes to jobs that go awry. (His fellow gang members leave him for dead when he gets shot during a failed robbery in 1906, which is what leads him to ditch the outlaw life in the first place.)
He lives peacefully as a reformed man over the next five years, a period during which his unnamed daughter dies. Then, in 1911, Bureau of Investigation agents abduct his wife and son, setting off a chain of events that will lead to his demise before the age of 40.
Although Marston spent his prime years as an outlaw in the Van der Linde Gang, he is an honorable man with a keen sense of morality.
How Many Endings Does RDR 2 Have?
In total, Red Dead Redemption 2 has four distinct endings. Three of those endings are easy to come by, based entirely on a choice you make towards the end of the game. Let’s set the stage: gang leader Dutch Van der Linde has finally gone too far, causing Arthur Morgan and original Red Dead Redemption protagonist John Marston to part ways with him. Arthur has also discovered that Micah Bell is a mole, offering information about the gang to the Pinkertons.
It comes down to Arthur and John in a pitched shootout with Dutch’s gang and the Pinkertons. You have the option to help John out of the situation and back to his family, or to try and grab the money from the Blackwater job.
Good Ending – Honorable or Dishonorable
If you choose to help John out of the situation, you’ll get this ending. This sees Arthur and John heading to higher ground in order to find a way out of the gun battle below. At this point in the game, Arthur is in the later stages of his tuberculosis. With their pursuers hot on their heels, Arthur sends John away while he draws them in, giving his life for John’s family.
In the end, Van der Linde gang traitor Micah Bell and Arthur fight it out on the mountaintop. In the latter stages of the fight, Dutch intervenes; Micah and Arthur make pleas for Dutch’s soul.
There’s one more fork in the road though. If your Honor meter is high, Arthur will point out that he tried to become a better man. Dutch ultimately leaves them both, unable to choose between them. Bell leaves in anger and Arthur succumbs to his tuberculosis on the mountaintop, watching the sun rise.
If you’re on the low end of the Honor meter, Arthur states that both he and Bell are horrible people. Bell kills Morgan with a gun shot to the head.
If you choose to go back for the money, Arthur heads back to the burning camp of the Van der Linde gang. He gets the money, but Micah Bell ambushes him. The pair end up having a knife fight in the camp, with Micah gaining the upper hand and stabbing Arthur.
Once again, Dutch appears and Arthur fingers Micah as the Pinkerton rat. Dutch leaves, stunned at how the gang turned out. Micah stabs a crawling Arthur in the back, finally killing him.
Much like the first game, Red Dead Redemption 2 has an extensive epilogue. In this tale, you play as John Marston out for revenge against surviving traitor Micah Bell. It’s been a few years, but Marston, alongside fellow outlaws Sadie Adler and Charles Smith, tracks down Bell in the mountains. After a fight, Adler and Marston have Micah at gunpoint, only for Dutch to appear with weapons aimed at both.
Micah uses the surprise to take Sadie hostage, while John tries to convince Dutch that siding with Micah is the wrong play. Dutch responds by shooting Micah, giving John the chance to pump him full of lead. Dutch then silently leaves.
John and Sadie leave with the Blackwater money, returning to John’s ranch, where Abigail, Jack, and Uncle are waiting. This marks the final end of the story of Red Dead Redemption 2.