Arthur Morgan, the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption 2, is one of the most complex and layered characters in Rockstar’s history and probably gaming history too. The gunslinger was picked up as a teen by the outlaw Dutch Van Der Linde and his associate Hosea Mathews and would eventually grow up to be a ruthless, violent bandit who cares little for the lives of those outside his own gang.
However, through rich character development, Arthur is revealed to be a deeply troubled but wise man who starts to have an existential crisis as the game continues. Although pretty much everything that comes out of Arthur’s mouth is hilarious, badass, or inspiring; here are 10 of the quotes from gaming’s most loved cowboy!
Warning: Some quotes and entries contain spoilers.
10 "We’re thieves, in a world that don’t want us no more"
This is something that Arthur says to Dutch during a conversation at the Clemens Point camp, Dutch asks how Arthur is to which he responds ‘fine’ and after some small talk Arthur tells Dutch that he is worrying him, they lost a number of gang members during their escape and Dutch is seemingly nonchalant about it.
In fact, Dutch instead brushes the deaths off, claiming that there will always be casualties since they are fighting to try and “reform” society. Arthur is clearly disheartened at this justification and he tells Dutch this entry's quote. This line and its delivery are some of the earliest signs that Arthur is beginning to lose faith in Dutch and his philosophy. Arthur is beginning to realize that they are not saving anyone, just robbing and killing them.
9 "We can’t change what's done, we can only move on"
Quite a bit into the game Arthur’s sickness begins to take its toll on him, so much so, he has a coughing fit and passes out in the street. During this, Arthur seems to go into a sort of lucid dream where he is up and walking around but there are voices all around him, yet no one to be seen. It’s in this dream-like state that we hear Arthur’s own voice repeating advice he once gave.
While this is a great life lesson for anyone, most people who have been through trauma know that it is possibly one of the hardest things to do, but this is how the Van Der Linde Gang survives. Each and every member of the gang is someone who has been cast out, abused, or abandoned and only ever felt a sense of purpose and belonging once they found the gang. Arthur is guilt-ridden about his past transgressions but he knows he cannot take them back or change them, he can only move forward.
8 “Just do one thing or the other, don’t try to be two people at once…”
This wonderful little tidbit of wisdom is heard during the ‘Fatherhood, For Idiots’ mission. During the epilogue portion of the game, Abigail is telling John about a piece of barren land in Beecher’s Hope, but John points out that he still has a price on his head so could never get a bank loan. Frustrated, Abigail sends him to town to pick up a parcel with Jack, while at the post office John gives his real name and a man in the background can be seen quickly leaving.
The same man, with a few others, end up following the two Marston’s and shoot at John, who shoots back. Upon returning, Abigail notices that Jack is clearly shaken and asks what happened, they argue and she goes inside which is when the wise voice of the late Arthur Morgan can be heard telling John he needs to take fatherhood seriously and “Just do one thing or the other, don’t try to be two people at once…”
7 “We’re more ghosts than people”
During a conversation with Sadie, she informs Arthur that she knows where the last of the O’Drisicalls are hiding and intends to go after them but needs Arthur to help her. Reluctantly Arthur agrees on the condition she helps him with John, Abigail, and Jack. During this conversation, he tells Sadie that “This whole thing is pretty much done” and that no one in the camp trusts each other, especially Dutch who is holding all the money.
Arthur continues and says to Sadie, “We’re more ghosts than people…” while continuing to assert that the Marston’s still have a chance at life. This quote truly encompasses how both Sadie and Arthur feel for most of the game, they have both lost everything that was dear to them, committed horrible acts and are continuing on in life solely for revenge, helping the Marston’s to get out could redeem them both.
6 “Vengeance is an idiot’s game”
During one of the most iconic scenes, Arthur goes to a widow to collect her husband’s debt. This is early in the game so Arthur is truly cruel and crass, he cares little for others and doesn’t mind killing anyone who gets in his way. While the widow is inside getting the money, he notices her son giving him a dirty look, asking him if he has a lazy eye or no respect; the boy, bravely, tells Arthur he has no respect for the likes of men like him.
