We make dreams! Are you not a devotee of the cinematic arts?
—'D.S. MacKenna' to Marston

D.S. MacKenna is a minor character and Stranger featured in Red Dead Redemption. He appears in and gives the player the Stranger side-mission "Lights, Camera, Action".



D.S. MacKenna is an early pioneer of professional film making. He has aspirations to start an emerging film industry in New Austin. His name, personality, and pioneering efforts in the film industry were probably inspired by early filmmaker D.W. Griffith.

Events of Red Dead Redemption

He can initially be found in the backroom of the Cinema in Armadillo, posed in dramatic contemplation on the bed. MacKenna wants to create a new film studio and bring the motion picture industry to New Austin. He promises a reward to Marston if he will bring him the deed to a ranch just north of Armadillo by beating its owner in a game of High Stakes Liar's Dice in Thieves' Landing, as well as bring his lead actor, Spatchcock, who convinced himself that the gunslinger role he acts is true, back to Earth, as MacKenna is worried he's going to get himself killed. Marston says if he sees him, he'll tell him.

After Marston wins the deed to the ranch and knocks some sense into Spatchcock, he returns to MacKenna. MacKenna then says he probably has more adventures that await him, and Marston wished him good luck.

However, it is far from good luck that MacKenna has. Marston runs into him at the Pacific Union Railroad Camp once the player gains access to West Elizabeth, sitting by a fire and carving a piece of wood. Marston asks him what happened to his film studio dreams, and he explains "how the fates have spurned [him]." He says he lost everything he invested into his studio after filming was delayed by weather and Spatchcock ran off with the cameraman to Canada. "Damn you, the gods of bad weather, and the hearts of vain men!" MacKenna then states he'll "have to go make dreams elsewhere." After Marston wishes him good luck yet again, MacKenna says "It'll take more than luck to stop me!"

Undead Nightmare

I'm trying to help my family.
John Marston.
Yeah, quite the hobby of yours, that.
D.S. MacKenna.

MacKenna in Undead Nightmare.

MacKenna can be found in Plainview after saving the town from the Undead, where he'll initiate the mission "Filth and Other Entertainment".

MacKenna views the undead apocalypse as the perfect opportunity to make a big blockbuster film (according to him, a film aimed at "the lowest common denominator") and has already tied up one undead as an actor. MacKenna wants Marston to capture one Retcher to assist him in his misguided attempt to make a film about the undead.

After MacKenna releases the two zombies "to act", he is quickly devoured. Afterward, he returns as an Undead, and Marston has the option to shoot MacKenna and his attackers.


Leave me now, sir; I have a career to resurrect.
D.S. MacKenna
The hubris! The hubris!
D.S. MacKenna
Damn you, the gods of bad weather...
D.S. MacKenna
Lovely. Lovely. Oh, this looks great in the frame. Movie making history, my friend. Oh, good sir. Now, there you go my friend. Now, there we are. Yes. Yes. And ready. Ready. Ready I say. You're going to be stars. Do something interesting, now. And action! Zombies go. Do your thing. Eat human flesh. That's right. That's right. That's right. No. No! AAAGGHHH!!! Help, Marston!
D.S. MacKenna's last words, in Undead Nightmare


  • There is a glitch that after the player finishes his quest, he will be sitting, whittling the wood he is holding, but sitting in the air about 2 feet from the stool.
  • The Western United States has always been a favorite spot for filmmakers in the 1910s, due to the all-year-round sunny weather. By 1915, Los Angeles produced the majority of American movies, but before then it was New York.
  • He is the only Stranger from Redemption to give the player a Survivor mission in Undead Nightmare.
  • Occasionally, MacKenna (or at least someone who looks like him) can be found conducting the Red Line train.
  • His name is a play on "Deus ex Machina ".
  • Even if the Retcher the player retrieves for him in his Undead Nightmare mission is female, he will still refer to it as a male.
  • It's also extremely likely that the character is a spoof of Daniel Day-Lewis' character Daniel Plainview, given his mannerisms, way of speaking, and the fact that he's found in Plainview (in Undead Nightmare), and of Day-Lewis himself due to D.S MacKenna being devoted to film-making to the point of killing himself.
  • He appears to share the same eyes and facial features of the Strange Man from the "I Know You" Stranger Mission, apart from the mustache.
  • If killed and looted he will have $4.



Aiding Strangers will contribute toward the following Trophies/Achievements:

10 gamerscoreGamerscore
Bronze bronzeBronze
Complete a task for a Stranger.

Rdr people still strange icon
25 gamerscoreGamerscore
Silver silverSilver
Complete 15 tasks for Strangers.

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

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