|“||I guess there's only room for one hero in this family.||„|
Jack Marston is a recurring character in the Red Dead series, appearing as a central character and the secondary protagonist of Red Dead Redemption, and as a supporting character in Red Dead Redemption 2.
|“||Young Jack has grown up with the gang, although everyone has done their best to shield him from the more nefarious elements, especially his mother, Abigail. He loves everything about nature and the outdoor life, and is carefully watched over by his many aunts and uncles.||„|
|—Rockstar Games' description of Jack for Red Dead Redemption 2.|
John "Jack" Marston Jr. was born in 1895 as the first child of the outlaw John Marston and prostitute Abigail Roberts, two members of the Van der Linde gang. He would also have a younger sister, who died at some point before 1911.
As the child of John and Abigail, Jack lived his early years around the various members of the Van der Linde gang such as Bill Williamson, Javier Escuella, Hosea Matthews, Arthur Morgan, Uncle and even Dutch van der Linde, among others. He saw the gang as his uncles and aunts, who watched over his growth and shielded his innocence from their more nefarious actions.
Events of Red Dead Redemption 2
In 1899, Jack is living with the gang and is taken care of by its members. Jack very rarely leaves the camp, with one notable exception being when Arthur takes him fishing - a trip which is soured by the arrival of Pinkerton agents Milton and Ross. Jack is later kidnapped by the Braithwaite family and given to Angelo Bronte, and is missing from the gang for some time before returning to the gang after they complete a business deal to get him back. Jack reveals that he was treated well by Bronte, being given a box of toys, regular baths, fed spaghetti, and learned the Italian words for “horse” and “slipper”.
Later that year, with the gang on the brink of demise, John is shot and injured during a train robbery and left to die by his former brothers-in-arms, and Abigail is kidnapped by Agent Milton, although Dutch refuses to rescue her. Arthur tells Tilly Jackson to take Jack to Copperhead Landing, to wait for Sadie and Abigail. Arthur says goodbye to Jack, telling the young boy to "be brave". Tilly then rides away with Jack, who is unaware that it would be the last time he saw Arthur, due to his advanced tuberculosis.
The Marston family moved around for much of Jack’s childhood, and are thought to have moved to the Yukon soon after the gang’s dissolution, to participate in the on-going gold rush there. They had returned to West Elizabeth in 1907 and were notably stationed at Pronghorn Ranch for a time, where Abigail and Jack temporarily left John after the former was unsatisfied with John’s actions. Later that year, the Marston family reunited after John bought Beecher's Hope and subsequently built a ranch there, along with Uncle and Charles Smith, who helped John to build it. The family also brought a dog called Rufus, who Jack took a liking to. Soon after moving to the ranch, Jack went fishing with his father and was later present for his parents' wedding, where John later states how happy Jack seemed.
Events of Red Dead Redemption
In 1911, Jack and Abigail were taken hostage by Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham, two senior agents of the Bureau of Investigation, using them as leverage against John so that he would hunt down Bill, Javier, and Dutch.
|“||No, he must be what, 15? 16? Doesn't time fly?||„|
|—Dutch van der Linde to John in "Great Men are Not Always Wise".|
While not physically present during the first three-fourths of Redemption's narrative, Jack is sporadically mentioned by his father during conversations with many of his allies and enemies, including Leigh Johnson, Luisa Fortuna, Javier Escuella and Dutch van der Linde.
|“||Coyotes ate all the chickens and, poachers took the cattle. I tried, father, I tried.||„|
|—Jack apologizes to John, "The Outlaw's Return".|
Jack first appears reuniting with his father after John finished his business with the Bureau of Investigation and is allowed to return back to the Marston Ranch. In a close hug, he apologizes to John for failing to maintain the ranch.
The next day, Jack and his father visit MacFarlane's Ranch, owned by John's friends Drew and Bonnie MacFarlane, to purchase cattle from them. During the ride there and back, Jack inquires his father about his meeting with the MacFarlanes, as well as revealing that it was his first time visiting Hennigan's Stead.
Sometime after helping both Abigail and Uncle, John takes time with teaching Jack hunting and skinning. The two go on a hunting trip with Rufus and take down a pair of elk. Afterward, John takes Jack to Manzanita Post to teach him about selling meat and furs. In a later incident, Jack helps his father in killing a wolf pack that threatened the ranch's cattle.
