John Marston, Sr.
John Marston
Nickname(s) Johnny Boy
Mr. Marston
Gender Male
Location Transitory
Affiliations Dutch van der Linde (Formerly)
Bill Williamson (Formerly)
Javier Escuella (Formerly)
Edgar Ross
Archer Fordham
Bonnie MacFarlane
Leigh Johnson
Nigel West Dickens
Seth Briars
Landon Ricketts
Luisa Fortuna
Abraham Reyes
Professor MacDougal
Vincente de Santa
Family Abigail Marston - Wife
Jack Marston - Son
Unnamed Daughter - (Deceased)
Rufus - Dog
Unnamed Mother - (Deceased)
Unnamed Father - (Deceased)
Weapon various Weapons
Voice Actor Rob Wiethoff
People don't forget. Nothing gets forgiven.


—John Marston's famous quote from RDR

John Marston is a/the central character and the main protagonist of Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare.

With the addition of the Liars and Cheats DLC pack, John Marston is also a multiplayer character model that may be selected in the "Redemption" section of the Outfitter.

With the addition of the Undead Nightmare DLC pack, an Undead version of him, known as Zombie Marston, is a Multiplayer character model that may be selected in the "Zombies" section of the Outfitter.


Early LifeEdit

John Marston was born in 1873. His father was an illiterate Scottish immigrant and his mother was a prostitute who died during childbirth. John's father was blinded in both eyes during a bar fight in Chicago.

In 1881, John's father died of unknown causes, thought to be through drink. John was only 8 years old at the time and was sent to an orphanage where he lived most of his life up to the age of 17 and where he met his future wife, Abigail, with whom he promptly ran away. Both later joined Dutch van der Linde's gang, where Dutch took care of John, teaching him how to read, shoot, and the ways of the West.

Early CareerEdit

John Marston is a former outlaw and bandit. He ran and worked with Dutch van der Linde, Bill Williamson and Javier Escuella, committing bank robberies, train raids, murders and other various crimes across the country. According to Marston, the gang stole and fought for a reason. In stealing from the rich and those who were given too much to give to the poor, they wanted to elicit change in the people of the West, although this might just be his own justification for their actions.

In 1906, after being seriously wounded in a bank robbery and being left to die by Bill Williamson and his other former brothers in arms, Marston sought to retire from the outlaw lifestyle. Putting his past deeds behind him, he disappeared along with his wife Abigail Marston and young son Jack and purchased a ranch. Between his abandonment of the gang and the beginning of the game, Marston had a daughter, but she died of an unknown illness.

Despite Marston's apparent reformation, he remains a masterful gunman, rider and hunter. Marston is a rugged survivalist and knows life as a fight for survival; he adheres to the old-fashioned West in a world rapidly experiencing the advancements of technology.

Red Dead RedemptionEdit

The old American Wild West is being tamed by encroaching technological advances such as railroads, telegram offices and stricter law enforcement. The federal government creates the Bureau of Investigation to aid in the process and puts Edgar Ross in charge. One of the Bureau's major goals is to rid the region of all of the violent gangs running wild and unchallenged, especially that of Bill Williamson. Ross decides to use an ex-associate of Williamson's to hunt him down: former outlaw John Marston. By kidnapping John's wife and son, Ross forces him to comply.

New AustinEdit

After leaving the region for unknown reasons, John arrives by ferry and is escorted by Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham through the town of Blackwater, then sent off by train to Armadillo. Once there, John is led by a man named Jake to the gates of Fort Mercer, the main hideout of the Williamson gang. In confronting his old friend, Marston tries to reason with Williamson in giving up peacefully, but this only results in a rifle bullet in the chest from one of Bill's men.

Bonnie MacFarlane and her ranch hand Amos find John left half dead at the side of the road and pick him up. After treating his wounds, Bonnie provides John with lodging, on condition he helps her around the ranch.

John works off his debt of $15 and his life to Bonnie and her father Drew MacFarlane, but when Williamson finds out that John has survived and is staying at the MacFarlane Ranch, he has his gang burn the barn down.

