|This article was a featured article for the site in January 2010.|
Random Encounters are interactions with NPCs that can occur anywhere on the map in Red Dead Redemption.
Most of these will be marked with a blue dot on the mini map. Some will start with an NPC asking the player for help while others will not involve the player unless specific actions are taken. The tasks the player can carry out for them are not considered side-quests done for Strangers, but rather random encounters that will affect the player's fame and honor.
These encounters can often be performed in an honorable or dishonorable way at the player's discretion, either adding or detracting from the player's honor level. Random encounters can reoccur throughout the game at the same or different location. This page covers the different types of random encounters that can be experienced.
The sections below group similar encounters for convenience, but do not reflect any official nomenclature in the game.
These random encounters involve the player catching up to and dealing with fleeing criminals.
While in a town (especially Thieves' Landing), the player can hear a woman screaming for help. A criminal has hogtied her and is running away with her on his back. The player can choose to shoot him or Hogtie him and cut her free for a decent amount of fame and money.
When the player is in a town, a store owner might run out and yell that somebody just robbed their store. The player can catch the robber and bring him back to the store or kill him. The player will receive Fame and more cash if he keeps him alive, but if he chooses to kill the robber and loot his body, the player can take all of the money for himself. Returning the thief to the shopkeeper will cause the shop keeper to repeatedly kick the thief in the head, pausing only to spit on the thief.
Grand Theft Stallion
When the player is walking in a town, there is a chance that a random pedestrian will run up to the player and desperately ask him to get his horse back which just got stolen by some rustler. The player can catch/kill the criminal and return the horse for Fame and cash. It may be easier to catch the horse if the player lassos or throws a knife at the thief. This will avoid spooking the horse with a gunshot. If the horse is spooked, catching it may be problematic. Sometimes, most often in Mexico, horse-drawn carts are stolen. These are much easier to retrieve as the horse will not run without a driver.
If this happens in Thieves' Landing, kill the horse thief and catch the horse quickly, otherwise there is a good chance that the horse will run into the water, resulting in the horse's death and the failure of the mission.
Riding off before the person gets on their horse counts as a fail, even after you catch the horse and release it right next to them.
Also, if you ride the retrieved horse/cart into the NPC, it will knock them over, also failing the mission.
Encountered in the wilderness, near major roads or intersections, the player may come across a crashed prison wagon with an officer in front of it. The officer will be wounded and will tell you that two criminals are making an escape and that they killed his companion. He then asks the player to go catch them. The player can either kill both criminals and receive less fame/money, or they can hogtie them and bring them back to the officer, which will reward the player with more honor and money. One criminal is always running slowly, probably because of a gunshot wound. Catch the faster one first if you're doing the honorable way. Once the player kills or captures both criminals, they can return to the officer and receive their reward. In most cases, the Lawman will execute the Hogtied criminal(s), most likely in revenge for his fallen partner. The player can also help the criminals by killing the Lawman. This will reward the player fame and decrease his honor, unless he has the bandana equipped.
Fame and Honor
Alms from the Convent
Encountered in cities/villages. A Nun walks up and greets the player and asks them to accept some money from her in a form of appreciation for what they are doing. This may only occur when the player has a positive honor ranking. The player can accept the money or walk away. This will earn you 20 Fame. The item Obscuridad del Santo Andres can also be obtained: "A blessed symbol from a far-off land. Enemies have less chance to hit you." According to the nun, she and her sisters raised a collection to help "further your cause in this wicked land".
Similar to "Alms from the Convent", a random person will walk up to the player and say he has been looking for him/her everywhere. The person will offer the player a gift, which is a Pardon Letter or money (there may be some other unconfirmed gifts) for saving his/her mother or friend.
You're That Famous Fella
With high enough fame, people in towns or on horses on the roads may say they have heard of the player's deeds. You do not get anything from this encounter, however. This will not occur when playing as Jack Marston - you will be treated as you were when you first started the game. This is most likely because Rockstar did not want to voice act each and every NPC for the purpose of saying Jack Marston's name instead of John, although this is unconfirmed. Another theory is that because Jack didn't do much to make himself known, nobody knows him.
- People do, however, greet Jack wherever he goes, contrary to the beginning of the game, where people rarely greet John and only do so increasingly the more famous he gets. The fact that nearly every person greets you as Jack as they eventually do with John would imply that he's famous for being his son.
