–Captain Espinoza to Vincente de Santa
Espinoza is a captain in the Mexican Army headed by Colonel Agustin Allende, and is often seen leading attacks against rebels. Espinoza is a fiercely loyal soldier who truly believes that he is helping Mexico by killing the rebels. He holds Colonel Allende in very high esteem, but has a bitter rivalry with his fellow Captain, Vincente de Santa.
Captain Espinoza has a role in several of Captain De Santa's missions, leading attacks against rebel forces. He is first seen at the village of Tesoro Azul, where he participates in an assault on the settlement. After John joins Espinoza and his men in eliminating all rebels from the village, Espinoza advocates the use of fire bottles to burn down the houses, which John does with the help of the Army.
Soon afterwards, John is promised 20,000 pesos and information on Javier Escuella's location if he accompanies De Santa on a mission to Torquemada. Here, Espinoza and his men are embroiled in conflict. With the arrival of Marston, Espinoza and De Santa begin bickering, before Espinoza asks John to pick up a nearby sniper rifle and join him in the attack. Espinoza leads the attack, and with John's help, the Army finally neutralise the rebels' presence in the area and establish dominion. In the aftermath, Espinoza is seen personally executing the remaining rebels - all of whom had surrendered.
Later on, at the request of De Santa, John and Espinoza are sent on a mission to guard a train from the rebels. Espinoza is notes how few soldiers he had been given and that most are new recruits, prompting suspicion from him. John and Espinoza converse during the journey there, and later arrive at the train station in Chuparosa. Espinoza instructs a reluctant Marston to man the train's Gatling Gun, while he is in the driver's area. After fighting off a huge amount of rebels, Espinoza is thankful and tells Marston that he hopes he is successful in finding Escuella. Espinoza and John also agree that De Santa sending the two men he hates most on a raid like that was not a coincidence, before Espinoza asks John which the two should kill De Santa.
Marston is later revealed to have been working for the rebels too, so De Santa and the Mexican Army capture him in Chuparosa. They fail, however, when Abraham Reyes saves Marston and leads a counterattack against the Army. With De Santa having abandoned the battlefield, Espinoza is in charge of the attack, but gets killed by Marston in Alcalde's house at the end of the skirmish.
Espinoza and De Santa have a very hostile rivalry throughout the game, constantly insulting and belittling each other, and each viewing themselves as Colonel Allende's true right-hand man. At one point, John Marston says to De Santa, "Isn't he the same rank as you?", as both of the men have the same title and thus presumably rank. However, De Santa quickly snaps back and says that Espinoza is merely a "dog they release from time to time" and he (De Santa) runs the show, while calling him a "dumb ape" on another occasion. In contrast, Espinoza refers to De Santa as serving the purpose of a "maid he (Allende) cannot fuck". Espinoza also says that De Santa fights like a little girl. It is unknown which one, if either, truly serves as Allende's right-hand man.
Espinoza's cruelty and brutality are extreme, rivalling that of both Allende and De Santa. His campaign against the rebels is relentless; he is shown to take pleasure in burning down the village of Tesoro Azul, while both commanding and partaking in the mass execution of rebels who had surrendered. Espinoza is determined to win the war, and doesn’t care what he does in order to fulfil this. He is also shown to respect Allende greatly, demanding that his men do not touch the women before the Colonel. In spite of this, Espinoza is much more honourable and courageous than either Allende or De Santa. He does not hesitate to risk his life; he fights on the front line of every battle he’s in, leads charges, and personally fights against Marston. In his final battle, Espinoza does not surrender, even when most of his men had been killed, exemplifying his courage.
Espinoza seems to hold genuine respect for Marston due to their both being professional gunmen and men of battle. They also seem to share general thoughts on issues such as De Santa's sexuality and cowardice. Despite this, he threatens Marston toward the end of his career several times when he steps out of line, reminding him that he is to be executed if he betrays the army. When busting into his room and engaging him in his final mission before his death, Espinoza angrily remarks: "I knew you were a traitor!". John, on the other hand, seems to view Espinoza as a sick and disgusting individual, referring to him as ”that deranged captain” in a conversation with De Santa, and even saying to Espinoza himself “You ain’t right in the head, Captain”.
Espinoza wears the uniform of a Mexican Army soldier, but with two epaulettes denoting his rank of Captain and a unique military cap. His most distinct feature is the eyepatch, which is worn over his right eye. He also has a thick, black moustache and is slightly shorter than Marston, but has a broad, stocky build.
- Red Dead Redemption
- Espinoza is one of two characters in Red Dead Redemption to always wear an eyepatch, the other being Harry Dobbing. Marston also has an eye patch when wearing the Deadly Assassin Outfit.
- Sometimes in "Cowards Die Many Times" and "The Demon Drink", instead of his usual sidearm, the Double-action Revolver, Espinoza will use a LeMat Revolver as his sidearm, and in "Mexican Caesar" on the train he will use a Schofield Revolver.
- He can be disarmed during the mission "The Demon Drink" without causing the mission to fail once the shootout with the rebels has begun. He will go on and say "Did De Santa make you do this?" or "You will not leave here alive!".
- Despite De Santa's claim that he is in charge of the offensive in the mission "Empty Promises" and that Espinoza does not lead anything, Espinoza is always on the front line of the attack while De Santa stays out of trouble.
- The word Espinoza comes from the Spanish word "Espina" translated as thorn or spike. The term "Espinoza" is a misspelled word; the correct word is "espinosa" with an "s" instead of the "z", and means "full of thorns" or "protected by thorns", like a rose. However, "Espinoza" is the accepted spelling for the surname in South America.