After helping US Marshal Leigh Johnson clean up Armadillo of some gangs, John and the Marshal begin to plan an assault on the fort. To gather a team, John works with snake oil salesman Nigel West Dickens, dysfunctional alcoholic Irish and psychotic treasure hunter Seth Briars. However, their plans of assault are temporarily delayed when they have to save Bonnie from some of Williamson's men. After saving Bonnie, John and his team carry out a full-blown assault on Fort Mercer, using a "Trojan Horse" strategy by sneaking John and a gatling gun inside the fort with Dickens' sales wagon and then jumping out and attacking when all the outlaws inside are distracted. However, after clearing the fort of outlaws, the crew discover that Williamson had fled the previous day and went into hiding in Mexico with Javier Escuella.

Nuevo ParaisoEdit

Irish escorts John south of the border to Nuevo Paraiso, where he meets the region's corrupt provisional governor Colonel Allende and his ruthless subordinate right-hand man Captain De Santa. He is forced to work for them to gain information on Williamson and Escuella. At the same time, John runs into the aging gunslinger Landon Ricketts who teaches him new gunfighting skills. Marston also aids Abraham Reyes and Luisa Fortuna, two revolutionaries working to overthrow Allende. He attempts to extract any information possible from both Allende and Reyes regarding the whereabouts of Williamson and Escuella.

Allende however, aware of John's loyalties, betrays him and has his men attempt to kill him. Reyes and his rebels arrive in time and rescue John before he is executed. John then sides with Reyes and joins the rebellion. After killing Captain de Santa, Marston and the rebels lead an attack on Allende's villa. Luisa is gunned down by Allende's men. John and Reyes manage to kill Allende and Williamson, who was seeking shelter and protection from the Mexican Army. John also successfully captures (or kills) Escuella. Reyes and his rebels take over the villa and plan on marching to Mexico's capital, fighting for revolution. John heads back to Blackwater to meet with Edgar Ross again.

West ElizabethEdit

Though his business with Williamson and Escuella is over, Ross tells him that he needs to kill Dutch van der Linde, former leader of John's old gang, or he will never see his family again. John, along with Ross, Archer Fordham and other Bureau Agents meet in several fights across West Elizabeth against Van Der Linde and his gang of Natives, but he escapes capture or death every time. Marston also works with incompetent Yale Professor Harold MacDougal and Native-American informant Nastas in tracking Dutch down. Eventually, John and the Bureau join the US Army in ambushing Dutch's hideout. He confronts Dutch himself, who warns John that the government will always find a new "monster" to justify their pay. Rather than dying by John's hand, Dutch chooses to commit suicide by falling from a cliff.

After the raid, John is released by the government and finally reunites with his family at their ranch in Beecher's Hope. He settles down with his wife Abigail and teen son Jack, along with old family-friend Uncle, and attempts to return to a crime-free life as a farmer with his family.

However, as per Dutch's warning, Edgar double-crosses John. He, along with the Bureau and US Army, launches an attack on the Marston ranch. Uncle is killed during the gunfight, while John and son continue holding off the attack. John tells Abigail and Jack to run while he stays behind in the barn to defend them. But in reality, he realizes that the only way to save his family from the government's crosshairs is to lay down his life so they can be free.

John sacrifices himself in a desperate last-stand against Ross and his men. After exiting the barn calmly and standing before a large firing-squad, he draws his pistol and takes out as many men as he can until they open fire on him. Still standing, with multiple bullet wounds on his bloody body, he breathes vigorously and drops his revolver, falls to his knees and then eventually collapses to the ground. As Ross watches Marston dying, he is clearly satisfied with knowing that the final member of Dutch's gang is dead. Ross and his men leave the ranch. Abigail and Jack, upon hearing the cease-fire, return to find John's body in a pool of blood. They bury him up on top of the hill overlooking the ranch, alongside Uncle. His grave is inscribed "Blessed are the Peacemakers."


John's death at the hands of Ross is a poetic end to his life. He sacrifices himself to save his family so they could lead a better life - the reason he sought redemption in the first place. By his death, he knew that Ross wouldn't persecute Abigail or Jack any longer, allowing them to start life fresh, allowing Jack the chance to grow up without the brutality and violence that shaped John's early life. Sadly, despite his father's sacrifice, Jack possibly still goes on to become an outlaw; he tracks down and kills Edgar Ross in revenge, without hesitation. The path to redemption, it seems, is a hard road to follow.

In 1914, three years after John was killed, Abigail dies from unknown causes. An older Jack, now a mirror image of his father, buries her body up on the hill next to John's grave. From then on, he is playable throughout the remainder of the game; retaining all of his father's weapons, clothes, money, horses, houses and fame/honor.