Depending on the player's fame, there is a chance that townsfolk will want to make a name for themselves by killing the player in a duel. They will harass the player and challenge him. If the player has low enough honor, the person will blame him for killing his brother/friend. If the player ignores the challenge and walks away, he/she will lose honor. Accepting the challenge puts the game in dueling mode. By killing the opponent the player receives 50 Fame. He can also disarm him by shooting his hand or arm (harder than shooting to kill) and receive 100 Fame. It is also possible to shoot his hat off if the player chooses to disarm him, but it does not give the player more Fame.
Observing the challenging individual from a distance, and then pointing your weapon at these challengers, carefully allowing one or two bullets to hit Marston as the aggressive would-be duelist immediately reactively fires if thus baited, alerts the lawmen (ideally) and those indisposed to perpetual dueling initiated by egomaniacs, with nothing to prove as competent duelists with no bloodlust, by having the lawmen take care of things, allows a neutral succession of events here.
Aggressively brawling in fisticuffs as a way of dealing with would-be duelist, sometimes, if gracefully performed, leads to no loss of honor, the duel is not registered as turned down, and the obnoxious maniac can be disposed of by the gutless schoolyard milksop monitors, as described above.
These random encounters involve a lone NPC in the wilderness challenging the player to a competition and offering a reward if the player can beat them.
Occasionally, while in open wilderness, the player will hear shooting coming from a nearby camp and a flock of birds (mostly crows and vultures) hovering above. The man at this camp will challenge the player for money to shoot a number of birds (varies from 3 to 4) in a faster time than him (Dead-Eye helps a lot). The player will receive cash as their reward.
It is important to note that obliterating the birds using a high-powered rifle will not count as killing them for purposes of this encounter; since there are usually only one or two more marked birds than are required to complete the challenge, weapons like the Bolt-action rifle which sometimes destroy birds are not good choices.
This is probably the easiest way to earn a lot of money in a relatively short time. Every time the player fails to kill the birds in the allotted time, they will be given the option of "double or nothing". If they fail the challenge several times in a row, the wagers will have been raised by quite a fair amount. After failing the challenge several times in a row, the player must then complete it successfully. They will earn all their money back, but not a lot extra. If the player then kills the stranger and loots his body, they will receive a huge amount of money (although they will also lose Honor if they don't wear a Bandana).
He is found mostly in large even areas or near water.
It seems that after you have completed the game and play as Jack Marston the challenger will always bet $0 and you will fail each time.
One needs not to have completed the game for this glitch to happen, though- it has been observed even before John Marston has unlocked Mexico. The Bandana is a useful item in this situation, as it allows one to silence the challenger.
Encountered in the wilderness, a person at a campsite will wave the player over and ask him to help him find a few herbs. Accepting causes a short challenge to start where the player must gather two herbs and run back to the herbalist's camp before the herbalist. The player will receive cash as his reward. As with the shooting challenge above, if you take the challenge you can kill him and take an amount of money equal to whatever the bet was; if you accept the challenge and lose you can kill him and take back your money along with his. To guarantee success, use a horse to cut down travel time between herbs.
Sometimes after the challenge, the herbalist walks into his campfire and burns to death. The player can then loot him and take his money (and theirs, if they failed the challenge).
Encountered in the wilderness, a person at a campsite will wave the player over and ask him to help him gather some pelts. On accepting the challenge, the hunter will give the player some bait to use and indicate how many and what type of pelts he needs. The player simply needs to use the bait just outside the camp, then kill and skin the animals that come. This can be quite useful for Master Hunter Challenges 2 and 6, as most commonly the pelts asked for are foxes, racoons and deer, which need to be killed and skinned for these challenges. This also seems to be one of the only ways to kill and skin normal bears as opposed to the more common grizzlies in Tall Trees.
The number of pelts delivered to the trapper depends on how many animals one use of bait attracts (as bait often attracts groups of deer, foxes, raccoons, bucks, boars, coyotes, bobcats and wolves, the trapper will buy 2 pelts from these animals, but will only buy one pelt from a cougar or a bear since one use of bait attracts a single cougar or bear.
