|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.
Leigh Johnson is the District Marshal of Armadillo, a settlement in the territory of New Austin. Johnson is an old-fashioned lawman with a strict no-nonsense work ethic. He is characterized as tough, straight to the point, and is not afraid to get aggressive, all while remaining fair to the law. Johnson does his best to maintain law and order in the town of Armadillo and the county of Cholla Springs, while the world around them progresses into the modern age. The Marshal also commands a couple of deputies, Jonah and Eli, as well as an unnamed deputy featured in "The Assault on Fort Mercer".
Red Dead Redemption
Marston first comes to meet Marshal Johnson in Armadillo after he has arrived looking for help on where to find Bill Williamson. He tasks Marston with numerous missions throughout New Austin, for which in return he will help in the attempt to capture John's former-brother-in-arms at Fort Mercer. Some of these missions are used as tutorials for certain gameplay aspects; for example, how to injure an enemy to allow him to be captured alive.
When Marston returns to Fort Mercer later on, the Marshal and his deputies, alongside a number of other characters Marston has befriended, come along to help apprehend Williamson. After storming the fort, they learn that Williamson left a few days prior to the attack, and that he travelled south across the border and into Nuevo Paraiso, Mexico, with the help of Javier Escuella. Johnson and Marston thank each other for their assistance in their own matters, and part ways as Marston heads after Williamson.
The Marshal is not seen again in-game after Fort Mercer. However, in the end-game edition of the newspaper it is stated that 'Legendary Marshal Leigh Johnson' stepped down as the Marshal of Armadillo after 17 years of service. When asked what his next move would be, he stated that he plans to move as far away from Armadillo as is possible.
In the Undead Nightmare DLC, Marshal Johnson is in the Sheriff's office in Armadillo. When Marston enters the office, Johnson explains the situation of the town. He asks Marston to look for his deputies, whom he sent out into the town. When Marston returns with the news of their demise, Johnson accepts it. He gives Marston Jonah's Sawed-off Shotgun and is not seen again.
Red Dead Redemption
- "Political Realities in Armadillo" (Boss)
- "Justice in Pike's Basin" (Boss)
- "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Bandit" (Boss)
- "Hanging Bonnie MacFarlane" (Boss)
- "The Assault on Fort Mercer" (Boss)
- “We don't do deals with outlaws, boy.”
- — Leigh Johnson to Outlaw on Horse
- “This country is infested with all manner of scum.”
- — Leigh Johnson
- “Oh! The narcotic and bat piss salesman!”
- — Leigh Johnson describing Nigel West Dickens
- “It's gonna be a bloody job.”
- — Leigh Johnson to John Marston
- “You hear that, Marston? We just butchered a gang of thieves and the town is up in arms about a missing snake oil merchant. I'm so glad to be serving such a wise and respectable people.”
- — Leigh Johnson
- “Cattle rustlin' and bank robbery are at an all time low. While murder, blood drinking, and psychotic episodes seem to be somewhat prevalent. Either that, or I'm dreaming.”
- — Leigh Johnson describing the state of Armadillo in Undead Nightmare
- “Will you ride with us again Marston?”
- — Leigh Johnson inviting John Marston along
- “That sarcasm is most unbecoming Eli. It's gonna hold you back in life, even worse than your lazy eye!”
- — Leigh Johnson to Eli
- “Between Walton's boys and the rustlers, we've been spillin' a lot of blood. A man gets more evil when he's running scared. ”
- — Leigh Johnson
- “Mount up, men. The man that kills the boss of that bunch gets fifty dollars.”
- — Leigh Johnson after discovering the Ridgewood Farm massacre
- The Blackwater Ledger states that he is fifty-four years old, making his year of birth 1860, the year just before the beginning of the American Civil War. It also states that he had seventeen years of service and that he was thirty-seven meaning he joined in 1897.
- His son, who is also a lawman, can be met in a random event west of Critchley's Ranch. He says that his father would have killed him if the criminals had got away.
- His beard appears to have a slight yellow tinge. This may be due to streaks of blond in his hair, or it may be caused by consumption of alcohol or chewing tobacco, similar to Uncle.
- Baxter Deaton in Armadillo can be heard talking about Johnson, such as how he "buried stolen goods out in Rio Del Lobo" and how "the gang over by Twin Rocks are in cahoots with him". He even talks about Johnson beating the local women. Interestingly, Rio Del Lobo is where the second treasure for the Treasure hunting challenges is located.
- Johnson carries a pair of nickel-plated Cattleman Revolvers. In gameplay, Johnson will only wield one of these pistols. However, in cinematic, Johnson can be seen drawing both.
- NPCs at MacFarlane's Ranch can be heard stating that "he has the whole world on his shoulders."
- Johnson is a widower. The tombstone of his late wife, Priscilla Johnson, is located in the Coot's Chapel Cemetery, to the left of the front entrance. The grave reveals that she died April 23rd, 1903. The cause of death, however, is not mentioned. The tombstone also reads, 'Forever Smiling In Our Hearts'.
- He is briefly seen in Undead Nightmare, and in the official trailer, addresses Marston by saying, "Welcome to paradise!"
- As seen in "Political Realities in Armadillo", the Marshal uses a Tersk as his mount. However, during "The Assault on Fort Mercer," he is seen dismounting a Kentucky Saddler.
- Bonnie MacFarlane, along with Marshal Johnson, can be killed after the mission "Hanging Bonnie MacFarlane". Immediately after the mission, as Marston watches them ride off, if he goes into Dead Eye Mode and kills their horses, Bonnie and the Marshal will fall off. It will take many shots, but they can be killed.
- His quote, about keeping Armadillo from turning into hell for it's citizens, is quite ironic. In the Undead Nightmare DLC, the town is overrun with undead, making it a hell on Earth. However, the quote and the zombie outbreak occur on different continuities of the story, so the irony is non-canon.
- After completing "Dinner for Two", if the player returns to Johnson's office, they can see that his office has been boarded up and he is inside. Killing him is much easier compared to doing so in "Hanging Bonnie MacFarlane" as it only takes one shot in the head with any shotgun through the window.
- In the DLC Liars and Cheats, one of the Grand Prix race courses is named after him: L. Johnson's Run, which starts and ends in Armadillo.
- In a promotional picture that can be seen below in the gallery, the Marshal is pictured crumbling a bounty in his hand. If the player looks closely, they can see the bounty target's hideout, Campo Mirada. This is quite odd, as Campo Mirada is nowhere close to Armadillo, but near El Matadero in southern Nuevo Paraiso. This place is better known as the Fortuna's home.
- After his mission in Undead Nightmare and John leaves his office, he can be seen making calls and doing paperwork despite the inopportune time.
- Marshal Johnson's forename- Leigh, is hardly ever said in-game.
- Johnson seems to detest Armadillo. This is partially revealed in the game's final newspaper article, which says "Leigh Johnson said he was going to move as far away from Armadillo as he can." However, this could simply indicate the stresses of his job, and/or retirement.
- Marshal Johnson is one of the few characters to only appear in missions he gives the player.
- It is unknown who succeeded Johnson as Marshal after his retirement, though it is thought to have been Jonah or Eli.