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Red Dead Redemption 2 secret achievements and trophies explained

Longtime Rockstar fans know that the studio loves to put Easter eggs and secrets in their games. Grand Theft Auto 5's grand world of Los Santos houses aliens and cannibals alike. Meanwhile, the more recent Red Dead Redemption 2 world once had hobbits and Bigfoot roam the land. The worst kinds of secrets, though, are the ones you know exist, despite not knowing what they actually are.

Red Dead Redemption 2 features 51 achievements for you to find on Xbox One, while the PlayStation 4 version has an extra trophy for the platinum. Of all these achievements, 12 of them remain secret until you unlock them. So what are you supposed to do, wander around the Wild West until you stumble upon them? Well, you could, but that would take forever.

Instead, we've gathered all of the secret achievements and trophies for Red Dead Redemption 2 and explained how to get each and every one of them. Some of them are real doozies, and we have no idea how anyone would figure them out on their own.

Fair warning: there will be spoilers for the story of Red Dead Redemption 2.

"It's Art" is one of the most obtuse achievements in RDR2

This achievement might be one of the biggest goose chases Rockstar has ever made. "It's Art" centers around a quirky statue of a cowboy squirrel. This can only be unlocked in the endgame, but you can do some of the earlier steps as Arthur. In fact, you might want to, considering how much work goes into this one.

First, get your hunting boots on, because you'll have to hunt down and deliver 19 perfect animal carcasses to Ms. Hobbs via the postal service. She requests these animals across five bounties, the first four of which can be completed as Arthur. You'll find the first one at a bulletin board in most post offices. The next ones you'll receive in the mail upon completing the previous bounties.

The fifth one can only be done by John. After delivering those animals, Ms. Hobbs will give him the cowboy squirrel statue — dressed exactly like him. You can place it on his mantle at the ranch, at which point Abigail will question his taste in "art." The statue will then mysteriously go missing six times. After finding it the sixth time, you'll unlock the achievement.

"Just a Scratch" is the kickoff for Red Dead Redemption 2

The "Just a Scratch" achievement will likely be the first secret one that you unlock, considering how early in the game it is. When you start Red Dead Redemption 2, you'll find Arthur and the rest of the Van der Linde gang surviving the harsh snowy wilderness of the mountains. Food and warmth are scarce, while the O'Driscolls and Blackwater law enforcement want Dutch's head.

Despite the harsh conditions, John left camp to scout the nearby area, but he hasn't returned in a while. Abigail asks Arthur and Javier to go track him down. You work with Javier to find John's horse and, by extension, the cowboy himself. You'll meet John in a fairly sorry state, freezing with a fresh wound on his face. You take him back to camp while fighting off a wolf attack, and Abigail thanks you for your efforts. Her disposition toward John, however, isn't as friendly.

Nonetheless, after saving the beloved future protagonist of Red Dead Redemption, you should earn the secret "Just a Scratch" achievement. The name of course refers to John's new scar, which he likely got when a wolf scratched him (pretty hard).

"Back in the Mud" is your reward for a plan well executed

"Back in the Mud" is another secret achievement you'll likely earn early in Red Dead Redemption 2. To get this one, you need to complete the entirety of Chapter 1: Colter. This means you have to get through six main story missions, and considering the world doesn't open up until chapter 2, this should be pretty easy to do.

After saving John, you take Arthur and lead an attack on some O'Driscolls, stealing their plans to rob a train. Now they're Dutch's plans, and you have to execute them. So Arthur sets off with a squad to relieve the train of Leviticus Cornwall's high-value bonds. Of course, some gunfire gets exchanged between the outlaws and the train guards, but at the end of the day, Dutch's gang walks away with more money in their pocket.

With high spirits and good weather, the mission "Eastward Bound" starts, in which the gang moves, well, east, away from the mountains. They set up camp in Horseshoe Overlook, trading snow for mud. This kicks off chapter 2 while earning you the "Back in the Mud" achievement.

Getting forced out of Valentine earns you the "To Greener Pastures" achievement

You'll unlock the "To Greener Pastures" achievement after a long stint in and around Valentine. All you need to do is complete Chapter 2: Horseshoe Overlook. Granted, this chunk of the story stands as one of the longest series of missions in Red Dead Redemption 2. On top of that, the world significantly opens up in this chapter, so you could ostensibly ignore the main story for hours on end if you wanted to.

Chapter 2 features 17 main missions, and they branch out in different ways. Some teach you the ways of the open world, like how to hunt down legendary animals and how to use the fence to trade illegal goods. You'll rob another train, although this time it ends with the law coming down on you.

The end of chapter 2 nears when you take Jack on an innocent fishing trip, which gets interrupted by some Pinkertons. On top of that, Cornwall gets fed up with Dutch's gang and confronts them in Valentine, turning the entire local police force on you. This urges the gang to find metaphorical "greener pastures." After setting up camp in Clemens Point, you'll earn this secret achievement.

"Settling Feuds" is your reward for the bloodiest solution to an old problem

After setting up the gang's third camp, you'll kick off Chapter 3: Clemens Point. This camp puts you in close proximity to Rhodes, Braithwaite Manor, and Caliga Hall, and it'll be where you earn the "Settling Feuds" secret achievement. The area has been plagued with a long-running feud between the Braithwaites and the Grays, two powerful families that think the other stole their gold.

You'll play a sort of double agent between the two families, all while facilitating a courtship between two of their younger members. The Braithwaite-Gray feud ends with you and the gang storming Braithwaite Manor and slaughtering everyone there. That's one way to settle a dispute between two parties.

Another feud comes to a head between Dutch and his longtime rival, Colm O'Driscoll. Colm arranges a "peaceful" negotiation with Dutch, but it ends up being a trap, leading to Arthur becoming a prisoner. You'll eventually escape and recover, and much like the previous chapter, the heat starts catching up to Dutch.

