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I found out why this town's called Blackwater, and it ain't nice.
Milford Weaver

Blackwater is a settlement featured in Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online in the Great Plains region of the state of West Elizabeth.


This up-and-coming port city is the state capital of West Elizabeth. New businesses, citizens, and visitors have flocked to the growing town in recent years as valuable lumber and mining concerns have sprung up in the surrounding plains.
Red Dead Redemption 2 map description

Blackwater is an industrialized settlement and is the largest and most modern town in Red Dead Redemption, serving the area as a thriving port on Flat Iron Lake. Blackwater is the second largest settlement in Red Dead Redemption 2, second only to Saint Denis. It features cobbled streets with gas streetlamps, the earliest mass-produced automobiles, and telephone poles. The city has also been the site of a bloody gunfight dubbed "The Blackwater Massacre" of 1899. The massacre involved the Van der Linde gang, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, and Landon Ricketts, who was a known survivor of the incident.

The town is home to a fairly diverse population and variety in neighborhoods. At the south of Blackwater, the town is less developed, with older buildings, slum houses, a couple of industrial properties and even a few plots of farmland. In contrast, the north of the town is not only home to Blackwater Plaza, the root of the city's economy and the state's government, but also fancy businesses and hotels, and one road leading out of the city (towards the chapel) populated with larger homes for the wealthiest residents of Blackwater.

In terms of population, there is a wide variety in terms of wealth and ethnicity. A majority of the population is of Caucasian origin, however, a significant amount of ethnic minorities, including Chinese and African-Americans, reside in the town. In terms of wealth, the city has populations of the wealthy (mainly concentrated towards the north) and poor (mainly located in the south) but also has a noticeable middle-class population.

The town is the biggest example of the modernization of the west, with new technology (most notably automobiles) coming into prominence. It represents the big city life in which many families opted for in the early-1900s as the West was becoming more and more industrialized. Throughout the game, there are many examples of people, particularly in the Western towns like Armadillo in New Austin, speaking of how in the East there is more development, and city life is becoming more prominent.

Notable Buildings



A chapel, surrounded by a large cemetery, is found on the hill overlooking Blackwater, situated on the outskirts of the town. The chapel and cemetery feature in various missions and game modes as noted in the "Appearances" sections that follow.

Blackwater Chapel RDR2.jpeg


Blackwater is the only town in Red Dead Redemption with notable street names. Most of the streets are cobbled and the ones leading out of town turn from paved to dirt.

The names of the streets are:


Compared to other settlements in the series except for Saint Denis, Blackwater features a more modern, structured law enforcement system, complete with a uniformed police unit and modern ranks. The Blackwater Police Department is rivaled only by the Saint Denis Police Department as being the most effective law enforcement system, with modern weaponry, large numbers of men and superior tactics, meaning that any hostile attacker or wrongdoer in the town will face severe opposition.


Red Dead Redemption 2

Blackwater is the site of a botched ferry robbery orchestrated by Dutch van der Linde and his gang. It resulted in the death of a passenger, Heidi McCourt, a number of lawmen, the death of Davey Callander and Jenny Kirk, as well as the capture of Sean MacGuire and Mac Callander - the latter of whom later died in custody after sustaining gunshot wounds. Landon Ricketts was also involved in this event, although his exact role is unspecified. After this, Pinkerton agents swarmed the town to apprehend or kill the Van der Linde gang if they ever entered it.

With the exception of Red Dead Online, it is unavailable for exploration until later in the game after the Van der Linde gang has been disbanded in 1899. Entering the town as Arthur Morgan will result in an automatic wanted level and police pursuit which will be fatal for Morgan. If the player enters the town as Arthur in 1899, it will be noticeably different. The town itself is missing a few buildings that haven't been completely constructed yet, such as the train tracks and the bank, and the only amenity is the saloon. Blackwater has begun the process of modernization by the late 1890s but has not yet become fully civilized, being sparsely populated and only having one cobbled street.

In the epilogue, John Marston, a surviving Van der Linde gang member and former outlaw, visits the area in 1907 to buy a plot of land nearby called Beecher's Hope. He subsequently meets his former associate Uncle, and visits the town on several occasions thereafter, including helping Sadie Adler with some bounty hunting a few times, purchasing a pre-cut house and barn for his plot of land, and on an evening out with Abigail, where he proposes to her.

Red Dead Redemption

Blackwater becomes accessible once the player has gained access to West Elizabeth. It is by far the biggest sign of increasing government control and technology that the player can see in the game, and has continued to modernize since the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2 four years prior. The only specific event known to its history is the aforementioned Blackwater Massacre. The massacre became an infamous event in Wild West history, and led to the strengthening of the town's law enforcement and the evolution of Blackwater from a frontier village into a pre-modern settlement.

