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Red Dead Redemption: The Mystery Behind The Strange Man

The Strange Man has confounded Red Dead Redemption fans since his appearance in the first game way back in 2010. The game never fully explains who he is or what he wants, though it does drop breadcrumbs alluding to possible explanations for the Strange Man's mysteriousness.


When John Marston first meets the Strange Man during the Strangers task titled "I Know You," it isn't apparent that he'll become such a mythical figure for the series. The fancily dressed man immediately knows John by name and asks for help with a friend of his who may cheat on his wife. Marston agrees to help, beginning a series of missions involving the Strange Man.

Marston encounters the man, top hat and all, for a second time at a chapel, where he has a choice to either rob or donate money to a nun raising funds. Finally, the third time the two men meet at the spot where Marston will eventually be buried. Marston angrily begins to shoot the Strange Man when the latter refuses to explain himself, but none of his bullets connect, even at close range. 


When Marston yells, "Damn you!" at the man, he only replies with, "Yes, many have!"

A mysterious deal

An observant YouTuber aptly named Strange Man produced a 16-minute, thorough examination of the Strange Man's possible origins. The video analyzes the Strange Man's shack in Red Dead Redemption 2, then proceeds to link details from the house to things known about the Strange Man in Red Dead Redemption. One of the most interesting observations covers the Strange Man's apparent connections to a cholera outbreak in Armadillo, which kills most of the residents and necessities the use of mass graves. Only one person survives the plague, general store owner Herbert Moon.


Strange Man (the YouTuber) points out that Marston can read a note on Moon that details a deal made with a man in a top hat. The deal refers to a choice between happiness and "two generations," meaning a continued bloodline of children and grandchildren. Moon picked continuing his family over immediate happiness, sparing him from the cholera outbreak. Strange Man corroborates this note with a map found in the aforementioned shack. The note depicts a map of Armadillo with the line, "I gave you happiness or two generations. You made your choice." Meanwhile, a man camping near the town comments that residents in the plague-infested town sometimes see a man in a top hat overlooking the area.

God and the devil are raging inside Armadillo

In their dissection of the character's origins, Strange Man concludes that the Strange Man of Red Dead Redemption is a grim reaper, some vision of death or the devil who strikes deals with people and seals their fate. Other theorists agree that the Strange Man is either God or the devil, life or death, though the games themselves never really answer the question.


Some fans have also claimed that the Unnamed Man in Red Dead Revolver is the Strange Man in subsequent games, or that he could at least be inspiration for the similarly top-hatted character. Considering the prevalence of men in hats with mustaches back in the old West, it's probably a coincidence that the two men resemble each other, but still, it's fun to dream.

The Strange Man remains one of the weirdest unsolved mysteries of video games. He's also understandably creepy, just popping all over the map unexpectedly. He even has a cameo in Red Dead Redemption 2, via a portrait in the aforementioned run down shack. Since no one has parsed out who the Strange Man is for sure, and no one at Rockstar Games has confirmed or denied his true identity, fans will just have to wonder if he's God, Satan, or something in between.