These random encounters involve the player assisting an NPC by delivering a person or cargo to a destination.
The player will find a stranded party on the side of the road, usually near a broken wagon, asking for assistance. If the player agrees, he will let the person ride with them to where they want to go. This encounter is easy to confuse with "In Need of a Ride" and the "Beauty and the Wagon". Usually bandits will try to attack at some point during the mission. The player can fight them, or try to outrun them.
A lawman or soldier in the wilderness will ask Marston to deliver a hogtied outlaw to a nearby settlement. It is very much like normal bounty hunting as the player will be pursued while en route. The pay and honor are much lower however and it counts for +1 travelers escorted. Oddly, sometimes if the criminal being delivered is of one gang, his rescuers trying to free him may be of a different gang.
- Main article: Dynamite Delivery
Two gentlemen with a wagon full of dynamite will ask the player to deliver the wagon to a weaponary shop. The player must make sure to avoid bumpy paths, or the dynamite will explode. The player will be attacked by thieves who will shoot at him. In some occasions, however, the thieves will shoot the dynamite and the wagon explodes, causing the player to fail the mini-mission.
The Supply Coach
When near the General Store in Manzanita Post, a woman will tell the player that her supply wagon is missing. The player can then press B/Circle to accept her job and find out what happened to the stagecoach. Rather than be given a clear destination on the map, the player is given the direction the wagon was heading from and advice to watch for circling vultures overhead to indicate the wagon's location. The player must follow major roads. Following horse trails in the forest will result in confusion and getting lost. When the player finds the stagecoach, it has been attacked by robbers whom the player then has to kill. Following this the player will have to drive the stagecoach back to the woman for a reward.
Wanna Make Some Money?In Chuparosa, a man will sometimes run up to the player and ask "Hey you! Wanna make some money?". If Marston follows the man, he will ask him to steal a supply wagon and then drive it out of the city. As soon as Marston boards the wagon and starts driving, local law enforcement will begin pursuit. Once Marston ditches the lawmen, he must then take the wagon back to the stranger. The stranger gives Marston some money and says he "might have some more work for you later". The man then rides back into town in the same wagon that was stolen and resells items from the stolen wagon at a higher price. Marston can repeat this event to earn money. The player will lose 100 Honor for completing this event unless wearing the Bandana.
After a successful theft, if the player hops on the wagon the man won't become hostile but instead will drive the wagon to any location in Mexico.
In these random encounters, seemingly-friendly NPCs attack or deceive the player.
The Beauty and the Wagon
Encountered outside of cities. A woman standing near a wagon calls the player for help, and when the player comes closer, 4-5 men pop up from behind the wagon and start mugging the player. If the player stays still without shooting them, they hold up a ransom for a fee, then let the player go. Once the player kills them all, they have the choice of sparing the woman or killing her for her deception. If the player chooses to spare her, she will plead for forgiveness and offer the player money.
There is a chance that the woman is in real need of assistance. In this case Marston can take her up on his horse and take her back to the nearest town (although they will be chased by criminals). Ways to know the difference:
- With the bandits, the woman is usually found with a stagecoach (as seen in the picture); when she is in real need of help, she will have a carriage or a wagon.
- If it's an ambush, bandits can be seen through the windows of the stagecoach. In addition, 3-4 additional unhitched horses are likely to be present by the stagecoach.
- If you choose to take on the bandits instead of riding away, make sure to go straight to the back of the wagon, as the bandits won't pop up and shoot before you approach the woman, allowing you to shoot first.
- With bandits, the woman is found with a perfectly drivable stagecoach, both horses unharmed and hitched. (Also, you can see the bandits crouching on the sides pretty easily) If it is an escort mission, the NPC will be standing next to a broken down wagon with no horses attached.