All of the missions in both the Edgar Ross mission strand and the Harold MacDougal mission strand begin at this location.

The Stranger side-mission "American Lobbyist" begins and ends in the gazebo in Blackwater Plaza, with a quick trip into the bank. The Stranger side-mission "The Wronged Woman" begins in the chapel and ends in the chapel's cemetery, with a trip to the Blackwater Saloon in between. The saloon is also where the Stranger side-mission "The Prohibitionist" begins and ends. The final Stranger side-mission "Remember My Family" begins here outside the Train Station.

Undead Nightmare

During Undead Nightmare, this is one of 23 locations that must be cleared of the undead and then protected from re-infestation thereafter. Three survivors are found defending the town, including local Gunsmith Elmer Purdy (the other two men appear to be Missing Persons Grover Boone and Orison Pratt). Other survivors found in story missions include Harold MacDougal, Mordecai Robbard's niece, Silas, Connie McTavish, Lucille Billingsgate, Archibald Andrews and Doreen and her family, stuck on the rooftop of a store. There are a total of twelve survivors in the town.

Despite its large size, it is arguably one of the easiest towns to rescue, with only Cochinay having smaller hordes of undead to deal with.

The mission "Curious Tales from Blackwater" initiates here and the cemetery outside the chapel needs to be cleansed as part of this mission. After cleansing the cemetery, the player can choose to revisit it to clear it out again at later dates.

Marston's safehouse during Undead Nightmare is in the Blackwater Hotel, rather than in the saloon as in the main game.

Redemption Multiplayer

Several Multiplayer game modes are available at Blackwater. None are available with the original game, however. All require DLCs, as noted below.


Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption


† = Note: There are two poker locations in Blackwater, one is in the saloon below the player's safehouse, and the other is a high-stakes game room in the Blackwater Hotel, the last building on the right going north up Main St. from the Blackwater Saloon. The game room is upstairs, but the player can only enter it, and thus the game, when wearing the Gentleman's Attire.

Cigarette Cards

The following information pertains to Red Dead Redemption 2 only.
  • A wrought-iron fence can be found near the riverboat company. On a crate at the foot of the fence it the Cigarette Card for Black Belle. Only after gaining "Smoking and other Hobbies".
  • Behind the Blackwater Grand Theatre is a ladder that leads to the roof. On top of one of the chimneys is the Cigarette Card for Blackwater.
  • The Cigarette Card for Sadie Russell can be found on a barrel in the chicken coop, near the Barber.
  • South of town is a building on the western side of the road. On the front porch between the two chairs is the Cigarette Card for Aldous Bramley.
  • West of the Post Office, the Cigarette Card for Typewriter - 1829 - W. A. Burt can be found on a barrel next to the warehouse door.
  • Northwest of the warehouse another Cigarette Card can be found for Evelyn Miller, sitting on a table next to the clothesline.

