|“||We hunt to eat, not for sport. Soon there will be no buffalo left.||„|
|—Nastas during "At Home With Dutch"
The buffalo is a very large, herbivorous animal. Despite its name within Red Dead Redemption, what is known as the American buffalo is scientifically an American bison (Bison bison) - only distantly related to the buffalo. In fact, true buffaloes never entered North America. In the time Red Dead Redemption is set, the American bison was commonly known as a buffalo, and is still called a buffalo today, although bison is also used. Buffaloes are highly valuable when skinned.
Red Dead Revolver
In the mission Range War, the characters Holstein Hal and Longhorn Luke ("Buff") arrive on the scene riding buffaloes. If Annie Stoakes kills one of them, she is able to ride their buffaloes for the remainder of the mission.
Red Dead Redemption
When the player first enters West Elizabeth, buffaloes roam the Great Plains in large herds. Like all animals, they can be hunted, but with one downside: they never respawn, so if the player kills all of the buffalo, the Plains will forever be bereft of their presence; doing this grants the player the Manifest Destiny trophy/achievement.
Buffaloes can be found in the Great Plains, most commonly to the west of Blackwater, out in the wide open land, as well as rarely east of Aurora Basin. The buffaloes are grouped in herds, consisting of many members. The herds are startled easily and disperse when any shots are fired, so using the Dead Eye targeting system and aiming for multiple headshots is recommended. The herd automatically regroups after an in-game day. Waiting prevents the player from having to search all over West Elizabeth and kill each buffalo one by one. The Buffalo Rifle, true to its name, is also effective against them, because it takes less shots to kill than with a normal rifle or repeater does.
Unlike other animals in the game, buffaloes do not respawn. Killing all twenty that spawn grants the player the Manifest Destiny trophy/achievement, but there will no longer be buffaloes in the Great Plains. Placing bait in the Great Plains area or replaying missions taking place there can cause buffaloes to spawn, but these will not count towards the achievement total. A repeating random NPC hunter event which spawns a buffalo hunter and buffalo can also add to their numbers, though only the original buffaloes will count towards the achievement.
The buffalo is the only animal in the game that does not appear as a wild animal in Redemption Multiplayer. It is available as a legendary mount, however, being unlocked after the player passes into Legend then returns to level 50. It is the second such multiplayer-only mount to be unlocked, following Bonzo. Like all legendary mounts in multiplayer, the buffalo is not susceptable to off-road traction loss and can travel at the same rate off-road as on road.
Tips and tricks
- There is no need to worry about skinning the fallen buffaloes when trying to earn the trophy/achievement "Manifest Destiny"; players can save the game prior to hunting the buffaloes, and when they have obtained the achievement/trophy, they can reload the save and take their time to skin each kill as the buffaloes will have respawned, but the player will already have earned "Manifest Destiny". This is also a good way to obtain the "Manifest Destiny" achievement/trophy in Single Player without permanently destroying the herd.
- There has been known to be a very rare encounter where a shopkeeper is seen chasing a buffalo. After killing it, the shopkeeper becomes upset and stares at the body. This event can occur after getting the achievement for killing all 20 buffalo in the herd. This has been confirmed.
- Using throwing knives against buffaloes is very effective. One throwing knife will kill a buffalo unless it hits its feet, which make throwing knifes extremely useful for quick kills against the herd if the player does not want them to disperse.
- A buffalo mount can also be unlocked in Multiplayer, which allows the player to ride a buffalo instead of a horse. This mount means that the Unnatural Selection trophy/achievement can be unlocked in Multiplayer, by way of a player killing their own, or someone else's Buffalo Mount. It is also possible to earn the "Manifest Destiny" achievement/trophy in this manner as well.
- Since the buffaloes don't respawn, it is highly recommended to save every time before killing a buffalo to avoid a buffalo accidentally dying, such as being trampled by a train or falling in water. This will stop the player from being able to gain the "Manifest Destiny" trophy/achievement - also, since buffaloes won't respawn once the "Manifest Destiny" trophy/achievement is unlocked, it is also recommended to skin any that have been encountered, as their provisions are quite valuable, especially in Mexico.
- Also, players can put off attaining the "Manifest Destiny" trophy/achievement until later in the game, and wait until the Legend of the West Outfit is available, as it will be easier to hunt buffaloes due to the double Dead Eye bonus. Simply approach the herd from the rear as in a herding task, and use the Buffalo Rifle (mostly one-hit-kills) and Dead Eye to kill most/all of the visible buffalo herd. Players can use Chewing Tobacco, Snake Oil, or Moonshine to help maintain the Dead Eye. Return to get the rest of the buffaloes, and after collecting the valuable skinable materials from all of them, save via camping. If there are none when leaving the camp, leave it a day and then return to the area again.
- Players should be sure not to rush when hunting the buffaloes. It is recommended that they take time and be sure to skin the ones killed. It should also be noted that they cannot be lassoed.
- In the Great Plains, it is sometimes possible to kill buffaloes after they are extinct. Sometimes, a random encounter in the Great Plains spawns a NPC hunter who is hunting a buffalo. After players or the NPC hunter kills the buffalo, it can be available to skin for materials.
- The player can use the Expert Hunter Outfit to double the provisions obtained by skinning; if they sell all of the skins, horns, and meat in Escalera, the player can earn over $1200. They are worth more after their extinction, so selling their parts after killing the entire herd will result in the maximum yield.
- Buffaloes, like all wild animals, will flock towards the player if you have the beastmaster cheat on. Although this will render the achievement useless, the player can still kill and skin the animals for their items.
- When hunting buffaloes with the Carcano Rifle or with the Rolling Block Rifle, get a fair distance away, but make sure that one can see them. The buffaloes won't see the player, and will not run away. Using this strategy, the player can kill them easily.
- Sometimes after killing a buffalo, tragic music will play, reflecting the tragic story of their hunting to near-extinction.
- The buffalo mount in Multiplayer, when summoned, will run away from the player, frightened, to the nearest field and graze there (this is their generic, scripted behavior in the game), which can be a real pain in a dangerous hit and run situation. The only way to prevent this is to stand still and allow the buffalo to approach the player, thus making it one of the most disliked mounts in Multiplayer.
- The buffalo mount has no sound effects for moving along train tracks or the ground outside of the Great Plains region. This is because in Single Player, the animal can only be found in the Great Plains and the Wreck of the Serendipity, thus not needing sound effects for any other area.
- When replaying missions, it is possible that the buffalo can appear; however, killing them does not add to the Single Player total.
- Even if the player has already got the "Manifest Destiny" achievement, putting bait in a certain area on Nekoti Rock can cause a herd of buffalo to appear. However, it may take a few attempts for them to appear as bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, deer, and bobcats seem to be attracted to the bait up there as well. Also, placing a bait at the end (as seen on the world map) of the road leading to Cochinay fort will often spawn small herd of buffalo.
- A glitch may occur where, if the player shoots and kills a buffalo, it will fall to the ground, raise itself, and then fall back down.
- Another similar glitch can occur when the player kills a buffalo: it will lay dead, then come back to life as if never killed.
- Buffaloes are the rarest non-legendary animal in Red Dead Redemption, due to the fact that they can become extinct, and can only be "respawned" using the tricks mentioned above.
The player must kill an American Buffalo to successfully complete the following Trophies/Achievements:
Kill every animal species in the game in any game mode.
Kill the last Buffalo in the Great Plains in singleplayer.