Red Dead Redemption 2: 10 Best Stranger Missions You Must Find –
Not to be confused with honour missions or the litany of various side-interactions littered throughout the world of Red Dead Redemption 2, Stranger Missions – those colourful, random interactions that occur throughout the game – are surprisingly vital to Arthur Morgan’s journey. They intersect with the main story in surprising and at times devastating fashion, and thusly contribute to the growing sense that Red Dead 2 has revolutionised open world storytelling – for better, or for worse.
But, as with all open world games, some encounters are better than others. This largely stems from the way in which Red Dead seamlessly transforms its additional content into an ancillary pillar of Morgan’s story, which leaves some encounters feeling decidedly less significant, on top of those that pretty much serve as the narrative basis to justify the world’s collectibles – of which there are many.
Pretty much every player’s Red Dead experience will be unique to them, and that’s duly reflected in the way stranger encounters impact Arthur throughout the game. Regardless of their varying influence, however, one thing is absolutely clear: you’re going to want to do them all.*
*(These 10 are the best though.)
10. The Artist’s Way – Saint Denis
Charles Châtenay may only be the second best Charles in Red Dead’s story, but his Stranger Mission, entitled The Artist’s Way, is well worth seeing to its end.
Arthur first encounters Charles – a womanising, hard drinking artiste – at a bar in Saint Denis, where he’s drunk, and begins to proclaim his frustrations during his career. His work was considered too provocative in France and, as a result, he’s found himself in Red Dead’s Louisiana equivalent. He presents Arthur with a scribble (one that would later grow to fetch a hefty price once he attains fame), before the player again encounters him at varying points from Chapter 4 onwards; he gets into fights, sleeps his way around town, and eventually finds himself with no other option but to flee to a tropical paradise – dressed as a lady.
Charles is one of the funnier characters found in Red Dead Redemption 2’s decidedly depressing third act, but those who see his journey to the end won’t be left disappointed. He’s an eccentric character, but he’s also one of the few genuine friends Arthur makes outside of camp.
9. The Iniquities Of History – Rhodes
By the time Dutch’s Gang make their way down south, it’s clear that they’re not overly enthused at the prospect of relocating. The scars of the Civil War still linger, and Lemoyne – with its familial disputes, incest, and Ku Klux Klan rallies – is decidedly noton brand with Dutch’s anti-establishment family.
This perception carries through to The Iniquities of History Stranger Mission, which Arthur finds while in Rhodes. There, he encounters a drunken man in a stupor outside the station, called Jeremiah Compson. He’s old, and lamenting his current, jobless state. Arthur then takes it upon himself to retrieve three of the man’s possessions: a journal, his old pistol and a pocket watch, located at a nearby household.
Arthur finds the house just outside the town, and enters. There, a picture begins to form of what exactly Compson did for a living, and why exactly he’s out of employment…
8. The Smell Of The Grease Paint – Van Horn
The Smell of the Grease Paint certainly fits the bill for a ‘strange mission’, with Arthur encountering a clan of travelling performers just south of the mining town of Annesburg.
At the Saloon, Arthur will encounter a large man called Bertram, and a woman called Miss Marjorie. The latter is in distress at the prospect of one of her band having gone missing, while the former attempts to entertain himself at the bar. Eventually, he gets into a fight with the barkeep, which leads to Arthur’s intervention.
Once Bertram’s been dealt with, Marjorie asks Arthur to find her other performer – a magician by the name of Magnifico. Eventually, should the player choose to return to Saint Denis, they can actually watch a show starring the group, which is icing on the cake.
7. Help A Brother Out & Brothers And Sisters – Saint Denis
Although this is technically cheating, owing to the fact that these are actually two separate stranger encounters, both involve Brother Dorkins.
Red Dead immediately paints Saint Denis as a horrifying monolith of civilisation, so it comes as no surprise that, by the time Arthur and Dutch are first making their way through the city, it becomes apparent that it harbours a seedy underbelly. It is with this in mind that Arthur encounters Brother Dorkins, a monk stationed at the Saint Denis church collecting donations for the poor. He reveals that Saint Denis is the hub for a particularly ugly deed, and points Morgan to a specific location.
Following this, Dorkins can then be spotted a few days later, rewarding the player with a unique piece of dialogue as the game draws to a close. It’s a wonderful, reaffirming sequence that can speak to Morgan’s desire to help as many as he can (depending on how you play), and it’s all made possible by these two stranger encounters.