Glitches in Red Dead Redemption

  • When you go toward the other entrance (the one without train tracks), if you go through the area of the Gunsmith's store, and if you do it correctly, there should be a few houses with a hitching post at one of them, it should be looking towards the exit. At one specific area, if you ride your horse while it's running, it should jump over an invisible fence, if you dismount your horse and take a walk towards the exact same area, you walk straight through it. This can be done with both John and Jack Marston.
  • Just north of the Blackwater station on the section of rail that curves round to the west is a telegraph pole that has been positioned incorrectly, it is actually placed on the rail. Given the circumstances, this could lead to a glitch if riding the train and colliding with the pole while the train is moving, although the train itself merely passes through it.
  • In the graveyard, there is a marked grave front of the fence facing the north side 3rd grave to the left that says: Sacred to the memory of Harrison Cherry, who died on December 7th, 1969, age 24. This is a not-so-subtle reference to George Harrison of The Beatles and his Cherry-red guitar that he was gifted by Eric Clapton in 1968.
  • Any NPC can be shot by the law if the law sees them shoot you. The law will generally come when they hear a gun go off. The Squares will only take one shot to kill.
  • It is possible when entering the movie theater, that no movie will play and the player cannot exit the screen, forcing him to restart the entire game in order to move on with the story
  • If a player goes to the back side of the police station, upon shooting the door on the second story (above the metal walkway), they can see that the sky is visible through the now opened doorway, despite the fact that the door leads into the building. This may be due to the fact that this door is used in the single-player mission "Great Men are Not Always Wise" to access the roof overlooking the bank, and it was overlooked by the developers when being added to Multiplayer.
  • XboxLogo.pngPS3Logo.pngThe player can still get inside the bank when it's closed at night. To do so, the player will need to break the window to the left of the front door, and just jump through it, the player will be inside the bank with no interior, and the player can look through the walls. To get out, just open the door as it opens when the player climbs in. As of June 2014, this glitch has been patched.
  • XboxLogo.pngPS3Logo.png In the saloon, if the player sprints down the staircase and immediately pushes someone either playing blackjack or at least in the vicinity of the table, it is sometimes possible to glitch-teleport anywhere in the area. Quite possible locations include the room behind the bar (with the locked door) and even a high distance in the sky resulting in a long drop and death.
  • XboxLogo.png There is a way to get to the upstairs of the bank. The player must get a stagecoach, line it up at the back of the building so that the driver's side is closer to the wall, shoot all the horses, and Marston will be forced to get off the coach. He should go through the wall and end up on the stairs that lead to the second floor (Note: If the player doesn't go through the wall, then the player didn't get close enough to the building). This lets the player get to the room where Dutch Van Der Linde shot the bank teller. If the player goes into that room, there will be no interior.
  • XboxLogo.pngPS3Logo.png Randomly while riding into Blackwater on the player's horse, the player will find that its horse is on top of a roof. When jumping off the roof, the horse will die. (Multiplayer confirmed only)
  • XboxLogo.pngPS3Logo.png There's a house where the player can get in by breaking the window, but inside the player will not find anything but empty space. Get to the southernmost house on Blackwater, break the window from the left door and jump it.
  • XboxLogo.pngPS3Logo.png When looking through the windows of the Blacksmith, the opposite walls disappear.
  • XboxLogo.png In the Blackwater Hotel, in one of the random rooms there is a window that if the player shoots it or even walks into it, it will pop off the wall. The player can then push the window anywhere they want.
  • PS3Logo.png If the big window is partially broken at the Blackwater Saloon the player can simply jump through the unbroken parts of the window without it smashing like other windows in Red Dead Redemption. This also occurs with the two main windows at the Blackwater Hotel.
  • The roof of the undercover area at the train station isn't actually there. This is proven when the player climbs up on the water tank situated at the station to the right and then jump on to the roof of the undercovered area, the player will simply pass right through the roof.
  • XboxLogo.png Sometimes when entering the Blackwater gun store while the area has not fully loaded, the interior may not load at all. If this occurs in the evening when the stores close, the clerk will not be able to exit the store.
  • XboxLogo.png In Undead Nightmare, Blackwater will randomly, and without warning, become a lost town. It will give the player no notification of an attack prior.
  • The word "Blackwater" doesn't appear on the Undead Nightmare map unless activated by mods.



  • There appears to an inconsistency in regards to when Blackwater was founded. A celebratory banner in the town says that the town was founded in 1767, but the founder is said to be Josiah Blackwater, who was born in 1782 and therefore didn’t exist at the time of the founding date displayed by the banner.[citation needed]
  • The in-game town bears striking resemblance to the real-life Blackwater, Missouri. Satellite imagery reveals that the town layout is the same, with the cobblestone streets, railroad, and telegraph station replicated.
  • It is implied that Blackwater's rapid growth is a fairly recent event, in terms of the games timeline. Arthur Morgan states in his journal that he remembers Dutch talking about visiting Blackwater decades before the events of Red Dead Redemption 2 (roughly around the late 1870s to early 1880s) and it being nothing more than a small trading post.
  • Blackwater has a number of similarities with Dallas, Texas, and Houston, Texas.
    • The architecture of Blackwater is similar to that of Dallas circa 1900.
    • Both Blackwater and Dallas are surrounded by plains, and Blackwater seems to roughly geographically correspond to Dallas, however, Dallas isn't on a coastline like Houston.
    • Blackwater, Dallas, and Houston were politically and economically significant cities during the time period of the game. In addition, Blackwater is less developed than Saint-Denis is; similarly, Dallas and Houston were less populated than New Orleans was during this time.
    • Despite having several similarities with Dallas, it also has several similarities to Dallas' rival city, Houston, for example: it also has a similar layout and it could also be based off of Southern Houston as it is on the coast of a bay that resembles Galveston Bay.
  • S.M. Neely Ship Chandler and Grocer, the town's accessible general store was very likely the store where Arthur Morgan purchased his journal, as he states in his first journal entry that he acquired a new one while residing in Blackwater, his previous one being lost in a fire a several months prior to the Blackwater Massacre.
  • Blackwater appears to be very forward-thinking for the time as far as human rights. For example, Chinese people like Sam Wah; owner and operator of the Chinese Laundry, Jung Fook-Sing, and Wong Bing work in businesses. This is most likely because of Blackwater's considerable size and immigrant influence in comparison to other towns and settlements found in the game.