Undead NightmareEdit

The events of Undead Nightmare are not considered part of the same canon as Red Dead Redemption. The following description is therefore not continguous with the preceding section on Red Dead Redemption.

West ElizabethEdit

In Undead Nightmare, John Marston, the protagonist, is in his house with his wife, Abigail Marston, and son, Jack Marston. They are all talking about general things, like a book Jack is reading, however they mention that Uncle hasn't returned from what he was doing yet. John states that because of the storm, Uncle has probably sheltered in a dry place nearby and will stay there until the storm subsides.

Uncle then arrives, hideous in apperance, and attempts to attack them. John heads to a nearby shed to grab his gun. When he returns, Uncle has bitten Abigail in the neck. John shoots Uncle in the head and tends to Abigail. Jack comes outside and tries to help his mother, but Abigail turns into an Undead because of the bite from Uncle and in turn she bites Jack, turning him undead as well. John then has to hogtie both of them, and after giving them both a plate of food, he leaves them in the house and sets out to find a cure.

John goes to Blackwater, where he finds Professor MacDougal, who returned from Yale to document the undead infestation. MacDougal is killed, however, and John is forced to clear out Blackwater and look for more survivors. He finds a family on a roof, killing the undead, however they are of no help. John finds another group of survivors, who give him various theories for how the plague started, including a "Snake oil merchant", and a "Freak with a glass eye".

If John goes to Tanner's Reach, he will meet a hunter who claims to have just shot a Sasquatch and makes him start The Birth of the Conservation Movement mission, which has John hunt Sasquatches. Eventually, John learns that his hunting has doomed the Sasquatches and the last one there asks John to kill him because his family is dead. John can choose to kill him or not.

New AustinEdit

If John decides to follow the "Snake Oil Merchant" lead, he will find Nigel West Dickens in Fort Mercer, trying to sell his elixir as a cure and repellant to the plague. John however forces Nigel to stop selling it, and Nigel complies and hands out free samples to see if they like it. The elixir however is actually more of a bait, and the drinker is killed by zombies soon after drinking. Nigel is disappointed and asks John to retrieve ingredients to see if he can make a better cure. He also gives John some of the elixir to use as bait. After John returns with the ingredients, Nigel makes a Phosphorus Coating with it, and then asks John to find him some old parts he needs. After John finds the parts, Nigel uses them to make a Blunderbuss, telling John that it is the ideal weapon for zombie killing. He also tells John that he is trying to get to Mexico and should be in Solomon's Folly in a few days. At Solomon's Folly, John finds out that all paths to Mexico are blocked, and that Nigel has no way of getting to Mexico. However, Nigel tells John that if he gets a US Army uniform from some deserters, he can sneak on a train manned by the US Army that is headed to Mexico. Nigel goes off and John doesn't meet him again.

If John decides to follow the "Freak with a Glass Eye" lead, he will find Seth Briars in The Old Bacchus Place, playing cards with an undead Moses Forth. John asks Seth if there's a cure to the plague, and Seth tells him to clear the graveyards. After John clears out 3 graveyards and goes back to Seth, Seth tells him that the cause of all this has something to do with the Aztecs, and tells him to head down for Mexico if he wants to cure the plague.

In MacFarlane's Ranch, John meets Bonnie MacFarlane, who tasks him with trying to find her father, Drew MacFarlane in the barn, although she tells him he has been in there for more than a day. John finds Drew in the barn, zombified. John is forced to kill Drew, and he goes to Bonnie and tells her what happened.

In Plainview, John finds D.S. MacKenna, who tells John to bring him a Retcher, because Mackenna desires to make a zombie movie. Once John does so, Mackenna sets it and another zombie loose, and they both proceed to attack Mackenna, who is turned into a zombie. John then can kill all three of them.

In Armadillo, John meets Marshal Leigh Johnson, and Johnson asks John to find Eli and Jonah, who have been missing for a few hours. John finds Eli eating Jonah, and they both attack John. John then has to kill them both, and tell Johnson the news. Johnson also gives John a Sawed-off Shotgun.

In Fort Mercer, John sees an Army Captain posting up a missing persons poster for Millicent Waterbury. The Captain asks John to find the girl, and John finds Millicent in Pleasance House, where zombies are trying to attack her. After John saves Millicent, they head back to Fort Mercer and the Captain thanks John and tells him that there's more missing persons if he wants to help them.