In Need of a Ride
Encountered outside of cities. When the player is traveling on a horse, a single NPC (male or female) calls the player over and asks for a ride. The NPC appears as a blue dot on the radar. Once the player gets closer, the NPC will pull the player from their horse and start riding away, at which point the dot on the radar turns red. The player must kill or capture the thief or else the horse will be lost (and this will be treated as if the horse had died). If the player is riding their loyal steed, they can whistle ("up" on the D-pad) and the offending party will be bucked off. The player must be warned, killing the thief after the player's horse bucks them off will cause a loss of 50 honor (unless wearing a bandana), despite the NPC's icon being red. In addition; an attentive player may draw their gun before the thief can get close to their horse and threaten the would-be horse thief, which will either cause the thief to run away or draw their own gun and attempt to kill the player. If the player dismounts the horse and lets the stranger mount it they will get 50+ honor. An easy way to deal with this is to dismount your horse, let the NPC take it, (at this point you will receive 50+ honor) and then simply whistle for your mount and ride away. This way you will still get 50+ honor and be able to keep your mount. Simply attentively recognizing the scenario, and then outrunning the deceptive horse-thief individual, is also a favorable option.
A Fella's Got to Eat
A man will ask the player if he wants to provide him with company; when the player gets close enough, the man will shoot the player. If the player kills him, he will find a hostage hogtied near the tent and several human bones and heads scattered around his campsite.
Mainly cannibals are around The Hanging Rock where American Appetites was completed, though the player could find one around the Great Plains or Tall Trees, even in Nuevo Paraiso, Hennigan's Stead, or at Rio del Lobo.
These random encounters occur in Nuevo Paraíso and involve conflict between NPCs which the player can ignore or act upon.
Viva la revolutión!
In most Mexican cities, mainly in Escalera, a large gun battle will break out between Mexican Army soldiers and Rebels. This is common at the end of the story missions once the Rebels take over Escalera. Most of the time, the Rebels get killed. If you choose to attack the Mexican Army, you will get a bounty on your head. There tends to usually be 1-3 Rebels against 1-2 Mexican Authorities. This is common near the meat area and outside the General Store. You can usually stand and watch as the gun battle goes on and you won't get shot. All bodies can be looted giving you about $4 each, and with the Rabbit's Foot, $5–6.
In Mexican towns, namely Escalera, the player will sometimes see a firing-squad of Mexican soldiers lining up a couple of rebels against a wall for execution. If the player tries to stop the execution, the Mexican army will immediately open fire on the player and he'll get a bounty on his head, but the player can always just watch the rebels get executed. Sometimes this happens far enough outside a town that the player can kill all of the soldiers with no witnesses around and no bounty on their head. This encounter may not occur if the player has completed every story mission in Mexico, thus allowing the rebels to take control of Escalera. This, however, is unconfirmed.
While exploring around in Mexico, the player sometimes will cross paths with a firing-squad and a poor man. It's unsure if the man is innocent or not, but he doesn't appear to be a rebel or bandito and looks just like a normal civilian. If the player stands in front of the man the soldiers will attack the player. The player can disarm the soldiers by shooting their weapons out of their hands and gain honor, but the player can also just stand and watch the execution. It is possible to use the lasso on one of the soldiers, without getting a bounty, then quickly run away. This will gain you both fame, and honor.
Sometimes when riding through Chuparosa or Escalera, the player may see a group of people listening to one person speak in Spanish about injustices. As the crowd starts cheering, a group of soldiers will arrive and open fire. If you fire on the soldiers or protestors, you will get a bounty on your head.
Calls for Help
In these random encounters, an NPC will either directly request the player's help or will indirectly do so via their screams. The player can choose to intervene to prevent the NPC or others from being killed.
Encountered in the wilderness. A man will ride up to the player while he is on a horse and ask him to save his wife/brother/friend/cousin from being hanged by a group of bandits. The player can follow him and he will lead the player to a tree with a couple of horses/carriage. There are 4 to 5 enemies and a hanging man/woman. The player must shoot the rope quickly before the hanging person dies. The easiest way to do so is by using Dead-Eye. Afterwards, all there is left is to kill all the enemies, and the player will be rewarded with Fame. A scripted hanging can also occur if the player is near the Hanging Rock or Tumbleweed. This encounter can happen very often whilst riding in Tall Trees and sometimes at Odd Fellow's Rest.
Oddly, the man who gives the player the mission does not have to survive the fight with the bandits for this encounter to be completed successfully; only the hanging person does. Sometimes, if the hanging person dies, the man who gives the player the mission will commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.
A man or a woman in the wild is running away, screaming for help. There are some type of animals, such as wolves, cougars, bobcats, bear or coyotes, chasing after him/her. The player can help out and receive a reward. (Tip: It helps to use Dead Eye to kill the animals since manual/auto targeting could potentially target and kill the victim.) Occasionally this encounter can occur in a town.
