Blackwater is an industrialized settlement and is the largest and most modernised city in Red Dead Redemption, serving the area as a thriving port on Flat Iron Lake. It features cobblestone streets with gas streetlamps, the earliest mass-produced Automobiles, and telephone lines. The city has also been the site of a bloody gunfight dubbed "The Blackwater Massacre" of 1899. The massacre was apparently a bloody gunfight involving Landon Ricketts, who was the only known survivor of the incident. Some 22 outlaws and 15 lawmen are said to have perished during the battle.
The town is home to a fairly diverse population and a fairly diverse variety in neighborhoods. At the south of Blackwater, the town is less developed, with older buildings, slum houses, a couple of industrial properties and even a few plots of farmland. In contrast, the north of the town is not only home to Blackwater Plaza, the root of the city's economy and the state's government, but also fancy businesses and hotels, and one road leading out of the city (towards the Chapel) populated with larger homes for the wealthiest residents of Blackwater.
In terms of population, there is a wide variety in terms of wealth and ethnicity. A majority of the population is of Caucasian origins, however a significant amount of ethnic minorities, including Chinese and African-Americans, reside in the town. In terms of wealth, the city has populations of wealthy (mainly concentrated towards the north) and poor (mainly located in the south), but also has a noticeable middle-class population.
The town is the biggest example of the modernization of the west, with new technology (most notably automobiles) coming into prominence. It represents the big city life which many families opted for in the early-1900s as the West was becoming more and more industrialized. Throughout the game, there are many examples of people, particularly in the Western towns like Armadillo in New Austin, speaking of how in the East there is more development, and city life is becoming more prominent.
A chapel, surrounded by a large cemetery, is found on the hill overlooking Blackwater situated on the outskirts of the town. The chapel and cemetery feature in various missions and game modes as noted in the "Background" sections that follow.
Blackwater is the only town in Red Dead Redemption with notable street names. The names of the streets are:
- Main Street
- Wapiti Avenue
- Tallulah Place
- Quayside Road
- Van Horn Street
- Sisika Avenue
- Wakhanknee Drive (Starts at the end of Sisika Avenue)
Most of the streets are cobbled and the ones leading out of town turn from paved to dirt.
Compared to other settlements in the game, Blackwater features a more modern, structured law enforcement system, complete with a uniformed police unit and modern ranks. The Blackwater Police Department is by far the most effective law enforcement system in the game, with modern weaponry, large numbers of men and superior tactics, meaning that any hostile attacker or wrongdoer in the town will face severe opposition.
Red Dead Redemption
Blackwater becomes accessible once the player has gained access to West Elizabeth. It is by far the biggest sign of increasing government control and technology the player can see in the game. The only specific event known in its history is the aforementioned Blackwater Massacre, a large gunfight involving Landon Ricketts in 1899. The bloody gunfight apparently became an infamous event in Wild West history, and presumably led to the strengthening of the town law enforcement and the evolution of Blackwater from a frontier village into a pre-modern settlement.
The Stranger side-mission "American Lobbyist" begins and ends in the gazebo in Blackwater Plaza, with a quick trip into the Bank. The Stranger side-mission "The Wronged Woman" begins in the chapel and ends in the chapel's cemetery, with a trip to the Blackwater Saloon in between. The saloon is also where the Stranger side-mission "The Prohibitionist" begins and ends. The final Stranger side-mission "Remember My Family" begins here outside the Train Station.
During Undead Nightmare, this is one of 23 locations that must be cleared of the Undead and then protected from re-infestation thereafter. Three survivors are found defending the town, including local Gunsmith Elmer Purdy (the other two men appear to be Missing Persons Grover Boone and Orison Pratt). Other survivors found in story missions include Harold MacDougal, Mordecai Robbard's niece, Silas, Connie McTavish, Lucille Billingsgate, Archibald Andrews and Doreen and her family, stuck on the rooftop of a store. There are a total of twelve survivors in the town.
Despite its large size, it is arguably one of the easiest towns to rescue, with only Cochinay having smaller hordes of undead to deal with.
The mission "Curious Tales from Blackwater" initiates here and the cemetery outside the chapel needs to be cleansed as part of this mission. After cleansing the cemetery, the player can choose to revisit it to clear it out again at later dates.
Marston's safehouse during Undead Nightmare is in the Blackwater Hotel, rather than in the saloon as in the main game.
Several Multiplayer game modes are available at Blackwater. None are available with the original game, however. All require DLCs, as noted below.
