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

Milford Weaver

Blackwater is a location featured in Red Dead Redemption in the Great Plains region of the West Elizabeth territory.


Blackwater is an industrialized settlement and is the largest and most developed city in Red Dead Redemption, serving the area as a thriving port on Flat Iron Lake. It features cobblestone streets with lamps, the first production Automobiles, and telephone lines. The city has also been the site of a bloody gunfight dubbed "The Blackwater Massacre" of 1899. The massacre was apparently a bloody gunfight involving Landon Ricketts, who was the only known survivor of the incident. Some 22 outlaws and 15 lawmen are said to have perished during the battle.

The town is home to a fairly diverse population and a fairly diverse 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 center of the city's economy and the state's government, but also high-class businesses and hotels, and one road leading out of the city (towards the Chapel) populated with larger homes for the wealthiest of Blackwater.

In terms of population, there is a wide variety in terms of wealth and race. A majority of the population is of Caucasian descent, however significant populations of 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 the 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 which many families opted for in the early 1900's as the west was becoming more and more industrialized. Throughout the game, there are many examples of people, particularely in the Western towns like Armadillo in New Austin, speaking of how out 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 just on the outskirts of town. The chapel and cemetery feature in various missions and game modes as noted in the "Background" sections that follow.


Blackwater is the only town in Red Dead Redemption with notable street names. The names of the streets are:

  • Main Street
  • Wapiti Avenue
  • Tullalah Drive
  • Quayside Road
  • Van Horn Street
  • Sisika Avenue
  • Wakhanknee Drive (Starts at the end of Sisika Avenue)

Most of the streets are cobbled and the ones leading out of town turn from paved to dirt.


Compared to other settlements in the game, Blackwater features a more modern, structured law enforcement system, complete with a uniformed police unit and modern ranks. The Blackwater Police Department is by far the most effective law enforcement system in the game, with modern weaponry, large numbers of men and superior tactics, meaning that any hostile attacker or pneufier in the town will face severe opposition.


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 the player can see in the game. The only specific event known in its history is the aforementioned Blackwater Massacre, a large gunfight involving Landon Ricketts in 1899. The bloody gunfight apparently became an infamous event in Wild West history, and presumably led to the strengthening of the town 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.


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



† = 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.


This is speculation. This article, or parts of it, may not be correct.
More proof and/or clarification is needed.

  • When you go toward the other entance(The one without a train tacks, 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.
  • 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 2nd 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 singleplayer 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.
  • XboxLogoPS3LogoThe 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.
  • XboxLogoPS3Logo 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 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.
  • XboxLogoPS3Logo 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 of the roof, the horse will die. (Multiplayer confirmed only)
  • XboxLogoPS3Logo 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.
  • XboxLogoPS3Logo When looking through the windows of the Blacksmith, the opposite walls disappear.
  • XboxLogo 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 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 under cover 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 under covered area, the player will simply pass right through the roof.
  • XboxLogo 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 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 are two towns in the United States named Blackwater, in Arizona and Missouri.
  • The in-game town seems to look almost exactly like the real-life Blackwater, Missouri. Satellite imagery reveals that the town layout is the same, even the cobblestone streets, railroad, and telegraph station are replicated correctly.
  • Blackwater may also be based in part on St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis' nickname is the "Gateway to the West." Similarly, Blackwater is nicknamed the "Window to the West," and is seen as the last city in the civilized Eastern United States before entering the Wild West. It could also be possible Blackwater may be a mix of "edge of frontier/civilization" towns, combining traits of St. Louis, Missouri and even possibly Chicago, IL (On a big lake & large economic disparity between north and south).
  • It is possible that Blackwater is a reference to Blackwater USA (now Xe Services LLC), a private military company that is the largest of the U.S. government's three private security contractors. Similarly to John Marston, the company acts as a federally-sponsored hired gun. See Blackwater Worldwide for reference.
  • Blackwater appears to be very forward-thinking for the time as far as human rights. For example, African-American's can be seen in police uniform, and Chinese people like Sam WahJung 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

  • 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 been 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 the first mission, "Exodus in America", John explains to Jake on the way to Fort Mercer that Blackwater, " not really a city, just a town with delusions."
  • In one of the Newspapers it says that Blackwater will host a Wild West Show.
  • There is a building in Blackwater that is humorously named "Allthewaye Inn".
  • There is a car beside an auto business in Blackwater. Apart from one mission, this is the only other encounter with a car in the whole game. It remains static, most likely because it has broken down.
  • On the side of the High Stakes Poker building, there is an arrow pointing to the docks. Above this arrow are the words "MorningStar Ferry". Not only is this the ferry John is seen leaving but, it is also the name of the ferry in GUN, another game set out on the frontier.
  • As evidenced by Clara LaGuerta, the town may have very little tolerance for illegitimate pregnancy. Or like everything else she has done, she could just be lying.
  • E.H. Kretzschmar, the tailor in Blackwater, shares the same glitch as Herbert Moon. When the player attacks him and pulls a gun out, he will start shooting at the player, causing him to be shot by the law. Like Herbert Moon, it takes about fifty shots for him to die.
  • Blackwater is the only place in the game where seagulls are located, however, they can be heard at Nosalida.
  • According to gossip from certain Blackwater residents, the unknown Mayor of the town may be an opium addict.
  • 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, whether this is just a simple programmer error and was intended to read 1868 or if it is intentional is unknown. 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 many humorous messages on the gravestones, such as, "Delilah Gaskell 1852 - 1891 WAKE ME IF SOMETHING INTERESTING HAPPENS".
  • Among those buried at the cemetery are Mordecai Robbard and Harold Thornton.
  • The priest in the chapel bears a striking resemblance 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.
  • Most, if not all, residents of Blackwater will not fight back if the player is to threaten or shoot at them (excluding lawmen) unlike in towns such as Armadillo which have several "Gunslinger" residents.
  • 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 travelled on during the opening sequence. However, if you try to walk on it, Jack will fall through into the water due to the fact that it is only used in the opening sequence and usually disappears long before the player reaches Blackwater without cheats.

Undead Nightmare

  • In the Undead Nightmare DLC the player is able to go to the upstairs of 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. This is particularly prevalent on Harold MacDougal's residence as above the door it says "Unclean people lived here".
  • 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.
  • During Undead Nightmare, the phrases "The end is near" and "Eternal Damnation" are written on the side of the Blackwater Hotel.



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
25 gamerscoreGamerscore
Bronze bronzeBronze
Have every territory saved at the same time during the Undead Nightmare

Rdr zed's dead baby
40 gamerscoreGamerscore
Silver silverSilver
Attain 100% Game Completion statistic in Undead Nightmare.

Related Content

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.