If John heads to the deserters, he finds them being attacked by zombies, he can either help them and earn the uniform, or steal it and suffer the consequences. After John obtains the uniform, he can head to the train, where he finds the US Army being lightly hassled by zombies. After John helps them clear it out, the train heads to the border. At the border, the captain tells them all to get off and clear the roadblock. However, they are attacked by zombies and the US Army retreats, leaving John to kill the zombies. After he has dealt with them, John can man the train and smash through the roadblock into Mexico.

Nuevo ParaisoEdit

In Nuevo Paraiso, John finds that Mexico is actually in worse shape than America, and he heads to Las Hermanas, where he meets the Mother Superior. She tells John that the other nuns are not as resourceful as her, and that he needs to head inside Las Hermanas and save the town. After doing so, Mother Superior thanks John and John asks her why the plague is happening. She tells John that she needs a normal Undead to really find out. After John brings her a normal Undead, Mother Superior tells John that she suspects evil, and she pours holy water on the zombie, who is briefly bathed in blue flame, but is not killed. She asks John if he can clear out the Sepulcro graveyard for her, and she gives him Holy Water. After he returns, Mother Superior tells him that a woman told her that the cause of all this is because of something Abraham Reyes has done. John is then tasked with heading to Escalera and finding out what's really causing all this.

In Casa Madrugada, John meets Landon Ricketts, who is busy ridding the town of zombies. Landon seems to be holding off all the zombies by himself, and Landon tells John that if he can find something that attracts the zombies, he can combine it with Dynamite and really kill the zombies quick. After John brings Landon Undead Bait and Dynamite, Landon combines them and makes Boom Bait, after handing it to John, they say farewells and John leaves.

In Escalera, John finds a woman, who tells him that Reyes is up ahead, John finds Reyes, however, he is zombified and is trying to kill a woman. After John kills Reyes, the woman tells John that the cause of all this is because Reyes' lust for invulnerability made him steal an ancient Aztec mask, and this is why the plague started. They take the mask to the crypt where Reyes found it, and after John places the mask back in the altar, the zombies are returned to normal and John heads home.


Upon heading back to Beecher's Hope, John finds that Abigail and Jack are fine, and they are happy again. A few months later, John is dead, and in Escalera, Seth is shown stealing the ancient mask, causing all dead, including John to return as undead. However, as John was buried with Holy Water, he returns as an undead with a man's soul, allowing the player to still play as him.

Murders CommittedEdit



Main article: John Marston Quotations. Quotes can be found in the link.