Damsel In Distress
While traveling through a settlement, the player might encounter a screaming prostitute and a man with a knife chasing after her. The man will chase her down and kill her if the player doesn't stop him in time. On success, the player will receive both Fame and money. The player can either shoot him, lasso/beat him up, or just watch while the man stabs the woman. If the player has their gun drawn and watches the man knife the woman, the player will lose honor (unless the player has the Bandana on). If the player hogties the man and carries him away when the prostitute is alive, it will reward +100 honor.
A glitch can occur if you kill the man, the townsfolk will start shooting at the player and the woman will be afraid of you.
There is another glitch where the lasso kills the attacker and will reward +50 honor.
Encounter having to do with bandits
Treasure Hunters Need Treasure
While in the open, the player might encounter 2 criminals holding up a treasure hunter, usually with them shooting at the treasure hunter who is taking cover behind his wagon. If the player fails to act fast, the treasure hunter will be killed. The player can help him by killing the criminals and he will receive a reward, after which the treasure hunter will ride off without his wagon. The first time the player encounters the treasure hunter, the reward will be the first map of the Treasure Hunter Challenges. If the treasure hunter is killed, the map can be found on his corpse. Even if you shoot the treasure hunter to help the bandits, they will still shoot at you after looting the body. The treasure hunter is most often a Chinese worker.
Fate of the Stagecoach
Out in the wilderness, the player may see a message pop up on the their screen saying that "A stagecoach is under attack". The player can then choose to either side with the defending stagecoach or the bandits attacking. If the player helps the bandits, they will leave their horses, board the stagecoach and ride off. If the player boards the stagecoach as well, the driver will take the player to various locations on the map. This only happens after the player has completed the mission 'Can a Swindler Change His Spots?'. If the player engages both the bandits and the defenders they will be considered an enemy of both sides.
Stick 'em up!
On sides of the roads, the player will sometimes spot a supply wagon being robbed by 3-4 gang members, with one holding a captive at gunpoint. If the player is just approaching the wagon, he can help out the people in the wagon before they're executed, but if the player arrives late they will already be dead and the posse will shoot the player. Sometimes, a bandit may be seen carrying an empty box.
In Nuevo Paraiso, Marston may hear a woman screaming. Upon investigating, the player will find a group of soldiers watching a woman, and one will be trying to kiss her. If the player shoots the rebel trying to kiss the woman, they will get a Bounty.
These random encounters occur at campsites in the wilderness.
Occasionally (most often at night), Marston may wander upon a camp of two to three people. They will offer to let Marston stay with them for a while, and if he does, he can sit and listen to them talk about recent events or tell stories of the past, most often about those relating to John's adventures. One should exercise a certain amount of caution, however, as these campsites will sometimes house hostile gangs or cannibals. Sometimes, Lawmen or gang members can be seen in camps, especially in Cholla Springs. The player cannot interact with them like normal campsites. Finally, when leaving, the player must be careful to mount the same horse he came in with. If the wrong horse is mounted, the campers will open fire on the player.Sometimes when sitting down for a while the NPC will start taking about the duel between Mr. Kelley and Red in the previous installment of Red Dead (Series)
In the wild and often based at a small camp, the player can meet an armed man with a dog. As he approaches, the man will raise his weapon and tell the player to go away. If the player fails to leave, the guy will start shooting and his dog will attack the player. The player can kill him (and loot the chest he is sometimes guarding) or run away. This event is not marked with a blue dot and is especially common in Nuevo Paraiso. It has been also found on the hill above the cabin on Lake Don Julio and north-east of Pacific Union R.R. Camp.
A second variant of this occurs in Tall Trees and very close to the river in the Great Plains; however, instead of a dog, there will be two people who will often not warn the player, usually criminals who will simply open fire.