Red Dead Redemption

  • It is actually possible to access Blackwater, as well as all of West Elizabeth, as early as Bonnie’s second mission. Heading north along the river until reaching the opposite of the Tall Trees region, near Tanner’s Span will allow the player to use the campsite to teleport to the opposite side of the river. Since using the campsite will seek out the closest bit of flat terrain, the goal is to have that bit be across the river. This may take a few attempts but if placing the campsite on the river bed near trees, it should force Marston over. Once across it is possible to purchase endgame equipment such as the Mauser if the player managed to save up the fortune to do so.
  • There was originally a steamboat docked at Blackwater, and its sole function was to serve as a floating casino, the likes of which were common in the era. Evidence of this can be seen in the "Life in the West" pre-release trailer, and also in the dialogue exchanged between Marston and Elizabeth Thornton during the Stranger mission "The Wronged Woman", wherein she says "I knew his frequenting that gambling boat would be the death of him."
  • In one of the newspapers, it says that Blackwater will host a Wild West Show.
  • There is a building in Blackwater that is named the "Allthewaye Inn".
  • There is a car beside an auto business in Blackwater. Apart from two missions, this is the only other encounter with a car in the whole game.
  • Blackwater is the only place in the game where seagulls are located, although they can be heard at Nosalida.
  • The cemetery contains a tombstone of a man called Harrison Cherry who died on December 7, 1968, at age 24, over 57 years after the game takes place. It may be a reference to George Harrison's guitar "Cherry".
  • The cemetery also contains a tombstone of a man called Clinton Underwood, so it most likely is a reference to Clint Eastwood, an actor who starred in many western movies.
  • The cemetery contains a plethora of light-hearted messages on the gravestones, such as, "Delilah Gaskell 1852 - 1891 WAKE ME IF SOMETHING INTERESTING HAPPENS".
  • The priest in the chapel possesses many of the same features to Francis Gallagher, the doctor at Thieves' Landing. He also gives a full Sunday morning church service.
  • There are two buildings that are not shown on the map, one is just a wood frame, the other appears to be owned by the B.O.I. and doesn't have much in it.
  • If the player completes "New Friends, Old Problems" and uses the Jack Attack cheat, 'OH MY SON, MY BLESSED SON'  and rides straight to Blackwater via horse, they can see the Morningstar steamboat that John traveled on during the opening sequence. However, if the player to walk on the bridges leading to it, they will fall through them but the boat can be walked on. If the player saves the game, the steamboat will be gone.

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • In Red Dead Redemption 2, there is a gallows by the docks; this gallows is a candy store in Red Dead Redemption.
  • While it is revealed in this game that Blackwater is named for its founder Josiah Blackwater, this does appear to contradict some NPC dialogue from the first Redemption, where they can be heard saying "You ever hear how Blackwater got it's name? It ain't nice", implying that the town's name is more scatological in origin. Given the contradicting nature of the NPCs lines this could be part of their tendency to spread rumors throughout the game.
  • The city hall at the north end of Main St. is noticeably different in design as compared to the first game. The Cigarette Card for Blackwater shows the Red Dead Redemption design of the city hall, despite the building having been re-designed for Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Blackwater is confirmed to be the state capital of West Elizabeth, according to the in-game map.

Undead Nightmare

  • In Undead Nightmare, the U.S. flags that appear above the doors of the Blackwater bank have chunks of the fabric missing. The sound of the wind blowing through these flags is unusually loud, especially when the player is inside the bank.
  • In Undead Nightmare at a later point in the game, almost every building is marked with a "U" or the word "Unclean", usually near the front door of buildings.
  • In Undead Nightmare, Blackwater is the only town to have apocalyptic messages written in places.
  • Some of the messages mentioned above are referencing John himself or other characters in the game. Such messages are "I am your old friend, amnesia", said by John to Irish in the mission, "On Shaky's Ground". Another message is "You do so love to talk in riddles", a quote said by Bonnie MacFarlane on account of John's strange way of explaining his mission to kill Bill Williamson to her. An example of another character is "Our time has passed", said by Dutch Van Der Linde before he commits suicide. And a reference to Nigel West Dickens is written: "I know a cure for all ailments".
  • Strangely enough, in Undead Nightmare the player can sometimes hear Seagulls and Dogs, but the player cannot find any.
  • In Undead Nightmare, Blackwater is usually the first town to be lost.


Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption

Undead Nightmare


Red Dead Redemption

Blackwater is associated with the following Trophies/Achievements:

10 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Get from Blackwater to Escalera before sundown in a public Free Roam session.

10 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Uncover every location on the map in Single Player.

100 gamerscoregamerscore
Gold goldgold
Attain 100% List in the singleplayer game completion list.

Undead Nightmare

Keeping this location free of Undead infestation during the Undead Nightmare contributes toward the following Achievements/Trophies:

Rdr spinning plates.jpg
25 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Have every territory saved at the same time during the Undead Nightmare.

Rdr zed's dead baby.jpg
40 gamerscoregamerscore
Silver silversilver
Attain 100% Game Completion statistic in Undead Nightmare.