Arthur decides to truly attempt to put the fear of God in the kid by telling him he might just keep his mother in black on his account. Once again, the boy bravely replies to Arthur about how other events may transpire and immediately Arthur gives him the advice that Dutch so desperately needs, “Vengeance is an idiot’s game.”
5 “Be loyal to what matters”
During one of the last jobs the gang will pull off together, Arthur tells John that this is over and he should take his wife and child and leave. John seems a little unsure as he, like Arthur, was taken in by Dutch and Hosea as a child and sees Dutch as a father and Arthur as a brother. John is torn to his loyalty to the gang, something Dutch always emphasized, but Arthur tells him that he needs to “be loyal" to his child and wife, who will die if they stay.
As much as Arthur gets at John, he does view him as his little brother and has decided to focus his remaining time on ensuring that they get out so that Jack can have the normal life they never did. Throughout the game, Arthur repeats his sentiments of how loyalty is the thing that matters to him most, but he realizes now that blind loyalty to the wrong people will lead you to your death.
4 “I have to insist”
This one line delivered by Arthur to Dutch is truly the breaking point of their relationship. Dutch has become erratic, self-centered, dangerous, and increasingly violent to the point that everything he stood for has now been washed from his mind. As he is telling Arthur about their latest train robbery, to which Arthur is not enthused about at all, Arthur tells Dutch that he needs to let the women and children leave. Unsurprisingly, Dutch not only refuses but insists those that do are both ‘doubters’ and ‘cowards.'
Arthur puts his foot down, which makes Dutch absolutely seethe with anger and feelings of betrayal. Arthur is no longer a yes man to Dutch and openly questions him, this final insistence that Dutch do the right thing puts him over the edge as he believes that Arthur now plots against him and could be the Pinkerton mole, leading to a stand-off in the gang.
3 “We ain't both gonna make it”
This is at the end of the game and is truly heartbreaking. While the gang is about to have a stand-off the Pinkertons converge on their camp and forces them all to flee up the mountain. Dutch and Micah are in the front and being chased by Arthur and John, who are all being chased by the Pinkertons. Halfway up Arthur stops, this is his moment of sacrifice which allows John to live on a ranch for four years after.
While John is pleading with Arthur to come with him, Arthur takes off his hat and puts it on John’s head, he also gives him his bag and says, “We ain't both gonna make it." John is insistent that Arthur comes with him and reluctantly takes his belongings, after some final words between the two brothers, Arthur climbs the mountain while John escapes.
2 “I gave you all I had”
This scene is truly the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking scene in the entire game and probably in Rockstar’s history. After leaving John, Arthur catches up to Micah and Dutch on the mountain but his sickness has overcome him and he collapses struggling to breathe. As he reaches for his gun, Dutch puts his foot on his hand with the intention of killing him but then Arthur looks up at him, bloodied and wheezing and says, “I gave you all I had”. At these words, Dutch’s face changes as he realizes what he has done to someone he considered a son for someone he knows is a rat. For his entire life Arthur trusted Dutch and did whatever he said, he gave him his loyalty, he gave up his true love to stay with the gang, and at the end, he had given his life.
1 “John made it…”
During this soul-shattering scene, the voices of the Pinkertons can be heard creeping ever closer up the mountain and Micah begins to implore Dutch to get a move on. Dutch is now unsure of his actions and how he got here, he is going over in his mind all that has led to this and looks at Micah with disbelief and doubt for the first time. After Micah claims that they can still make it, Arthur laughs and says that “John made it, he’s the only one.”
With his last breaths, Arthur continues on to lament the fact that the three of them will never be free of this life and it will kill them. Dutch looks at Arthur and turns his back on Micah who goes the other way while Arthur struggles to pull himself up onto a rock and watches the sunrise as he passes away.