- Requires Legends and Killers DLC
- Requires Liars and Cheats DLC
- Requires Undead Nightmare DLC
- First National Bank, operated by Harmon Weinstein.
- Blackwater Hotel
- Blackwater Police Department, building also doubles as a headquarters for the Bureau of Investigation.
- Doctor's Office, owned and operated by Dr. Cyril Purvis.
- General Store, operated by Norris Laskey.
- Gunsmith, owned and operated by Elmer Purdy.
- Newspapers can be purchased next to the train station, in front of the plaza or outside the saloon.
- Safehouse, located on the 2nd floor of the saloon, unlocked during the story.
- Saloon, owned by Oliver Philips, operated by Milford Weaver and Fannie Howard.
- Stagecoach, found across from the train station.
- Tailor, owned and operated by E.H. Kretzschmar.
- Theatre, operated by Stanley Palmer.
- Train Station, provides travel via trains, also contains a telegraph office, operated by Stonewall Ellington, where Marston can pay off his bounties.
- Wanted Posters can be found on a board inside the train station.
- † = Note: There are two poker locations in Blackwater, one is in the saloon below the player's safehouse, and the other is a high-stakes game room in the Blackwater Hotel, the last building on the right going north up Main St. from the Blackwater Saloon. The game room is upstairs, but the player can only enter it, and thus the game, when wearing the Gentleman's Attire.
- When you go toward the other entrance (the one without a train tacks), if you go through the area of the Gunsmith's store, and if you do it correctly, there should be a few houses with a hitching post at one of them, it should be looking towards the exit. At one specific area, if you ride your horse while it's running, it should jump over an invisible fence, if you dismount your horse and take a walk towards the exact same area, you walk straight through it. This can be done with both John and Jack Marston.
- Just north of the Blackwater station on the section of rail that curves round to the west is a telegraph pole that has been positioned incorrectly, it is actually placed on the rail. Given the circumstances this could lead to a glitch if riding the train and colliding with the pole while the train is moving, although the train itself merely passes through it.
- Any NPC can be shot by the law if the law sees them shoot you. The law will generally come when they hear a gun go off. The Squares will only take one shot to kill.
- It is possible when entering the movie theater, that no movie will play and the player cannot exit the screen, forcing him to restart the entire game in order to move on with the story
- If a player goes to the back side of the police station, upon shooting the door on the second story (above the metal walkway), they can see that the sky is visible through the now opened doorway, despite the fact that the door leads into the building. This may be due to the fact that this door is used in the singleplayer mission "Great Men are Not Always Wise" to access the roof overlooking the bank, and it was overlooked by the developers when being added to Multiplayer.
- The player can still get inside the bank when it's closed at night. To do so, the player will need to break the window to the left of the front door, and just jump through it, the player will be inside the bank with no interior, and the player can look through the walls. To get out, just open the door as it opens when the player climbs in. As of June 2014 this glitch has been patched.
- In the saloon, if the player sprints down the staircase and immediately pushes someone either playing blackjack, or at least in the vicinity of the table, it is sometimes possible to glitch-teleport anywhere in the area. Quite possible locations include the room behind the bar (with the locked door) and even a high distance in the sky resulting in a long drop and death.
- There is a way to get to the upstairs of the bank. The player must get a stagecoach, line it up at the back of the building so that the driver's side is closer to the wall, shoot all the horses, and Marston will be forced to get off the coach. He should go through the wall and end up on the stairs that lead to the second floor (Note: If the player doesn't go through the wall, then the player didn't get close enough to the building). This lets the player get to the room where Dutch Van Der Linde shot the bank teller. If the player goes into that room, there will be no interior.
- Randomly while riding into Blackwater on the player's horse, the player will find that its horse is on top of a roof. When jumping off of the roof, the horse will die. (Multiplayer confirmed only)
- There's a house where the player can get in by breaking the window, but inside the player will not find anything but empty space. Get to the southernmost house on Blackwater, break the window from the left door and jump it.
- When looking through the windows of the Blacksmith, the opposite walls disappear.
- In the Blackwater Hotel, in one of the random rooms there is a window that if the player shoots it or even walks into it, it will pop off the wall. The player can then push the window anywhere they want.
- If the big window is partially broken at the Blackwater Saloon the player can simply jump through the unbroken parts of the window without it smashing like other windows in Red Dead Redemption. This also occurs with the two main windows at the Blackwater Hotel.
