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Liars, Cheats and Other Proud Americans/dialogues

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[Marston catches up with West in Ridgewood.]

West: Ah, Mr. Marston. How are you, sir?

Marston: I'm alright. I met up with your friend Seth.

West: Oh, Seth of the dead. Yes, interesting fellow. You don't meet many men these days with the moral fortitude to cut straight to the chase like that, do you?

Marston: Thankfully not, Mr. West Dickens.

West: Yes, contemporary society is remarkably harsh on professional exhumers, but did you know, in Ancient Egypt, it was an art form more highly valued than literature? I believe Seth comes from that school of thought.

Marston: How very interesting. Look, you thought any more about our plan?

West: Ah, your plan, dear boy, your plan. I am merely the help, not mercifully the arbiter of wisdom.

Marston: What you are, dear boy, is a man whose life I've saved twice now. A man who sells lies and deceit to unwitting people. A man who if he doesn't help me, I won't think twice about putting a bullet through his skull, feeding to the vultures myself.

West: You see, Mr. Marston, you have the exterior of a violent man, but the soul of an angel, and that is what I think I cherish most about you.

Marston: That's what I thought.

West: But, before we can attend to your particular problems, we need some extra lubricant to oil the machinery of business, and this being America, that lubricant with which we concern ourselves, is money.

Marston: Money? What are you talking about?

West: We need weapons, armor plate for the wagon, extra hands. And...I need some danger money.

Marston: So, let's sell some more of these cures.

West: Sell cures? Around here? Do you want to see me lynched? No. The sport of kings, racing my friend! The sport of kings. A noble activity, without reproach. Exactly the kind of activity where a lying, cheating degenerate like myself can prosper. But come, let's finish the loading and we'll discuss it as we drive. Now, sir, to Gaptooth Breach!

[They start off.]

West: Seth is an interesting fellow, is he not?

Marston: I wouldn't say interestin'. More deeply disturbed. I can see why you two get along.

West: I see the good in everybody, John. It's a flaw of mine. I have a soft spot for life's flotsam and jetsam.

Marston: A connection with them, more like. You and Seth have a lot in common. You both rob people, for one. Mind you, at least he waits until they're dead.

West: Ah, my dear boy. Nobody is more critical of drinkers than a drunk who's mended his ways.

Marston: What are you talking about?

West: Come on now, John. I've heard about you. You spent your life robbing people. It's a little inappropriate to be taking the moral high ground now.

Marston: I had the courtesy to put a gun in their face.

West: Whatever helps you sleep easily at night.

Marston: We stole from those who had too much. And tried to give to those who had too little.

West: A Robin Hood with spurs. How romantic! You expect me to believe that poppycock? Maybe I'll have the good fortune to be able to leave my nefarious life behind one day and work on the government's dime.

Marston: Don't talk about things you don't understand.

West: Dear, oh dear. Simmer down, my boy. You need to start appreciating your friends more. Folks around here don't see you as any different than Bill Williamson.

Marston: I didn't think I'd have to huckster snake oil and dig up the dead, that's all.

West: Take it from me, John. Collaboration is the key to success.

Marston: I can help you. Seth can help you. It's business. Nothing more, nothing less. There's no need to make it quite so personal.

Marston: Suits me.

West: Anyway, John. We must talk about the race!

Marston: Yes, the race.

West: Oh, come on! Time to purge that negativity and start thinking like a winner! You're going to have a whale of a time! They've been holding these chariot races in New Austin for as long as I can remember. And... we need the money.

Marston: Why are you racing then?

West: Me? Oh no, not my thing at all. You've already proven yourself as more than adept at the reins, my dear boy, and under some stress. These races are Byzantine in their ferocity and the terrain is treacherous. People will do just about anything to win. Men die. It's a marvelous spectator sport.

Marston: Sounds like fun.

West: And you are my wild card, John! They won't be expecting you.

Marston: So what's your role in all this?

West: Think of me as your spiritual guide.

Marston: Do I have to?

West: You are a free man, of course, but I strongly recommend it! Imagine, just for today, you are not an aging bounty hunter and I am not an avant-garde business pioneer. No sir. Today, we are gladiators! Motivation, dear boy.

Marston: I'm definitely feeling motivated to get the hell out of here!

West: Here we are, John! Gaptooth Breach.

[John gets onto the wooden chariot.]

Clay:: Drivers! Y'all know the rules...but for you newcomers this here's a fair race. Keep to your manners and let the faster cart pass. So now that's been said y'all can get to runnin' each other off the road like always! Alright now! Countin' to three! Ready! Set! Go!

West: Fly like the wind, my boy! FLY LIKE THE WIND!

[Marston comes in first.]

Clay: Helluva race, mister. I'll take care of this cart for Mr. West Dickens.

West: Come on, John. I suggest we beat a hasty retreat. Right, best remove ourselves from the stage before somebody decides they want their money back.

Marston: Fine by me.

West: Wasn't that fantastic? The cheers of the crowd! The thunder of the wheels!

Marston: The falling rocks. The homicidal maniacs.

West: Oh come on, John. Even a coldhearted misanthrope like you must have found that the tiniest bit exhilarating?

Marston: Not the friendliest bunch are they?

West: They take their racing very seriously in these parts. And your participation was not entirely pre-approved.

Marston: That was clear.

West: Ah...sport, war and heartache! The guilty pleasures of mankind since the dawn of time!

Marston: I'd get away from the men we just swindled before you start waxin' too lyrical.

West: Yes, yes. Uh, of course.

[They come to a stop near Benedict Point.]

West: Well done, sir, well done! Having you as a ringer has netted us a fine profit.

Marston: We seem to be wasting time, old man.

West: Oh, patience, my friend. The Trojan horse cannot run before it can walk, if you'll forgive the metaphor. Next, we need to procure some grand and overwhelming firepower. And for that, you need to contact an old friend of mine, goes by the name of Irish.

Marston: Irish?

West: Yes, he's an interesting kind of fellow. He usually can be found in Armadillo or some other town around here, on some bacchanalian revel or such.

Marston: Great, an alcoholic arms dealer.

West: What could be better?

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