Nate Johns is first referred to by Mrs. Ditkiss, who was one of two women sitting behind John in the opening titles of the game and first cutscene in "Exodus in America." She believes that Nate Johns's family is "hillbilly trash that came here after the war." (This could either be implying the Civil War or the Mexican-American War.) He is then referred to by the other woman sitting behind Marston, Mrs. Bush, who says: "It seems that money can buy voters, though."
His story is told through the Blackwater Ledger newspaper. When first mentioned, he is merely a candidate. By 1914, he is implicated in several scandals and is vacationing far away from West Elizabeth. From what we hear of Johns, he is not above unscrupulous practices like buying votes, manipulation and blackmail.
- Nate Johns is referenced in the Stranger side-mission "American Lobbyist". In this stranger mission, signs of his underhanded tactics are seen by using incriminating photographs to blackmail Aldous Worthington, a proponent of a challenging candidate. It appears later through the newspaper articles in 1914 that this continued but was ultimately his downfall.
- Aldous Worthington's accusations against Johns range from "corruption and vote-rigging to extortion, kidnapping and sexual depravity." Additionally, Worthington feels that Johns' stake in local businesses and the railroads compromises Johns' ability to be a fair and just leader. Johns dismisses the claims calling Worthington a hack, and his allegations as the "jealous slurs of a pitiful man desperately clinging to his career like a drowning man to a piece of wood."
- He is one of the first characters named.
- Nate's rival in the 1911 Governor elections, named in the second newspaper, was a Mr. Atkinson from Alabama. Alongside other scandals and controversies, Atkinson's chances were ruined by his failure to enforce racial segregation, treating blacks equal to whites in many situations.
- Nate Johns is kicked out of his position as Governor soon after the events of "Remember My Family", as read in the last edition of the Blackwater newspaper, for moral indecency and blackmail, among other things.
- The whole reason that John Marston has to kill Bill Williamson and Dutch van der Linde in the first place is because Nate Johns is trying to get rid of outlaws in New Austin and West Elizabeth.
- In the DLC Liars and Cheats, there is a Horse Racing Grand Prix circuit named after him, the N. Johns Invitational. It consists of 5 races throughout New Austin.
- NPCs around the United States can be heard mentioning "that Nate Johns is more crooked than a dog's hindleg." This further implies his corruption.