6. The Wisdom Of The Elders – Butcher Creek
Chapter Six of Red Dead is dominated by the lawless north-easterly region of the map, where the Murfree Brood roam the hills, and hillbilly communities reside. It’s in this context that Arthur comes across The Wisdom of the Elders Stranger Mission, which involves yokel superstition, a shadowy manipulator, and an industrial conspiracy.
The Wisdom of the Elders can first be found as Arthur makes his way past Butcher Creek. There, he encounters a community of sickly looking villagers spooked by a “curse”, of sorts. Further investigation sees Arthur discovers a nearby mining site, leading to a revelation in regards to the river by Butcher Creek, that quickly spirals out of control.
5. A Bright Bouncing Boy – Saint Denis
Marko Dragic, RDR2’s Nikola Tesla-esque analogue, is one of the game’s very best strangers. He can be found by the Saint Denis pond testing his new invention (a remote-controlled boat by any other name), and forces Arthur to provide a demonstration for some rich investors. Upon completing this, Marko asks that Arthur visit him in his lab sometime in the future, which is located towards the very peak near Annesburg.
However, the player can only visit Marko’s lab at night, at which point it becomes clear the scientist is experimenting with lightning. Seeing Dragic’s genius in action, you eventually uncover Marko’s creation: A robot.
This is where things get really interesting.
If the player waits a day or two, and then returns, he’ll find Dragic dead on the floor, and the robot missing. This unlocks a secret Trophy/Achievement, and if you venture up into the New Hannover mountains, you’ll find something even more tragic.
4. Charlotte The Widow – Annesburg
Upon travelling up north from Annesburg, Arthur will find a woman crying at a grave in the middle of the forest. It soon becomes apparent that the grave belongs to her husband, who recently passed away in a bear attack, having travelled to the area to escape the doldrum and security of high society living. Taking pity upon Charlotte, the player slowly but surely teaches her how to survive and live off the land, beginning first with a hunting lesson, and then with a shooting one.
One nap later, Arthur eventually wakes up to see that Charlotte has gone out hunting of her own volition. If the player returns later, they’ll find that her homestead has turned into a thriving home, complete with flowers, and with an occupant who now knows how to handle herself.
It’s a beautiful mission, and very much exemplifies an honourable Arthur’s determination to do good in the world.
Definitely seek it out if you haven’t already.
3. American Dreams – South Of Valentine
Considering the relatively optimistic nature of Red Dead’s second chapter, you’d be forgiven for thinking that American Dreams feels just a little bit out of place. However, it’s also a mission that is completely hidden out of the way, and requires the player to treat a normal ‘X’ on the map as something worth investigating.
Should the player do so, they’ll be treated to the dismembered corpse of a very unfortunate individual. They’re missing legs, will most likely be disemboweled and their head will be perched nearby with a map hidden inside. Should the player encounter all these locales (one just south of Valentine, the other near Catfish Jackson’s in Lemoyne and the other just outside of Emerald Ranch), they’ll be able to track down Red Dead Redemption 2’s serial killer, an eccentric fellow who goes by the name of Edmund Lowry Jr.
It’s grisly, disturbing stuff. Especially as you descend into Lowry’s hideout…
2. Noblest Of Men, And A Woman – Valentine
A prime example of a Stranger Mission that perfectly marries exploration with storytelling, Noblest of Men, and a Woman is one of the very best missions in Red Dead Redemption 2, for two precise reasons: first, it exemplifies the story’s anti-western beats with a striking condemnation of the period’s mythology; and secondly, it serves as another means of conveying Arthur Morgan’s impact on those around him.
The missions themselves are both challenging and enjoyable, providing players with some neat throwbacks to the gunslinging of the Old West whilst at the same time providing some clever commentary on its fiction. Arthur shovels hog-crap, fends off bounty hunters and even gets involved in a few duels along the way – all in the name of completing Theodore Levin’s book on legendary gunslinger Jim “Boy” Calloway.
Morgan is promised proceeds from the book upon its publication, which he asks to be sent to Tacitus Kilgore – a setup that lets you collect a share of the profitslater in the game.
1. The Veteran – New Hannover
And thus we come to the most heartbreaking Stranger Mission of the lot: The Veteran.
As Arthur begins to make his way east towards the Annesburg area, he’ll come across a legless veteran slumped by some rocks called Hamish. Speak to him, and it turns out that his leg separated on his horse, Buell, who’d bolted at the site of a snake. Arthur takes it upon himself to find Buell, and Hamish fast becomes a genuine friend, representing one of the few genuine connections Arthur makes outside of Dutch’s Gang.
Of course, being Rockstar, things don’t all go smoothly, but depending on your choices, the loveable steed Buell – that “moody, magnificent horse” – can be ridden across Arthur’s entire story.