Red Dead Redemption 2 is the story of Arthur Morgan, one of the right-hand men of the Van der Linde gang. The first Red Dead Redemption told the tale of John Marston hunting down what's left of the Van der Linde gang for the Pinkertons, presenting the last gasp of the Wild West. Morgan's story is about how the gang fell apart in the first place, as gang leader Dutch Van der Linde leads his people down a dark path. It all culminates in a mission simply entitled "Red Dead Redemption".
That's the main story of Red Dead Redemption 2 though. The game is also full of other stories: missions for other gang members, tales of the frontier, and a host of encounters with various strangers. Here's a few of the highlights that you'll find if you search far and wide in Red Dead Redemption 2. You could say these are the best missions in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Redemption 2's Best Missions
Below are our choices for the eight best missions in Red Dead Redemption 2 that you won't find by following the main path. There will obviously be some spoilers contained within, but we've tried to leave some of the best moments out so you can experience them yourself.
A Quiet Time
This is one of the missions mentioned repeatedly by the Red Dead Redemption 2 community. Following a close call with the authorities, the Van der Linde Gang's young freed black man, Lenny Summers, needs some time to relax. Arthur is told to take Lenny out on the town, with the plan being to have a quiet drink in the Valentine saloon.
What follows is several drinks, leading to a night full of drunken revelry. Arthur and Lenny bang back shots, dance with other bar patrons, and generally get into trouble. At the mission's height, Arthur wanders through the bar, trying to find Lenny, a task made nearly impossible because everyone looks like Lenny. Arthur eventually gets into trouble with the law, leading to a drunken chase from Valentine.
The events are just so unexpected in the context of Red Dead Redemption 2, which up until that point had been playing things more straightforward. "A Quiet Time" is why you can go into any Red Dead Redemption 2 thread or post, type "Ynnel!"—one of Arthur's replies when he's looking for Lenny—and the community will know what you're referencing.
The Smell of Grease Paint
If you take Arthur on a journey over to the Van Horn Trading Post in the east, you'll find yourself getting into some fisticuffs in the local saloon. The fight will begin after Arthur steps into an argument between a stern woman named Miss Marjorie and her companion Bertram. Bertram is a giant of a man, but he's none too smart; obviously a reference to Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Fight Bertram and calm him down to kick this mission off in earnest.
See, Marjorie and Bertram are members of a theater troupe, and their final member is the magician Magnifico. Being the kind sort he is, Arthur has to track down the diminutive magician and convince him to return to the crew. Of course, this requires chasing him while he throws down colored smoke to hide his path. If you succeed, you'll later find the team performing at the Vaudeville Theatre in Saint Denis. And yes, they have an entire performance, which is part of why this is such a fun mission.
A Bright Bouncing Boy
This mission starts with Arthur helping an inventor by sinking toy ships in a pond with a remote-controlled battleship and ends with a lonely automaton on a mountain. In Saint Denis, you'll run into Marko Dragic, who needs your help with his experiment. You take control of his radio-driven marvel so he can show off to a rich client.
Once you help him, you'll later find Dragic's research lab up north of Brandywine Drop. There, the scientist wants your help with an odd lightning experiment; that's the key here, so make sure you visit when a thunderstorm is in the area. Finishing this task leads to Dragic showing you his mighty work: a humanoid robot.
If you return to the lab again later, you'll find that Dragic is dead at the hands of his creation, much like Dr. Frankenstein. You'll find the robot again in the northwest of map. Follow the electric lamp you obtained from Dragic's body and you'll find the robot, sitting and crying out for its "Papa," before shorting out completely.
The Iniquities Of History
This is another oft-mentioned mission in the Red Dead Redemption 2 community. In the rundown town of Rhodes, you'll find old Jeremiah Compson sitting on a bench. His story is a familiar one in the world of Red Dead Redemption 2: he had a specific set of skills and with the coming of civilization, those skills are no longer needed. Compson asks for your help in retrieving some lost items of his, including his trusty pistol, watch, and ledger. You can find all three items in Compson's foreclosed home, north of the town.
The ledger provides Arthur with some insight into what old Compson did in his younger days. He was a slaver, finding slaves and selling them to the highest bidder. The mission highlights something that's brought up again later in the game: not all that was lost in transition from the Old West was good.