Out in the wilderness, the player may run across a camp with several crates of Dynamite and two men preparing dynamite bundles from these crates. If the men are approached, they will add some dynamite to the player's inventory. If the player sticks around for a minute or so, one of the men will say something to the effect of "Careful, one spark and we'll all go up" or "Time for a cigar, got a light?". Right afterward, the dynamite will explode, taking the camp and the two men with it. The men can be looted afterward; however, they do not carry anything special. This can also be encountered in Mexico or near Warthington Ranch by MacFarlane's Ranch, but without the explosion scripting; the player can of course shoot the dynamite at the cost of honor. This encounter does not appear on the minimap. If you loot the chest near them, they may begin throwing dynamite and shooting at you. If you simply draw your weapon and auto-aim on one of the men, they both panic and run off screaming. The player can then open the chest, take the money, and "no one gets hurt!"
In these random encounters, the player or others will be randomly attacked.
Robbery and Execution
Usually found beside roads. A local gang will have a seized wagon, with scattered boxes at the back, and will have the driver on his knees with a gun to his head. The driver will shout for help, only to be executed if the player is not quick enough to save him. He usually has $25 to be given to the player, or looted from his body. The captive is shot almost immediately after you get there, so Dead Eye comes in handy.
Usually found riding into town, a group of around four gang members will be riding along, one dragging a lassoed person behind him while the others fire their guns into the air. The symbolic irreverence and disdain for the innocent, figurative and literal trampling upon all human law and order and decency, weirdly, does not affect the lawmen if present, who stand merely stupefied and cowardly gawking, authentic geldings, as they fail to do their job, do everything to make things worse, sabotaging Marston in subtle ways, as Marston is put in the position of shielding the innocent against injustice. If the player is in the way of the posse, the leader will yell at the player to move, however he will not attack. The player gains +100 honor for aiding the victim and preventing the three, four or even five (Dutch's Gang tending to larger numbers) gang members from terrorizing the town, but be warned; when you shoot at the gang, they will start shooting back at you, so using Dead-Eye will help a lot. The raiders, depending on the place, will be affiliated with a major gang acting in the area. If Marston kills the posse, he will receive honor and a thank you from the townsfolk. But "beware" again here: Especially on higher difficulties, if Marston inadvertently aims with anything except the most rigorous perfection (Marston becomes the perceived greater threat if merely aiming any where near a caitiff lawmen or aggressive civilian) or, has their shots make, so trivially, accidental contact with domiciles (equaling "vandalism"), the player becomes a sort of "martyr", punitively dealt with in wild disproportion even if heroically putting down the berserk gangsters running amok, whose behavior most barbaric, nearby curiously-motivated lawmen, instead of confronting the marauders, interestingly determine Marston is the greater menace and distribute criminal guilt to Marston and aggressively try to kill Marston in "no-quarter" manner. One bullet bouncing off of a window or one millisecond of weapon aiming if not perfected, in which a nearby lawman conveniently puts himself between the marauders and Marston, or the game shoves a (conveniently) interfering (by programming code) civilian crowd in the middle of the attack, obscuring vision, presents a challenge indeed to the "chivalrous" gamer choosing higher difficulty settings. Expert targeting appears the only solution to avoiding Marston being punished for no reason.
The marauding incident occurs in places affected by gangs in particular, including Armadillo, Casa Madrugada, Manzanita Post, Thieves' Landing, Benedict Point and Macfarlane's Ranch. The attack is not marked with a blue spot on the map. However, all Posse members will be marked with a red blip if one or more of them is shot at by the Player.
You're not welcome here!