- The roof of the under cover area at the train station isn't actually there. This is proven when the player climbs up on the water tank situated at the station to the right and then jump on to the roof of the under covered area, the player will simply pass right through the roof.
- Sometimes when entering the Blackwater gun store while the area has not fully loaded, the interior may not load at all. If this occurs in the evening when the stores close, the clerk will not be able to exit the store.
- In Undead Nightmare, Blackwater will randomly, and without warning, become a lost town. It will give the player no notification of an attack prior.
- The word "Blackwater" doesn't appear on the Undead Nightmare map, unless activated by mods.
- The in-game town seems to look almost exactly like the real-life Blackwater, Missouri. Satellite imagery reveals that the town layout is the same, even the cobblestone streets, railroad, and telegraph station are replicated correctly.
- Blackwater appears to be very forward-thinking for the time as far as human rights. For example, African-American's can be seen in police uniform, and Chinese people like Sam Wah; owner and operator of the Chinese Laundry, Jung Fook-Sing, and Wong Bing work in businesses. This is most likely because of Blackwater's considerable size and immigrant influence in comparison to other towns and settlements found in the game.
Red Dead Redemption
- There was originally a steamboat docked at Blackwater, and its sole function was to serve as a floating casino, the likes of which were common in the era. Evidence of this can been seen in the "Life in the West" pre-release trailer, and also in the dialogue exchanged between Marston and Elizabeth Thornton during the Stranger mission "The Wronged Woman" wherein she says "I knew his frequenting that gambling boat would be the death of him."
- In one of the Newspapers it says that Blackwater will host a Wild West Show.
- There is a building in Blackwater that is humorously named "Allthewaye Inn".
- There is a car beside an auto business in Blackwater. Apart from two missions, this is the only other encounter with a car in the whole game.
- E.H. Kretzschmar, the tailor in Blackwater, shares the same glitch as Herbert Moon. When the player attacks him and pulls a gun out, he will start shooting at the player, causing him to be shot by the law. Like Herbert Moon, it takes about fifty shots for him to die.
- Blackwater is the only place in the game where seagulls are located, however, they can be heard at Nosalida.
- The cemetery contains a tombstone of a man called Harrison Cherry who died on December 7, 1968, at age 24, over 57 years after the game takes place. It may be a reference to George Harrison's Guitar "Cherry".
- The cemetery also contains a tombstone of a man called Clinton Underwood, so it most likely is a reference to Clint Eastwood, an actor who starred in many western movies.
- The cemetery contains many humorous messages on the gravestones, such as, "Delilah Gaskell 1852 - 1891 WAKE ME IF SOMETHING INTERESTING HAPPENS".
- The priest in the chapel bears a striking resemblance to Francis Gallagher, the doctor at Thieves' Landing. He also gives a full Sunday morning church service.
- There are two buildings that are not shown on the map, one is just a wood frame, the other appears to be owned by the B.O.I. and doesn't have much in it.
- If the player completes "New Friends, Old Problems" and uses the Jack Attack cheat, 'OH MY SON, MY BLESSED SON' and rides straight to Blackwater via horse, they can see the Morningstar steamboat that John travelled on during the opening sequence. However, if you try to walk on the bridges leading to it, you will fall through them. But the boat can be walked on.
- In Undead Nightmare at a later point in the game, almost every building is marked with a "U" or the word "Unclean", usually near the front door of buildings.
- In Undead Nightmare, Blackwater is the only town to have apocalyptic messages written in places.
- Some of the messages mentioned above are referencing John himself or other characters in the game. Such messages are "I am your old friend, amnesia", said by John to Irish in the mission, "On Shaky's Ground". Another message is "You do so love to talk in riddles", a quote said by Bonnie MacFarlane on account of John's strange way of explaining his mission to kill Bill Williamson to her. An example of another character is "Our time has passed", said by Dutch Van Der Linde before he commits suicide. And a reference to Nigel West Dickens is written "I know a cure for all ailments".
- Strangely enough, in Undead Nightmare the player can sometimes hear Seagulls and Dogs, but the player cannot find any.
- In Undead Nightmare, Blackwater is usually be the first town to be lost.
Red Dead Redemption
Blackwater is associated with the following Trophies/Achievements:
Uncover every location on the map in Single Player.
Attain 100% List in the singleplayer game completion list.
Have every territory saved at the same time during the Undead Nightmare
Attain 100% Game Completion statistic in Undead Nightmare.