Follow up to the 2004's Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age.
Red Dead Redemption recreates the American West at the turn of the 20th century: a violent and turbulent time of rapid growth and change. Players become the partially reformed outlaw John Marston; blackmailed by the government, his family threatened as he is forced to traverse the vast and unforgiving expanses of the Western frontier in search of members of his former gang. In a dangerous world full of opportunistic criminals, corrupt officials and settlers battling the elements in a struggle to survive, Marston’s journey takes him from the dusty and lawless frontier to the civilized towns of the North, and down into a Mexico on the brink of a full-scale civil war.
Utilizing Rockstar's proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), Red Dead Redemption features an open-world environment for players to explore, including frontier towns, rolling prairies teeming with wildlife, and perilous mountain passes - each packed with an endless flow of varied distractions. Along the way, players will experience the heat of gunfights and battles, meet a host of unique characters, struggle against the harshness of one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses, and ultimately pick their own precarious path through an epic story about the death of the Wild West and the gunslingers that inhabited it.
The History that Helped Inspire Red Dead Redemption - Bad Guys Gone Good... and Vice Versa - Part Three: Tom Horn
In the dying West, the line between lawman and outlaw was a thin one, and no one walked that line more ambiguously than the subject of part three of our True West series of Red Dead Redemption historical research insights, Tom Horn – the man who infamously remarked, “Killing men is my speciality. I look at it as a business proposition, and I think I have a corner on the market.”
Tom Horn was born in 1860 to a Missouri farming family, and an abusive mother and father who routinely beat him to break him of what they called his “Indian ways.” After a last world-class beating at his dad’s hands that left him in bed for a week, the teenager ran away from home to make his own way.
Even as a child, Tom was a prodigious hunter of wild game; perhaps this explains how, after living on his own a while, he landed in the US Army as a teenaged army scout under the famous generals Nelson A. Miles and George Crook. Rising through the ranks, he eventually played a lead role in the capture and surrender of legendary Apache leader and warrior, Geronimo.
Following a stint as a successful ranch hand and champion steer wrestler, Horn next worked as a deputy sheriff in either Colorado or Arizona (accounts differ) before being recruited by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, the fearsome organization that revolutionized modern law enforcement practices. Cold, calm, efficient and unstoppable once on the trail of his targets, Horn was nevertheless pushed out of the Agency less than five years later due to his persistent habit of scandalous killings that made even the brutal and ruthless Pinkertons look bad.
By the turn of the century, Horn finally did away with any pretense of legal authority and began working as a freelance “Range Detective”—in reality, a hitman for hire—taking $500 (or what would be $13,000 in today’s dollars) from rich land and cattle barons in Wyoming to hunt down and kill any cattle rustlers or agitators they wanted to disappear. Horn was said to stalk his targets for days, learning their habits and movements; posting up out of sight, Horn killed them with a single shot to the head, then left a rock under their head as his signature. While there was indeed an ugly rash of cattle theft in Wyoming, Horn had an even uglier reputation as a stone-cold killer. When Willie Nickell, the 14-year old son of a shepherd was found shot to death, Horn was fingered for the murder by a local deputy and quickly convicted by the outraged locals. Horn was made to weave his own hanging rope during his last days. His last words before being hung dead were said to be, “Hurry it up. I got nothing more to say.”
His legendary life and its corrupt end were immortalized on the big and small screen, first in the 1979 made-for-TV movie Mr. Horn (starring David Carradine as Horn) and the following year in the major motion picture Tom Horn, where Steve McQueen portrayed the detective-turned-hitman. Historians still dispute the legitimacy of the conviction but all agree, Tom Horn was perfectly capable of such a killing and undoubtedly had committed other murders for which he went unpunished.
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