When riding into Thieves' Landing and comparably organized crime dominated zones (in Mexico, etc.), the player may be shot at, mostly understandably yet often rather strangely, at first sight. Shooting the initial aggressor and ambusher might cause other townsfolk to start attacking Marston; besides native civilians, armed gang members act as a collective (i.e. non-pacific action against one Bollard Twins miscreant, alerts all Bollard gang members; reacting against one unaffiliated criminal, has every unaffiliated criminal against the player); aggressiveness against an aggressor creates a situation where Marston is massively outnumbered. The murderous bushwhacking potential is typically assignable to the player accidentally, or rather, unskillfully, holding an "innocent" at gunpoint or, equally common, owes to the player slipping up in unfocused weapon aiming, hitting an "innocent" with a stray bullet while confronting gang member active combatants. The game does not favor Marston making the slightest degree of misfire, and the smallest misdirecting of the aiming reticle equates to immediate, life-or-death consequences - seemingly sometimes the game will have a random Thieves' Landing dweller fire at Marston for no intelligible, comprehensible reason at all, except game programming code. In these parts, gunplay finesse is necessary, especially if not pacifically disposed and counter-attacking the gang-infested town. Engaging in small-scale Civil War-era "bushwhacker"-style guerrilla warfare, and having Marston exterminate in ensanguined militancy the felonious element in a whole-sale, brutal bloodbath (selectively assassinating the Bollard and kindred gangsters and thugs of the area) is indeed possible without any cheats enabled whatsoever, or robbing the more indecent inhabitants to the point of excess systematically, but one must have maximum stock of medicine, Dead-Eye restoratives and ammunition, gang members re-spawn infinitely by default and frankly, skillfulness is mandated if choosing the warpath in this context. Every character model must be memorized as to their category of civilian or criminal identity. Expert targeting is recommended as automated Dead-Eye fails in the explosively delicate conditions obtaining in Thieves' Landing. Marston can be randomly assaulted in any outfit, but the probability is higher if having eminent honor ranking (usually Hero), even the Duster Coat increasing violent tension; additionally, hostility is evoked appreciably if the player is wearing either the U.S. Marshal Outfit or the Bureau Uniform. A modicum of danger here can be avoided by wearing an American outlaw gang outfit - the difference is only advantageous if Marston navigates the thug territory deftly and "spies" intelligently. Oddly, the arguably morally lawful behavior of having Marston thus "spy" in fighting malignant organized crime, is punished as Marston suffers decrease of honor level if so attired in "espionage" war mode, the same logic existing in the hideout challenge of Pike's Basin, unless simultaneously wearing the bandana.
Sometimes, the player will be walking around town, and an NPC on a horse will unexpectedly open fire on the player (without the player's input). If the player kills the attacker, he won't get a bounty, and will get a few dollars from the looted body.
Where Did That Come From?
Occasionally, if the player pulls a gun on a random NPC, a shot will be heard in the distance and the NPC will fall over dead, with Marston asking "Where did that come from?".
These random encounters don't involve violence (unless the player initiates violence on their own).
Randomly in the distance, a man may ride up, get off his horse, and walk/run towards a rock. He will then proceed to urinate on it. The player can easily steal the man's horse, or murder and loot him.
Occasionally, the player can see a man enter the bathroom, sometimes urinating. Other times, they will be freshening up, or shaving, and splashing water on their face afterwards. If you did not complete The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed but completed And The Truth Will Set You Free, you can see that Jack often does this, or other chores.
A Dog is a Man's Best Friend/Fetch!
Sometimes, when in a settlement, the player may come across a man or woman throwing a stick for their dog. The dog will fetch the stick and return, then the process is repeated. Similar to the "Refreshing" random event, the dog will be seen urinating on a fence when in a settlement. This happens often at Manzanita Post as Marston is leaving his safehouse. If you shoot the man or woman throwing the stick, the dog will attempt to attack you. If you do the same but turned around (shooting the dog), the owner of the dog will run away in fear.
Deserted Locations and Destroyed Houses
Although not a true random event, John Marston will comment as you approach. Listen to what he says. He will comment on how it is evident that something strange happened there. Though yet to discover the mystery, it's well worth taking a look as you will find chests to open at some locations. Often, wild animals will attack Marston after a closer look at the site.
Hey! Wanna buy a Mule?
Sometimes, in Nuevo Paraiso and New Austin, a man will be walking along the road with a mule, dragged by a rope, and will try to sell the mule to the player. If the player shoots the rope, the mule will flee, causing the man to chase after it. If the player shoots the mule, the man will attack the player, yelling "You break, you buy!".
After the Fact
In these random encounters, the player runs across the scene of a crime that has already happened.
Occasionally the player may come across a man standing over, and searching, a person's body before jumping on his horse and riding away. The player can search the person's body for a few dollars, and they will not be punished, even if they shoot the escaping thief for even more loot. The thief is generally a member of a criminal gang, suggesting he has committed a murder. Oddly, if the player pushes or kicks the criminal while he is kneeling and searching the body, he will not attack, but run away, regardless of a horse nearby.
While on foot, the player may come across a dead man, woman, or a couple of people. He cannot steal from them, so this could evidently mean that these were mugged victims who refused to give up their money and paid the ultimate price for it; however, this might be the result of another stranger event such as suicide or scavenger in which the player arrived to the scene late.
