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Why Sadie Adler is more important than you think in RDR2

Sure, Arthur Morgan is important to Red Dead Redemption 2. And yes, John Marston is also an important character, as the events of Red Dead 2 lead into John's story in the first Red Dead Redemption. Outside of that, can you name another vital character? There's Dutch, who has a role in both. After that, though, who's left? Who impacts the game in any meaningful way outside of the three characters mentioned above?

How dare you forget about Sadie Adler.

Sadie isn't a main character in any Red Dead game. But as you look at what took place in Red Dead Redemption 2, and how certain plot points impacted the story told in Red Dead Redemption, it's hard not to see Sadie Adler turning up at every key moment. Almost everything she does resonates throughout Red Dead 2's story. Every action she takes has meaning. There are characters you can remove from Red Dead 2's narrative without hurting the overall tale. But Sadie Adler is not one of them. A world without Sadie Adler would've been drastically different. And that means she is important — more important than you think.

Below, we'll tell you exactly why Sadie matters in Red Dead Redemption 2.

She's the most fleshed-out female character in the game

Choose any other female character in Red Dead Redemption 2 and ask yourself, what's their backstory? What motivates them? It doesn't matter who you choose, be it Abigail or Molly or Miss Grimshaw: those are going to be difficult questions to answer. Because almost every single female character in the game lacks depth, and they lack depth because the game isn't interested in telling their story. If you're a woman in the Van der Linde gang, you exist solely to advance someone else's narrative. Not your own.

That is, unless you're Sadie Adler.

The story of Red Dead Redemption 2 is entirely too long and drawn out, but we have to credit Rockstar for doing one thing remarkably well: the game is as much about Sadie Adler as it is about Arthur Morgan and John Marston. You don't get to play as Sadie — a crime, really — but she gets a full story of her own, which you watch play out through the eyes of either Arthur or John. And her story is far more interesting, to boot! From her introduction early in the game to her departure at its conclusion, everything Sadie does is riveting. And frankly, that's not something you can say about any of the other female characters — or even some of the male characters, for that matter.

Hers, too, is a story of redemption

What is being redeemed in Red Dead Redemption 2, exactly? You could make the argument that the game largely focuses on Arthur, and that his redemption — the turn he makes toward saving another person at the end — is what the title is referencing. You could also argue for John, who leaves behind a life of crime in order to make a living legitimately.

The beauty of Sadie Adler's character is that her narrative arc fits right in with that same theme. Heck, the title could even be about her, for all we know.

When we happen upon Sadie early in Red Dead Redemption 2, she's a broken housewife, mourning her murdered husband. She joins the gang and mostly skulks in the corner of camp, consumed by her sadness. But over time, she opens up. She befriends Arthur and tags along on some of his quests. She eventually decides she wants to be one of the guns in the gang, and buys herself a whole new outfit to look the part. She harbors hatred toward the O'Driscolls and doesn't miss an opportunity to exact her revenge on the men who killed her husband.

But then she comes back to the good side. She parts ways with the gang and becomes a bounty hunter. Sadie Adler redeems herself in the end, just as Arthur and John did. And it's all we could've asked for regarding one of Red Dead's best characters.

She defies the damsel-in-distress trope

We see it time and time again in books and in film. The hero of the story is a man, and that man is the only person who can save the day. He might have a sidekick who mostly exists to make the hero look good. And he almost always has a female love interest, whose role in the tale is to be rescued.

That is not Sadie Adler. Not by a longshot.

Her story certainly starts out that way, looking like a man is going to come along and save this grieving widow. But as the story pushes ahead, we learn that's not the case at all. Sadie makes it clear over time that she does not need your help. She is not going to hide with the women while the men protect the homestead. She is not going to cry in a corner while her husband's killers still walk the earth. Sadie Adler does what she wants, and Sadie Adler can handle her own business.

Sadie's independence is a refreshing change of pace from the many damsels in distress we've seen. And her character has raised the bar for every female character in every video game going forward.

She isn't content with sitting around doing nothing

The Van der Linde gang has quite a few freeloaders — you know, people who aren't really doing anything. People who don't appear to be contributing in any meaningful way. Ask yourself, what in the world is Uncle doing for the gang? What does Reverend Swanson bring to the table? These characters are better at drinking than they are anything else, and they have no qualms about piggybacking on everyone else's hard work.

That isn't how Sadie Adler rolls. She doesn't want to sit around camp all day while someone else does all the work. She wants to be involved. She wants to do her part.

Sadie starts out trying to help Pearson cook for the gang. But Pearson isn't one for accepting help. He finds Sadie to be more of a nuisance, and Sadie likewise doesn't care for Pearson much, either. So Sadie starts asking to go out on missions. She shows her handiness with a gun. She changes her wardrobe, looking less like the other ladies in camp and more like a gunfighter. And eventually, she becomes one of the more reliable shooters in the Van der Linde gang, helping its members get out of a lot of sticky situations.

She is the reason the gang survives the Guarma episode

When the gang's job in Saint Denis goes awry, many of its members are forced to hide out on a boat near the city's docks. As it turns out, that ship is moving out, giving the gang what looks like a clean getaway. They'll be able to set up shop elsewhere, round up the remaining members of the gang, and start over in a brand new place.

