|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.
West Elizabeth is one of three major territories featured in Red Dead Redemption and is the smallest territory in the game.
West Elizabeth is composed of two constituent regions, Tall Trees and the Great Plains. The landscape progresses from rolling grasslands in the Great Plains region through snowy, impassable mountains around the edges of Tall Trees. New Austin is situated to the Southwest, and separates West Elizabeth from the Northern Mexican territory of Nuevo Paraíso. West Elizabeth is characterized as being the most modern and industrialized settlement in the West, the thriving port town of Blackwater, which also serves as the state's capital. The state is distinguished from others due to its uniformed police force, cobbled roads and named streets.
While the territory is home to the major settlement of Blackwater, most of it merely consists of small farms and Indian camps. The majority of the state is just grassy prairies as well as pine forests. Some of the last wild Buffalo are found here. To the north, however, the prairies give way to forests and snowy mountains. This area is home to a large Native American population, many of whom are members of Dutch's Gang.
The game's opening cinematic begins with John Marston arriving in the region by steamboat, escorted by Federal Bureau agents Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham. The cinematic then transports the story to New Austin before giving control to the player. The player does not gain access to West Elizabeth again until the third chapter in the game's storyline, following completion of the mission "An Appointed Time". The focus of the game remains in West Elizabeth through the conclusion of the main storyline.
Locations in West Elizabeth
The following fifteen locations are found in the West Elizabeth territory:
- Aurora Basin
- Bearclaw Camp
- Dixon Crossing
- Manzanita Post
- Mason's Bridge
- Montana Ford
- Nekoti Rock
- Pacific Union Railroad Camp
- Tanner's Reach
- Tanner's Span
- This is the only region not to have any Gang Hideouts that the player can attack. There are still gang members that can be captured via Bounty Hunting, however. Cochinay is considered a gang hideout but plays only a story-based role and cannot be revisited to eliminate the gang in the area.
- As with the boundary between New Austin and Nuevo Paraíso, the transition of the music when the player moves between New Austin and West Elizabeth can take some time to register.
- The landscape is reflective of various states in the Western United States. The eastern portion of West Elizabeth resembles, and is named after, the Great Plains while the western portion (Tall Trees area) resembles the front range states along the Rocky Mountains.
- The name would appear to be a reference to West Virginia, since Elizabeth I was the eponymous "Virgin Queen" Virginia was named after.
- This region is host to a wide variety of game for hunting, as the player can hunt for Bear, Wolf, Cougar, Elk, Bighorn, and Boar along with many other species in Tall Trees.
- West Elizabeth is the first state seen in the whole game, as the game technically begins in Blackwater when John departs the Morningstar at the very beginning of Exodus in America.
- West Elizabeth is the only of the three territories to have native Americans; the vast majority of whom are members of Dutch's Gang and are, therefore, extremely hostile.
- West Elizabeth is the most developed territory as it has Blackwater, a fully developed city and a heavy government influence. However, there are still many untamed elements to this land such as the natives, the wildlife and there are even small settlements such as Manzanita Post formed by natives or frontiersmen.
Early Access to West Elizabeth
- Be sure to have a fast horse such as the War Horse, Kentucky Saddler or the Hungarian Half Breed and look for a cliff near the waterfall north of the MacFarlane's Ranch. A display reading "Tall Trees" will pop up when at the edge. From there, walk over to the other side of the railroad tracks nearby, staying as close as possible to the West Elizabeth border. Pitching camp as near to the water as possible will place the player in West Elizabeth; this method works in the GOTY version. See this in action here.
- Another simple way over is to just follow this video. Once over the river, head to the Pacific Union Rail Road Camp and walk over to the stagecoach so it is marked on the map (earlier version of Red Dead - not GOTY)
- If the player is arrested at this cliff the player will be transported to Blackwater (Confirmed for GOTY and Early Version.)
- To get back to New Austin, auto-save the game and then die. However, if one buys the Manzanita Post property, the stagecoach is an option to return: this exploit still works as of 2017. Go to Thieves' Landing and use the stagecoach to go to any stagecoach marked on the map in West Elizabeth or follow the videos (depending on which Red Dead version the player has).
- Another sure option to return is to use that fast horse to jump the unfinished bridge north at Thieves' Landing at a full gallop: if careful, the other side of the bridge or land will be reached and safety achieved. Mason's bridge will also allow the player to return by hitting land underneath the bridge on the way down after leaping at a full gallop (but the fall may kill the horse and the player too if one is not careful). The Thieves' Landing bridge and Mason's bridge both work in the GOTY version.
- A very simple solution to get in and out freely without unlocking through the story line is to get arrested like mentioned above. Once out of jail, earn enough cash to buy the house in Manzanita Post, buy all the maps for the West Elizabeth towns (Great Plains, Tall tress, etc..) then save at the newly bought house. After you do this, you can come and go as you please without having to go through the story line.
The discovery of locations in West Elizabeth count towards the following Trophies/Achievements:
Uncover every location on the map in Single Player.
Attain 100% List in the singleplayer game completion list.