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People don't forget. Nothing gets forgiven.
~ John to Bonnie MacFarlane.
That's an interesting approach to law enforcement.
~ John to Marshall Leigh Johnson.
I never thought I’d say this, but it’s good to see you, Arthur Morgan.
~ Marston to Morgan in Red Dead Redemption II.

John Marston Sr. (1873-1911) is one of the two main protagonists (Along with Arthur Morgan) of the Red Dead Redemption duology, part of the Red Dead franchise. He is the protagonist of the 2010 video game Red Dead Redemption and the deuteragonist of its 2018 prequel Red Dead Redemption II.

John was raised into Dutch's gang, and would later leave that life after a spiral of events caused the gang to fall apart. He is a former outlaw determined to make amends for his past by tracking down and killing the other members of his gang, to rescue his family who is kidnapped by the government.

He is performed and voiced by Rob Wiethoff.


Early life

John was born in 1873 to unnamed parents, with his father being a Scottish immigrant, and his mother being a prostitute who died giving childbirth. In 1881, his father died and John was sent to an orphanage, but eventually ran away. Living on the streets, he killed a man at the age of eleven but stated it wasn't his fault. Eventually, he met Dutch van der Linde at the age of twelve and was taken under his wing. John joined the Van der Linde's gang, alongside Hosea Matthews, Arthur Morgan, and Susan Grimshaw. He was taught how to shoot, hunt, gather, read, and became Dutch's protégé and son-like-figure.

Marston became an outlaw and gunslinger, often committing robberies, raids, murders, and kidnappings alongside Morgan, Bill Williamson, and Javier Escuella across the American frontier. Also, he became to follow Dutch's philosophy on that they fought and stole for a reason, but would later realize that it was an excuse to commit crimes.

In 1894, Abigail Roberts joined the gang as a prostitute, and would eventually fall in love with John. The two would have a son named Jack and would have the gang be honorary uncles and aunts towards their child. Despite this, John would have a hard time connecting with his son, having doubts that if the child was his, and would later leave the gang for a year. Upon returning, he was welcomed back with open arms, except for Arthur, who believed that it was a betrayal to the group. Tensions would rise between John and Arthur through the years, with the two often bickering with each other.


Every man has a right to change, a chance of forgiveness.
~ John to Jack.

John has a strong dislike of birds and a rather dull imagination, especially when compared to his son Jack. When it comes to how he feels about religion, in-game quotes reveal that he is either an agnostic theist or a Christian who is not too overtly religious. John is also extremely polite to women, often calling 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 he was holding up.

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. John seems to be one of the only men in the game that is loyal to his wife. He also seems to get angrier when someone mentions his wife's past than his own. John is a fairly serious individual with very little patience for the eccentricities of the various people he meets during the story.

He frequently threatens Irish into sobering up to be of some use to him, and he is disturbed/disgusted by Seth's habitual grave robbing. He also tells West Dickens that he won't hesitate to put a bullet in his skull if he steps out of line. However, he is not above employing sarcasm in conversation with certain characters, particularly those he sees as exhibiting hypocrisy, such as Abraham Reyes. Like Arthur Morgan, John is not a racist man and holds disgust to those who are. A rare trait for people in the time.


My side ain't chosen. My side was given.
~ John Marston.
If you win power, remember why you wanted it.
~ John to Abraham.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
~ John to Abigail.
Every man has a right to change, a chance of forgiveness.
~ John to Jack.



  • 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.
  • John's grave marker reads "Blessed are the peacemakers", signifying his long road to redemption and peace for his family in a lawless land.
    • "Blessed are the peacemakers" is a beatitude that was recorded in Matthew 5:9.
    • "Peacemaker" is coincidentally a nickname for the Cattleman Revolver, John's starting firearm, giving his epitaph a slight dark irony since it would twist the meaning in "Blessed are the guns".
  • Before the game came out, in the trailers, John looked much younger and thinner.
  • He, along with Leigh Johnson, Abraham Reyes, Luisa Fortuna, Bonnie MacFarlane, and Drew MacFarlane, sounded different during development.
  • 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.
  • If the player presses "O" (PS3) or "B" (360) while near Abigail, Jack, Uncle, or Amos, John will tip his hat, as usual, but he won't speak.
  • John is part Scottish, as it is mentioned in-game that his father was Scottish.
  • John Marston is very similar to Minato Namikaze, both in nature and death.
  • In GTA V, Marston appears as one of the parents for the Online Protagonist.


           Official Red Dead logo.png Heroes

Red Dead Revolver
Red Harlow

Red Dead Redemption
John Marston | Abigail Roberts | Jack Marston | Uncle | Bonnie MacFarlane | Leigh Johnson | Landon Ricketts | Luisa Fortuna

Red Dead Redemption II
Arthur Morgan | Dutch Van Der Linde | Bill Williamson | Javier Escuella | Hosea Matthews | John Marston | Jack Marston | Lenny Summers | Sean MacGuire | Hercule Fontaine | Leon Fuentes | Kieran Duffy | Charles Smith | Sadie Adler | Abigail Roberts | Rains Fall | Eagle Flies | Susan Grimshaw | Tilly Jackson | Simon Pearson | Orville Swanson | Josiah Trelawny | Karen Jones |

Red Dead Online
Red Dead Online Protagonists | Jessica LeClerk | Horley