You can't take it with you
Same as "Who Dunnit?", only this time the player catches the mugger in the act. If he sneaks up behind the mugger, he can see them standing over the person they just killed, and the mugger (if desperate enough) may resort to biting off the victims' finger (or more probably remove the victims ring with his teeth) to get their rings. If the player runs or walks up to the mugger, he will take out his gun and try to kill the player as well. If the player decides not to do anything, the mugger will call for his horse and ride away.
Don't Play With Fire
While traveling on the road, the player may come across a wrecked stagecoach with burn marks all around. If the player approaches the wreck, they may find a charred body with a fire bottle next to it. It is unsure exactly what happened to the man in the stagecoach, but it appears to have been an accident. This event most likely only happens after the player has completed the story mission The Demon Drink, although it might still happen if the player has completed the story mission We Shall Be Together in Paradise.It also seems to happen the most before player has completed the mission An Appointed Time.
Choose your Side
In these random encounters, lawmen are pursuing or fighting criminals and the player can choose to help one side or the other (or ignore them).
It Might Help If You Aim
While in the wild, the player will hear gunfire. It's two lawmen chasing after a criminal. The player can shoot the criminal in the leg and let the lawmen finish him, or just kill him. The player will receive a thanks from the lawmen as well as some fame. Alternatively, the player can shoot the lawmen and let the criminal go free. This event is not marked with a blue dot on the map, probably because the player can help either the lawmen or the criminal.
Law or Disorder?
When the player is riding/walking about, he may see some lawmen and outlaws in a shoot-out. Just like "Fate of the Stagecoach", the player can choose to help the lawmen or assist the outlaws. Whichever side he helps, the faction will be grateful and commend the player on his actions.
In these random encounters, two NPCs will be fighting each other.
Put up your dukes
When the player travels off course, he'll sometimes catch two men brawling with their fists. If he stays to spectate the fight, eventually one of the men will knock the other man out and then walk off like nothing ever happened. If the player wants to see this event, the best place is Tall Trees in West Elizabeth. Strangely, the man that is knocked out is killed/knocked out permanently. This encounter is very common while on a Nightwatch job.
The Better Man
This encounter is just like Put up your dukes, except instead of a fistfight, it's a gunfight on horseback. Once one of the men kills the other, they will claim that the man was trying to kill him, but the two men are neither lawmen nor criminals. They're just two guys who wanted to settle their differences using guns. Upper-tier Honor status (in which "crimes" below direct murder are not heavily scrutinized) offers Marston the option to simply bloodlessly hogtie both assailants, not even determining guilt, as an effective solution if inclined to the chivalrous-knightly way.
These random encounters don't fit into any of the above categories.
Outside cities, the player might encounter a man on a horse hunting some kind of animal. The player can help him out and receive a thanks from him. This event is not marked with a blue circle, but when it happens, you will hear music typical to this type of event. Assisting the hunter also appears to be one of the only methods in which to hunt and skin regular bears, as opposed to the grizzlies in the rest of the game, as well as hunt buffalo after their extinction related to the Manifest Destiny achievement/trophy. It is possible that animals like boars can appear in Mexico, or bighorns in New Austin, due to this. Once the animal is dead, the hunter will dismount and stand over the dead animal. While he does this, the player can select to skin the animal and get the loot from the animal without actually waiting through the skinning animation.
Occasionally, the player may come across someone grieving over a dead body. If the player sits there and watches them for a minute (they will not talk to the player), the grieving person will either shoot themselves in the head or drink poison. The situations the player comes upon will vary slightly, as the couple may be two men, two women, or a man and a woman. In almost every case, it appears the already dead person was shot or possibly stabbed (due to the pooling of blood beneath them). The player can loot the person who commits suicide once they've died, but not the already-dead corpse. The player may shoot the gun or bottle out the living man's hands before he commits suicide, which will, in turn, give the player honor. The man will thank the player and walk off. This is most common in the Tall Trees and Cochinay areas that are secluded from society. It has also been confirmed near and around Lake Don Julio and occasionally in Escalera. It can also be seen near MacFarlane's Ranch. The event will be made noticeable by loud crying.
- Main article: Random Encounters/Undead Nightmare