Red Dead RedemptionEdit

  • Marston resembles Red Harlow with his similar scars and hat.
  • John Marston frequently claims he is somewhat hopeless in his quest. This is exposed in the mission, "This is Armadillo, USA" when he is speaking to Bonnie MacFarlane.
  • John doesn't know how to swim, and will drown in deep waters, similar to many of the protagonists of Rockstar's earlier Grand Theft Auto games. He admits this to Irish during the mission "We Shall Be Together in Paradise".
  • John appears to have a less broad sense of imagination than his son, Jack. Jack is frequently seen in Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare reading a book, and John regarding how unrealistic his stories seem. However, some of them end up becoming true.
  • John is often associated with the city, even though he is a rancher.
  • John's parents' relationship with each other is left ambiguous. As his mother was a prostitute, John implied that his father was her pimp, but even then, he still struggled with what to label him.
  • Both John and Abigail were orphans, as Abigail claims she was in the mission, "Pestilence". It's said that they ran away from the orphanage together, but it is unclear who organized the plan and how they met Dutch van der Linde.
  • John's grave marker reads "Blessed are the peacemakers," signifying his long road to redemption and peace for his family in a lawless land.
  • John is seen smoking cigarettes during cutscenes, after missions, and while watching a film in the cinema.
  • John is extremely polite to women. For example, John calls Bonnie MacFarlane "Miss MacFarlane," even after she has asked him to call her "Bonnie." He also does anything possible to keep women safe, even pistol-whipping Irish to defend two nuns.
  • In contrast to his politeness to women, John is unafraid to take the moral high-ground when dealing with less than reputable characters, like Irish with his alcoholism and Nigel West Dickens with his swindling of gullible people.
  • It is left unexplained why John arrives in Blackwater aboard a steamboat if he resides in Beecher's Hope. It is probably because he was taken somewhere while his family was being kidnapped, and while we was on the boat, the details about his nearing "adventure" were explained to him. That is the assumed reason because there is no coversation when they get off the boat, they simply walk him to the train.
  • John makes mention of his deceased daughter a few times when discussing his family. Her name and the cause of her death are unknown.
  • Not promising to resolve the problem, John usually answers with "I'll see what I can do" to Strangers after hearing their situation.
  • Before the game came out, in the trailers, John looked much younger and thinner. So did Abigail. But, this was changed due to Jack being nearly a mature man.
  • John actually doesn't have to physically kill his former gang members himself as Dutch kills himself, Javier can be captured, and Bill can be shot by Abraham Reyes.
  • John is very similar to Johnny Klebitz, the main protagonist from another Rockstar Games game, Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned. Both have a rough voice and background, both rode in a gang and both were betrayed by their gang's leader after they had gone insane and lost their ways. It should also be noted that the antagonists of the Lost and Damned and Red Dead Redemption are both named Bill. (Billy Grey and Bill Williamson). In fact, despite some minor differences, the only major differences is being nearly a century apart from one another and final outcomes are exactly opposite.
  • John's cowboy outfit, along with his hat, can be bought and worn by your PlayStation Home character and Xbox 360 Avatar.
  • John seems to be one of the only men in the game that is loyal to his wife.
  • He, along with Leigh Johnson, Abraham Reyes, Luisa Fortuna, Bonnie MacFarlane, and Drew MacFarlane, sounded different during development. This can be heard here and here.
  • It is implied during gameplay that John is blind in his left eye. After completing a Dead-Eye sequence, he will sometimes mumble "Looks like I got my eye back." Also, while wearing the Deadly Assassin Outfit and Undead Cowboy Outfit, his left eye is covered by an eye patch, and was eaten by worms, respectively.
  • John seems to get angrier when someone mentions his wife's (Abigail Marston) past and not his own.
  • Although John is married to Abigail, niether of them wear wedding rings. The same goes for every married character in the game.
  • His son, Jack, gives him credit for many of his weapon-based talents. For example, when Jack shoots at enemies, he'll sometimes cry out "You taught me well, Pa." However, when John tries to teach Jack how to shoot a rifle in "Wolves, Dogs, and Sons" Jack demands that John leave him alone and that he can teach himself.
  • If you look at the pictures of John with his former gang in the Gallery, he seems to be wearing the Legend of the west outfit.
  • John's hat appears to have Eagle Feathers on it.
  • John is #2 in Game Informer's "30 Characters who Defined a Decade" list in their December 2010 edition and is also #1 in Game Informer's "Top Ten Heroes" list.

Undead NightmareEdit

  • In the beginning of Undead Nightmare, he seems oblivious to the fact of zombies, like when Uncle bursts in the door, Abigail screams while John just stands there bewildered.
  • After John Marston has been resurrected, living characters seem oblivious to the fact that he is a zombie.
  • When Marston loots corpses as a zombie, he may sometimes laugh at their loss.
  • As a zombie, he can only wear 3 outfits, the Undead Cowboy Outfit, the Army of The Undead Outfit, and the Legend of The Undead Outfit. This may be due to the fact that Jack Marston has his hat and most of the outfits Marston gets has his signature hat. Of the 3 outfits none of them has his hat.
  • Zombie Marston is drastically weaker when it comes to explosives. If you detonate an explosive just barely in the range where the normal Marston would just stumble over, his head will be blown off.
  • Zombie Marston walks and runs lopsided, but when he draws a weapon his stance returns to normal. Also, he walks and runs normally during Multiplayer.
  • Despite having no lips, oddly enough he can still whistle for his horse.
  • As per his affliction, other zombies will ignore Zombie Marston until he provokes them (walking too close, shooting them, having a torch out near them, etc.)
  • If you look at his head while he is wearing the Undead Cowboy Outfit, you will see what appears to be a bullet hole in his head above his right eye. However if you change to the Undead Hunter Outfit where he has no headgear, there will be no bullet wound.
  • When falling off of something after going ragdoll, he has a unique animation which gives him more of a shambling appearance.
  • He is seen on the front cover of Undead Nightmare, holding the Blunderbuss like on the cover of Red Dead Redemption.