Arthur throws Compson's ledger on the fire, which causes the old man to attempt to shoot Arthur with his gun, which isn't so trusty after all. It jams. You can leave the old man there crying by the fire, but I just put him out of his misery.
The Wisdom Of The Elders
This mission is a trip. Well, at least for the characters you interact with, not Arthur. Out under a bridge near a river west of the Van Horn Trading Post, you find old man Obediah Hinton. You can help him back to his home in the town of Butcher Creek.
When you check on him again later, you'll hear tales of demons besieging the town, delivered in Obediah's weird Gollum-speak. The "demons" turn out to be sick, raving dogs, which Arthur takes care of.
Once you finish off the dogs, a shaman appears, the clear culprit of the small town's belief in demons. He has the entire town hanging on his every word. Hoping to help the people see that there is no curse, Arthur destroys some "cursed" artifacts in the trees around the town. After some investigation in a nearby dig site, Arthur realizes that the town's water supply has been tainted, causing hallucinations if they drink it.
The "shaman" is actually an employee of the Roanoke Fuel Company, seeking to convince the town to move away from the dig site, which is full of nothing but arsenic and lead. Arthur shows the town the truth and... they still think they're cursed. Yeah, you can't change some folks' minds.
Charlotte The Widow
At the northwesternmost point of the map, you'll find Willard’s Rest. There's a widow named Charlotte is burying her husband. The couple came out to the wilderness to find something "authentic". Both came from rich families and the truth was neither was prepared for the wilderness. Charlotte can't hunt or protect herself. Arthur volunteers to teach her how to shoot and hunt. You'll hunt some food with her and protect her from the local wildlife.
If you return later, Charlotte is doing better, but she still doesn't know exactly how to shoot. So Arthur trains her to shoot bottles near her home. Once you give her a primer, she'll invite you inside for a meal. Unfortunately, Charlotte can't cook either and the meal causes Arthur to pass out. He wakes up in her bed, to find her out hunting on her own.
If you visit her one more time, you'll find that all the teaching has worked out. Charlotte is a fully independent woman living on the land. Unlike most of the missions on this list, it's not a flashy or showy one. It's just Arthur helping a woman and then seeing a very positive outcome. As far as missions go, it's pretty heartwarming.
Out in O'Creagh’s Run to the west of Annesburg, you'll find the one-legged Hamish Sinclair calling for your help. Old Hamish needs you to track down his horse Buell. You just need to find the horse and lead it back to him. The old man is a veteran of the Civil War, but he's getting by in the wilderness just fine.
This is the opposite of the Charlotte mission above, where old Hamish has something to teach Arthur. If you meet him at his cabin, the old man will teach you how to catch a legendary fish. After that, Hamish and Arthur share stories of their younger days, before they both go hunting for a wolf that's been terrorizing the local region. Of course, the wolf isn't alone.
The final adventure with Hamish has the old man and Arthur chasing a huge boar that's milling about his property. It's one last battle for the old veteran, as the pair face off against the boar. Arthur brings it down, but not before Hamish is fatally wounded. As the veteran dies, he gives Arthur his horse. As positive as Charlotte's end is, Hamish's is equally saddening.
This last mission contains major spoilers for the end of Red Dead Redemption 2's story. You've been warned!
The American Inferno, Burnt Out
Before Red Dead Redemption 2 came out, much of the talk around the game was about the consistent problem of crunch in game development. Developers working too hard and neglecting their well-being for the sake of the work. And the final mission on this list seems to tackle that problem in Red Dead Redemption 2's own unique way.
This mission takes place after the end of the game's main story campaign, when you're playing as John Marston. While out on the frontier, Marston meets writer Evelyn Miller, who is suffering a case of writer's block. Miller takes Marston out to help animals caught by local trappers, before confronting the trappers themselves. Once you beat the snot out of them, Miller is inspired and ready to write.
When you return later, Miller has locked himself inside his cabin to finish his book. All Marston has to do is bring him food occasionally. When you return the final time, you'll find Miller dead at his writing desk. Marston takes his final work, a book simply called America, and then burns the cabin down with Miller's dead body inside.
Was the work worth it? We'll never know if Miller felt that way.