Few games have taken the approach Red Dead Redemption 2 has. With the first game being a smash hit, it’s hard to follow up with a game that relates and continues to further the story. Yet that is exactly what Rockstar did here. John Marston was already one of the most complete characters in gaming history, and Red Dead Redemption 2 gave players so much more backstory and reasoning for the events of the first game.
None of this is possible though, without a character with the perfect mesh of personality. John Marston is arguably the best protagonist in all of gaming, a believable man, and a natural creator of memorable quotes. His personality is what helped make the game so attractive, and this list will pay homage to his best lines from Red Dead Redemption 2.
10 “I never thought I’d say this but, it’s good to see you, Arthur Morgan”
The moment Red Dead fans have been waiting for, John’s first appearance in the sequel. After the botched Blackwater heist, the Van Der Linde gang has been chased all the way up into the snowy mountains of the Grizzlies. During the getaway, John is separated from the group, and Abigail begs Arthur to go looking for him.
Accompanied by Javier Escuella, Arthur finds John close to death and sporting a few new scars. A series of wolf attacks are the cause and finally, the origin of John’s scars are revealed. As Arthur begins to help John out of his snowy predicament, John says this quote in a manner of classic Marston sarcasm.
9 “Rip Van Winkle”
When approached by Agent Milton right after having his son stolen by the Braithwaite's John is scared and nervous. Having killed many of the Braithwaite’s, stealing their horses and moonshine, John believes his son might soon be hurt to which Dutch, Hosea, and Arthur do their best to convince him otherwise. During the conversation, Agent Milton finds the camp and approaches them making demands.
He calls out each member by name except John, whom he asks “Who are You” and in typical John Marston fashion, he answers with this line. In the face of police finding their camp, and the drama involving his son, he still finds the time to talk a little smack to the Pinkertons.
8 “What Plan? What Goddamn plan Dutch?”
After Dutch convinces Eagle Flies to lead his men to an army controlled oil field for an attack, John utters this line. This comes after John’s escape from Sisica penitentiary, and tensions are at an all-time high. Dutch states he is partially responsible for Eagle Flies attack, and that it is all a part of his plan.
John fed up with Dutch’s talk, demands What Plan, what Goddamn plan Dutch? It appears John has had enough of Dutch’s beating around the bush. In a mocking attempt to answer his own question John even starts naming locations to run too “Tahiti? Timbuktu?” Javier retorts “Enough what happened to loyalty?” To which John responds “Yeah, What did?”
7 “Dutch you left me, you left me to die”
After being shot off the train during the final robbery, John returns just as Arthur has pulled his gun on Micah and his two hired guns. It’s been revealed Micah is the rat from Agent Milton himself, and Arthur is ready to settle it all as John shows up and reveals that Dutch left him behind during the train heist.
Dutch responds by trying to calm the situation, calling John his brother and his son. John has had enough of it and immediately sides with Arthur. This line is one of a few that catalyst into the end of the Van Der Linde gang, and the death of Arthur as the Pinkertons ambush the camp in the middle of the standoff.
6 “John…JIM Milton..”
While being introduced to Mr. Gedes after defending his home at Pronghorn Ranch, John is caught in a lie. He has already introduced himself as Jim Milton to Mr. Dickens, Mr. Gedes’s farmhand, and has been going by that name. Yet during John’s first encounter face to face with the owner of Pronghorn Ranch, he forgets his alias and introduces himself as John...Jim Milton...
He quickly realizes his mistake and tries to cover it by saying Jim Milton right after saying John, but the damage is done. Mr. Gedes assistant Mr. Dickens realizes it immediately and gives a look at John of curiosity. Mr. Dickens also mocks him directly after saying “You hear that John Jim”. This was a heart-dropping moment for players rooting for John Marston to keep things under control.
5 “I am always honest, maybe not always good, but I'm always honest”
Years after the end of the Van Der Linde gang and Arthur’s passing, John, his wife Abigail, and son Jack, are entering Strawberry. John wonders what’s for them there in Strawberry and Abigail states they like honest hard-working men there to which John replies with this classic quote.
John can acknowledge his flaws in a funny manner, and it becomes even funnier hearing the background to this conversation. The reason for the move to Strawberry is because John shot someone that he claimed needed shooting. Like he said, honest, but not always good.
4 “Like what, writing silly stories?”
While Sadie is attempting to recruit John full time into her bounty hunter work and possible transportation business, she suggests the work is so easy even Jack could do it. To which Abigail gets very angry and states not to fil his head with bad ideas.
She continues her tirade saying Jack will do something better than all of this. John quickly retorts back Like What? Writing silly stories? John has always had a weird relationship with his son, and the way he reacts to his son's passion, hobby, and possible future involving reading and writing is terrible. It sums up just how tumultuous their relationship is, and how far they still have to go.
3 “All of this wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Arthur, Sadie, and all the folks that fell”
When John finally has everything he wants, the ranch, his wife and son back in his life, Sadie shows up at Beecher’s Hope. She has tracked a former associate of Micah and is confident in the lead.
In the spur of the moment, John has to decide if he’s riding for revenge, risking everything he has worked for, or if he’s staying home and putting it all behind him. He chooses to ride with Sadie and Charles as they trace Micah’s associate to Strawberry. This scene echos John and Arthur’s talks about loyalty and who to be loyal too. In the end, Arthur was his most trusted friend and even after completing what Arthur wanted, John to escape and live with his family, he puts it on the line for certain closure.
2 “I remain a fool, and I’m sure I shall die a fool, but I'm trying very hard to be something like the man you deserve”
John seemed down and out, working as a farmhand, family recently left, and struggling to make any money. During one specific argument, Abigail mentions Beecher’s Hope in passing not even necessarily serious about it, just the fact they needed their own place. After Abigail and Jack leave John at Pronghorn Ranch he goes above and beyond to show that he was listening, and purchases Beecher’s Hope with the help of Mr. Gedes.
The place is a dump when John arrives yet he fixes it up and builds his own home with Charles and Uncle in hopes that one day Abigail and Jack will return. In a letter to Abigail, John writes this line, and it fully represents how far John is willing to go to make things right.
1 “Dutch….Dutch… We all did our best for you… ain’t our fault things turned out the way they did”
Micah has Sadie Adler at gunpoint, Dutch has John at gunpoint. Up in the snowy mountains of The Grizzlies, it appears the revenge plot has gone terribly awry. John and Dutch go back and forth over who shot at who first, who betrayed who first, and who the selfish one was.
Even in the face of adversity and two guns drawn on him, John still declares his loyalty to Arthur stating “Arthur saved my life, more than once”. Realizing how dire the situation looks, John stares at Dutch and pleads this quote. He follows up by saying killing him won’t help anything which actually appears to leave Dutch speechless. John follows up demanding and screaming that Dutch say something, anything, and as Dutch stares back he proceeds to shoot Micah in the abdomen, leaving him for John to finish. The redemption arc has finally come full circle.