Where's them cattle? Did you take them to pasture?

John Marston

By Sweat and Toil is the fiftieth mission in Red Dead Redemption.

To view the mission tree, see:

Main article: Missions in Redemption/Tree


The lazy and asleep Uncle has neglected to herd the cattle out to the pasture, and John is forced to do it with him. After herding the cattle up, the two lead the cows out to a pasture, expecting a peaceful time.

But as the two are riding, they spot a train in the distance going down its tracks, heading for Blackwater. Suddenly, explosives go off around the tracks and bandits pop out, attempting to rob the train. Spooked by the explosives, the cattle begin to stampede. At this point, Marston must choose whether to intervene in the robbery or to stay with the herd. If he chooses to intervene, Uncle leaves to regain control of the herd while Marston rides to stop the robbery. If he stays with the herd, both Uncle and Marston must attempt to head off the herd and regain control of them, then herd them back to the farm.

Marston battles with the bandits, gunning them down and saving the train. The train conductor thanks John for saving his and the passengers' lives and John rides off to meet up with Uncle. Eventually, John finds Uncle and herds the cattle together, and the two succeed in bringing the cattle to the pasture.


Mission Prerequisites

Before this mission becomes available, the player must complete:

Mission Objectives

To complete this mission, the player must:

  • Drive the cattle out of Beecher's Hope.
  • Stop the stampede.
  • Decide whether to stay with the herd or stop the outlaws.
  • Kill all of the train robbers.
  • Drive your cattle to the grazing pasture.

Mission Details

Get in position behind the cattle and herd them out of the ranch. Next, you'll have to herd them out of Beecher's Hope. You won't have to worry about the stragglers all the time, as Uncle will sometimes shout something like, "You stay there!" and he'll go round them up. As soon as you pass the big road leading to Blackwater, you'll see some explosions in the far distance and a train getting robbed right after. All of the cows will start stampeding and Uncle tells you to quickly stop them by moving in front of them. You can then choose whether to help the train or stay with the herd, though Uncle insists you stay with the herd as "You don't need trouble". If you do help them, Marston will go to the train engineer who will thank him for saving the train, but you won't receive any honor, money or fame.

Either way, once you're past the train, simply keep herding the flock until you reach your target and the mission will be done as you can just leave the herd at the pasture.

Mission Dialogues

Main article: By Sweat and Toil/dialogues

Mission Failure

The mission will fail if the player:

  • Assaults or kills Abigail, Jack or Uncle.
  • Kills his own or Uncle's horse.
  • Abandons Uncle and the cattle.
  • Assaults the cattle.
  • Breaks the law.
  • Kills a dog.
  • Commits vandalism.
  • Assaults or kills townsfolk.
  • Dies.

Gold Medal Objectives

  • Fastest Time: 5:20
  • Stragglers Returned: 85%
  • Number of Cows Herded: 15

Potential casualties

Seven outlaws - Can be killed by John Marston for attacking a train while he is moving his cattle out to pasture (optional)


  • The player may kill and/or attack one or more of the Cows after the mission without any repercussions.
  • At the end of the mission, Marston tells Uncle to stay with the cattle, but Uncle replies "you had your pound of flesh from me". This references Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice and the character Shylock.
  • After this mission, the cattle seem to disappear, as they don't appear back in the ranch or out in the pastures.
  • If the player chooses to not have Marston fight the bandits and help the train and stays with the herd, Uncle will say "You really have changed!".
  • During the loading screen, John is wearing his Cowboy Outfit, however, he can only wear his Rancher Outfit due to the forced outfit switch in The Outlaw's Return.

Video Walkthroughs


Completing this mission contributes toward the following Trophy/Achievement:

100 gamerscoreGamerscore
Gold goldGold
Attain 100% List in the singleplayer game completion list.

Red Dead Redemption mission walkthroughs
Marston Ranch Chapter
"The Outlaw's Return""Pestilence""Old Friends, New Problems"
"By Sweat and Toil""A Continual Feast"
"John Marston and Son""Wolves, Dogs and Sons""Spare the Love, Spoil the Child""The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed"
New AustinNuevo ParaisoWest ElizabethMarston RanchRemember My Family
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