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|Hold it right there, outlaw!|
This article is littered with spoilers, so I reckon you might ought'a mosey on down the road if you don't want to read any plot details.
Sheriff Bartlett's Journal contains an article from the newspaper "The Londoner" which tells Jack's story before the events of the game. He was born in Sandhurst, England (as he says in his multiplayer selection quote) and was raised an Englishman. He mentions that he played rugby as a young man. However, he became a bank robber and after robbing a London bank, escaped minutes before a hanging party on a boat for America. As a sharpshooter, he gained fame in the United States, and was contacted by ringmaster Preston O'Leary, who asked Jack to join his circus as a tricks sharpshooter. Jack accepted, but before joining O'Leary was killed in an "accidental" fire, and Professor Perry took control.
While Red heads back to Brimstone to collect his bounty for Pig Josh, Jack heads off to Widow's Patch to confront Perry. During the mission "Freak Show" the player gets to play as Jack as he confronts Perry and his henchmen. This is the only time Jack is a playable character during the story.
Red meets Jack again in the Battle Royale, where both men are participants. Following the conclusion of the event, Jack helps Red to assault Governor Griffon's Mansion during the missions "Siege" and "House of Cards". Jack's skill at picking locks is an asset during the assault.
Jack's fate at the end of the battle is unknown; when Red asked Annie and Buffalo Soldier about Jack, the two looked down with sad expressions, which strongly hints that he died. However, it is also possible that Jack managed to survive the situation and made a quick and silent exit for the retirement he desired.
Jack Swift is available as a playable character in Showdown Mode. His character is available from the start of the game and does not need to be unlocked. His unique attack allows him to quickly shoot all rounds into one target with enhanced accuracy.
Sheriff Bartlett's Journal
Jack Swift is listed in Sheriff Bartlett's Journal on pages 8 - 13 under the Heroes section. The pages are available from the start of the game and do not need to be unlocked.
Red Dead Redemption
Jack is mentioned along with Red Harlow in Red Dead Redemption during a campfire segment. The person telling the story believes that Jack is still alive. This is the only nod to Jack in the original release of the game.
- “Never mess with a Sandhurst Boy!”
- — Jack Swift, upon selecting him on the Multiplayer character roster
Red Dead Redemption Multiplayer
- "You disgusting, bloody, plebeians!"
- "You shall feel my displeasure."
- "You're lower than the dirt on my brogue, riff-raff!"
- "I say, this is all a bit bloody much, what?"
- "I'll give you a lesson in manners you won't forget!"
- "I know the Marquess of Queensbury Rules."
- "We are not amused."
- "I'll have you roundly beaten from this place."
- "You really are a complete arse."
- "One English gentlemen is worth ten of your colonial peasantry."
- "I used to play rugby, you know."
- "Degenerates! Low lives! Pond slime!"
- "Tally ho, you bloody peasants!"
- "For King and country!"
- "Do none of you speak the King's English correctly?"
- "I'll have you know, I bored your mother in her back passage."
- "Throw down your weaponry, peasant!"
- "I'm taking this whole bloody mess of a country back, single handedly."
- "Where are the King's Royal Lancers when one needs them, Eh?"
In addition to appearing in the following missions, Jack can also be found walking the streets of Brimstone or within the Brimstone saloon between missions at various points in the game.
- Jack wears his holsters in a fashion causing the grips of his revolvers to point forward. Usually if someone wears their guns like this, then they will crossdraw their revolvers which was a technique used by many individuals in the Old West mainly because it is more comfortable for one to set down when wearing their gun at crossdraw and the gun can be drawn easier, although some in the Old West did wear their guns with the handle pointing backwards so the hand that will draw the gun is hanging right over it. However, Jack Swift uses a technique known as cavalry draw which is well known by U.S. Marshal James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickock's use of the technique. The steps of performing cavalry draw are simple. The shooter must first rotate their wrist, placing the top of their hand towards their body. Secondly the shooter must place their hand between the grips of the pistol and their body. After that the shooter should grasp the butt of the pistol in normal shooting grip. Then, the shooter must draw the pistol, rotating the wrist to normal orientation as the arm is brought up to shooting position. With a bit of practice, the cavalry draw can be as fast and possibly even faster than drawing the gun from a holster holding the gun with the handle pointing rearward. This practice was used by American Army Officers in the Old West along with Confederate Officers in the American Civil War. This practice was also used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when they were equipped with their .38 Special revolvers.
- Even though he appears in Red Dead Redemption solely as a multiplayer character, he does not wield his dual revolvers, nor is his guns holstered in the same fashion as he would normally, but instead is done the same manner as Red Harlow, and almost every other character. Since Jack iconically uses a pair of revolvers, the fact he only uses a single revolver in Redemption can highly prove that dual revolvers were never intended and may as well never be in Redemption.
- In a conversation with Red, Jack stated that he was going to retire after the "Battle Royale".
- He goes on to say that he can barely hold his gun straight due to his old age.
- The referral in the quote above includes the name "Sandhurst", this is the name of the Military College in England that trains officers for service in the British Armed Forces, suggesting he has been in the British Army at some point as an officer. He also tells Red, before the finals of the Battle Royale, that he served in the army.
- Red's only direct words to Jack Swift are "You ain't my problem."
- Jack Swift may have been inspired by the character English Bob from the 1992 western movie Unforgiven.
- Swift may also have been inspired by the real-life lawman, gambler and gunslinger Bat Masterson. Like Swift, Masterson generally wore three-piece suits and a bowler hat. Both characters are also immigrants to the United States, Masterson was born in Canada, whilst Swift was born in Sandhurst, England. He also uses a technique known as cavalry draw when drawing his pistols which is a technique that Bat Masterson was known to use.
- He is a former rugby player.
- He mentions knowing the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, a set of rules pertaining to the sport of boxing, implying that he may have been a boxer at some point in his life.
- Jack and Prof. Perry have an animosity towards each other, probably because Jack tried to leave the circus.
- His loading screen in Red Dead Revolver shows him quickly spinning his Showstoppers theatrically, eventually cocking them, and bowing.
- Jack is possibly an alcoholic. This is shown several points throughout Revolver. He claims to have a thirst for a "swift half" which is a measurement equaling half a pint of any alcoholic beverage. The player can buy a Hip Flask from Jack after speaking to him in Brimstone. He can be found drunk in the saloon after the first day of the Battle Royale, saying he's had "a little too much to drink." He also state he is very fond of "The Sauce", which is a slang term for alcohol.