An enigmatic character, the Strange Man appears to know John Marston very well, including details about his past life in Dutch's Gang that John himself does not know. The Strange Man dresses in a black three-piece suit with a black tie and black top hat.
The Strange Man is the focus of the stranger side-mission I Know You, which is only available for John Marston. John meets the Strange Man in three separate places during the mission, once in each territory of the game. Each time, the man gives vague answers to John's questions, and twice, asks John to perform errands for strangers.
During the third encounter with the Strange Man he says, "This is a fine spot." This location later serves as John's gravesite.
In an issue of Gamepro Magazine, a closer look at Red Dead Redemption was given. When asked about the Strange Man quest, and whether the "man in the black top hat" represented God or Satan, Rockstar told the magazine that they could not tell if the Strange Man was God, Satan, or anything else.
It is actually possible to kill the Strange Man. The player just has to shoot him before triggering the cutscene. Doing so will fail the mission.
The player cannot kill him once the mission is complete.
The Strange Man can be "killed" right after the second encounter. He will appear to have died and the body can be looted. Doing so does not affect the "I Know You" side missions in any way.
If the player points a gun at him, he can pull out a Cattleman Revolver and shoot and kill the player. He may also run away while yelling at John.
There is a portrait of a man who bares a striking resemblance to the Strange Man that can be found in several locations. The picture can be found hanging in John and Abigail's bedroom at Beecher's Hope, also directly over Jack's bed and above the piano in the living room. Another picture of this man can be found in the Blackwater safe house just above the saloon. Whether this man in the portrait is the Strange Man is unconfirmed
After the first encounter with him, players can point a gun at him and he will start to run. If he is hogtied, he will keep talking as if the situation were normal. However, pointing a gun at him is considered a crime and civilians will attempt to alert law enforcement.
The Strange Man is the only character John meets within all three territories of the map.
If the player attacks the Strange Man he will say things like, "You always were a nasty little orphan," "Come now, Marston," or "You haven't changed."
John: “Damn you!”
Stranger: “Yes, many have...”
―John Marston and The Strange Man
I'm an accountant...in a way.
—The Strange Man
You kill people so easily, yet you respect the vows of marriage. That's very curious, John.
—The Strange Man
This is a fine spot.
—The Strange Man referring to what will later become John's gravesite
We have to stop meeting like this John.
—The Strange Man before meeting John for the last time
Marston, what a coincidence!
—The Strange Man before the last encounter.
If it isnt my old friend.
—The Strange Man "surprised" to see Marston again.