In the final mission, Lenny will help you clear out Shady Belle, which becomes your next camp site. After moving there, you'll earn "Settling Feuds."

You'll find yourself "Washed Ashore" after a failed romp through Saint Denis

Once you're nestled into your fourth camp site, you'll find the whole city of Saint Denis just a stone's throw away. That's perfect, because if you want to earn the secret "Washed Ashore" achievement, you'll be spending a lot of time in and around the city. You earn the achievement by beating Chapter 4: Saint Denis, which consists of 11 main story missions.

The first thing you set out to do in the city is find Angelo Bronte, who has Jack in his custody. After rescuing the child, Bronte double crosses Dutch's gang by reporting them to the authorities, nearly costing them their lives. In response, Dutch kidnaps the crime lord, impulsively killing him out of sheer anger. Once you've seen that disturbing cutscene, you'll know you're close to the end of chapter 4.

The final mission has you rob the bank in Saint Denis, but it won't go well. You'll end up on the shores of an island called Guarma, hence the achievement name, "Washed Ashore."

"No Traitors" comes after Red Dead Redemption 2's shortest chapter

"No Traitors" is the last secret achievement that hinges on the completion of an entire chapter. When you clear Chapter 5: Guarma, you'll earn this achievement, and luckily, this section of Arthur's journey is one of the shorter ones. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most tense, heartbreaking ones.

You'll start off on the island nation of Guarma, and you'll be on rails for the most part. You need to regroup with your allies and find a way off the island. All the while, an autocratic military dictator controls Guarma. So you'll need to do a couple missions with a local rebel group to secure passage back to America.

After meeting up with the rest of the gang, things will be a little tense thanks to Dutch's growing paranoia over possible traitors in his midst. Even worse, Arthur will get diagnosed with tuberculosis, which is a real punch in the gut. Once you liberate Beaver Hollow from the Murfrees, you'll complete chapter 5, earning the "No Traitors" achievement.

The achievement for revenge long sought is "Third Time Lucky"

To unlock "Third Time Lucky," all you need to do is complete a mission called "Goodbye, Dear Friend." You can't access this until you reach Chapter 6: Beaver Hollow, and you can get the mission from Sadie or Dutch.

Essentially, Dutch has caught wind that his longtime rival, Colm O'Driscoll, has been caught by law enforcement officers — again. Colm has been a wanted man for years, and he was apprehended twice before. However, both times, he found a way to escape. This time around, Dutch wants to make sure he doesn't escape. After all, the third time's the charm, and Colm's Irish luck has just run out.

You have to take up a sniping position while Sadie and Dutch make sure the O'Driscolls don't interfere on the ground. You'll have to get through a firefight while perched atop a building, covering your allies from an attack. When you complete the mission, you'll get the "Third Time Lucky" achievement.

"Redemption" is an apt title for a Red Dead Redemption 2 achievement

The eponymous "Redemption" secret achievement can only be earned at the end of chapter 6. Coincidentally, it comes in the last moments Arthur has left, in which he redeems his life of crime. This mission is simply called "Red Dead Redemption."

At this point, things at camp will have fallen apart. Abigail has been captured by the Pinkertons, and John is presumed dead. Arthur can barely breath, on account of his tuberculosis. Yet, he and Sadie vow to save Abigail, despite Dutch leaving her for dead.

Later on, Arthur finally confronts Dutch and the traitor, Micah. The ending changes based on your honor and a major decision at the end, but in all of them, Arthur dies after standing against his twisted father figure. In the more honorable choices, he does so while ensuring a better life for John and his family.

Through his death, he redeems himself. He was once nothing but a lackey with a gun, constantly manipulated by Dutch to do heinous acts. In his final moments, he acts for himself, doing what he believes is right. He earns his redemption, just like you earn the secret "Redemption" achievement.

"Cowboy Builder" caps John's first turn as protagonist

The lengthy epilogue for Red Dead Redemption 2 houses quite a few secret achievements for you to obtain. Thankfully, the "Cowboy Builder" achievement doesn't take too much work to figure out, as long as you keep doing the main story missions.

After John buys his own land, he has to work on building a home. This kicks off the mission "A New Jerusalem," and when you finish it, you'll earn the "Cowboy Builder" achievement. With the help of Charles and Uncle, John obtains a pre-cut ranch house, but he has to put it together himself. The house represents a lot for John, considering it's meant to be the home that will reunite his family and usher in a prosperous future. In a way, it reflects on the biblical reference of the mission name.

The majority of the mission is a story moment, with most of the gameplay being quick-time events and prompted movements. In terms of difficulty, it doesn't take much to accomplish this one. Once you finish building the house, though, John will earn the right to call himself a cowboy and a builder, hence the achievement name.

"Endless Summer" brings us to the end of Red Dead Redemption 2

The "Endless Summer" secret achievement signifies that you've completed the main story of Red Dead Redemption 2, including the epilogue. All you have to do is take on the mission "American Venom," which will put you on Micah's trail. Sadie and Charles join you on this mission, even though Abigail begs John to drop this revenge attempt.

You'll fight your way to the top of Mount Hagen, a snowy mountaintop region rife with Micah's gun-toting lackeys. This mission features one of the longer fights in Red Dead Redemption 2, made even tougher by a distinct lack of cover in some parts. Nonetheless, when you finally reach the end of this mission, you'll come face to face with Micah.

The mission ends when you return to Abigail, at which point the final scenes of the game will play. All the while, you'll get the "Endless Summer" achievement. The name references The Endless Summer, a 1960s documentary about two surfers who traveled the world to follow the summer sun. John's in a similar boat, now that the game is over. The open world is his to endlessly explore.