Like so many plans, unfortunately, that one doesn't work out either.

The ship capsizes during a storm, stranding the gang on an island called Guarma, and leaving those back at Shady Belle without their fighters. Sadie wisely moves what's left of the gang away from Shady Belle — knowing full well that the Pinkertons will come search it — and finds them a new home in Lakay. And Sadie also ensures Dutch, Arthur, and the rest will be able to find the new location once they arrive back on the mainland. She leaves a letter at Shady Belle from a "Caroline," letting the guns know where to regroup with everyone else.

Sadie is directly responsible for reuniting the gang after its members are separated. Without Sadie, who knows how things would've ended.

Her rescue of John from the prison kept him alive

When the law shows up and ruins the gang's robbery of the bank in Saint Denis, a lot is lost. Hosea is killed in the street. Lenny is gunned down on a rooftop. And John Marston is captured and sent to Sisika Penitentiary. It's assumed that the gang will go to try and rescue John at some point, but amazingly, Dutch appears to have no interest in springing John from captivity.

So the job of breaking John out of jail falls to Arthur. And, more importantly, it also falls to Sadie.

Sadie is the one who meets up with the hot air balloon operator, enlisting his help to fly Arthur out above the prison's island. Sadie helps Arthur fight off a pack of O'Driscoll gang members on the way there. And Sadie rows to the island with Arthur and rescues John, saving him from a potential death sentence.

Without Sadie's work on this mission, it's doubtful John would've been rescued.

Offering John work as a bounty hunter helped him pay for his ranch

The prison break isn't the only time Sadie helped John.

After the gang split up, John and his family attempted to start over. John took a job on a ranch, doing grunt work like shoveling out stalls and building fences. Eventually, he managed to work his way up into being one of the ranch's best hands. He left intending to start a ranch of his own, securing a loan in order to acquire some property and build a house. The problem, however, was that John had no idea how to run a ranch. And he had a mortgage to pay.

Enter Sadie Adler. Sadie sent John a letter asking him to meet with her, and pitched him on working as a bounty hunter. Sadie's bounty hunting gig ultimately helped John afford his mortgage payments, giving him some runway to build out the ranch while still having a source of income.

Had Sadie not reappeared in John's life, there's a very good chance John wouldn't have had his ranch for very long.

Her assistance ultimately rids the world of Micah

Sadie lived on the right side of the law as a bounty hunter, but that didn't mean she gave up lawlessness entirely. She still had a bullet with Micah's name on it, and she intended to make sure he got payback for what he did to Arthur and the rest of the gang. While John was trying to get his ranch up and running, Sadie was still out in the world, keeping an ear to the ground for news about Micah's whereabouts.

When she finally got a lead, she visited the ranch to collect John and Charles. And then the three rode off to finish Micah's story.

Sadie is immensely useful on this mission, managing to pull a gun on Micah despite having suffered a stab wound earlier. And her work beforehand tracking Micah down gave John the chance to do what all three had always wanted: shoot Micah dead. There's a very good chance that, without Sadie, Micah might have lived out his remaining days without having to worry about retribution. Sadie kept the revenge mission alive and made sure everyone else saw it through to the end.

She has dreams beyond living in the West

It took some time for Sadie to adjust to her new life as a widow. But wow, did she ever adjust well. The housewife we met in the early parts of Red Dead Redemption 2 gave way to a true badass, a woman who was not at all like any of the other in the game. Had her husband's murder never occurred, one might imagine that Sadie would've gone on living that same life in that small house. But as grisly as the murder was, and as hard as she took it at the time, it actually freed her. And it made her reconsider what she wanted in life.

Like living in South America. That's something Sadie wanted to do.

So many other characters in Red Dead didn't have a plan. They knew they wanted to rob something and get rich. They knew they wanted to reboot their lives with some money in the bank. But beyond that, they didn't really have hopes and dreams. Sadie had a dream of moving to South America, something she probably wouldn't have done if she were still married. And at the end of the game, she leaves John and his family at the ranch, presumably to do just that.

She's one of the few logical choices to lead the next game

Say the words "Red Dead Redemption 3" and think about what that game could actually be. To start, it's doubtful Rockstar would do another prequel in the series, meaning that a Red Dead 3 would take place after the events of the first Red Dead Redemption. And yes, you have to wrap your mind in a pretzel shape to remember that the chronological order would then be Red Dead Redemption 2Red Dead Redemption, then Red Dead Redemption 3. What a mess.

But there's a more important discussion to be had. Who would be the lead character in Red Dead Redemption 3? Light spoilers here, but who is still alive to take up the mantle?

The obvious choice is Sadie Adler.

It's assumed that Sadie leaves for South America at the end of Red Dead Redemption 2. And plot-wise, that could help explain her absence during the events of Red Dead Redemption. Sadie could conceivably come back after that, seeking out revenge against those who killed her friends. Or Sadie could remain in South America and be the star of a whole new story there.

Sadie is a fan-favorite character. It just makes sense to give her the leading role in the next Red Dead game.