Wishing to prove himself to his father, Jack decides to head up to Tall Trees and attempt to hunt down a grizzly bear by himself, despite John's warnings. At Nekoti Rock, Jack is badly injured by a bear and his mount is killed in the process. John arrives with Rufus and kills the bear, before taking Jack back to the ranch. During their ride back home, John expresses disappointment in his son's actions, while Jack argued at his father's sparse involvement in his life.
Sometime after the grizzly hunt incident, Jack is found by his father at the barn, where John praises his son for his skill with tools. The tender moment between the two is cut short by a wide-scale attack from the U.S. Army, U.S. Marshals and Bureau agents, led by Edgar Ross. Jack is ordered to stay in the house with his mother while John and Uncle fight off the invaders.
After one wave of attackers, Jack joins John and Uncle in the fight, but Uncle soon dies from a fatal bullet, to Jack's horror. Jack and John fight more waves of soldiers before running off to the barn with Abigail. At the barn, Jack and Abigail are ordered by John to get on a horse and ride off as far as they can, who promises to join them after dealing with the attackers.
When Abigail hears gunshots from the ranch, she tells Jack to ride back to Beecher's Hope. The two find a deceased John in a pool of blood, and Jack comforts his mourning mother. Jack and Abigail then proceed to bury both John and Uncle on the hill overlooking the ranch.
|“||I ain't going nowhere old man!||„|
|—Jack confronting Ross, "Remember My Family".|
In 1914, three years after John and Uncle's deaths, Abigail dies of unknown causes and Jack buries her. Now a nineteen-year-old gunslinger and the spitting image of his father with similar skill in combat, Jack decides to hunt down his father's killer.
In Blackwater, Jack approaches an agent called Howard Sawicki, who he tricks into telling him of Edgar Ross' whereabouts. From Sawicki, Jack learns that Ross was rewarded for killing John, and is now living his days out in a cabin on Lake Don Julio with his wife. With this, Jack departs Blackwater.
Visiting Don Julio, Jack meets Edgar's wife Emily, who greets him with a rant about how the government doesn't let Ross retire in peace, before apologizing and directing him towards the camp of Edgar and his brother Philip, close to the San Luis River. Meeting Philip, Jack finally locates Ross down the river hunting ducks.
Jack confronts the retired agent about his part in John's death, but Ross simply dismisses John's actions as his own fault. Unfazed by Ross' threats to kill him, Jack challenges the older man to a final duel. In a single moment, Jack guns down Ross and avenges his family's misfortune once and for all.
With Ross' death, Jack looks at his gun sombrely, realizing he's close to becoming an outlaw, the very same life his parents tried to have him avoid. Jack holsters his sidearm and walks away from the scene. The rest of Jack’s life remains largely elusive.
Events of Undead Nightmare
Note: The events of Undead Nightmare are not considered part of the same canon as Red Dead Redemption. The following description is therefore not contiguous with the preceding section on Red Dead Redemption.
Jack appears as a supporting character in Undead Nightmare; he is first shown sitting with his mother at the Marston residence, reading a book while discussing swearing with Abigail. After John returns, he asks Jack about the book he's reading; an Aztec man who apparently must kill his people who have been infected by a virus or plague, which happens to foreshadow the events of the Undead Nightmare.
Later that night, the Marston family are attacked by an undead Uncle, who manages to bite and infect Abigail, before being finished off by John. A worried Jack rushes to help his mother but is quickly infected as well, prompting John to hogtie them. Before being hogtied, Jack chases Rufus but fails to catch him. Abigail and Jack are then brought to John and Abigail's bedroom, where John leaves them with some food before leaving to find a cure for both.
Jack is not seen again until the final mission, where he and Abigail are found by John to have returned to normal. Abigail's dialogue implies Jack was returned to normal after her. After being untied, Jack and Abigail embrace John.
His fate after John's death and return as undead are unknown, and he can't be found anywhere.
|“||The arrogance of youth. He gets a little fur on his lip and he thinks he knows best all of a sudden.||„|
|—John to Bonnie MacFarlane regarding Jack, "The Outlaw's Return".|
Born into a gang of criminals, Jack's upbringing was that the gang was family to him and he called most of them his aunts and uncles. A comment from Jack himself in 1907 suggests the gang not only cared about him a lot and tried to keep him out of their illegal activities, but also avoided mentioning them to the boy, yet Jack still managed to deduce something about it by himself. One of Jack's most dominant traits was his fast learning: at 4 years old, Jack already possessed basic literacy skills, and he learned the basics of fishing from Arthur Morgan. Despite being fairly open and comfortable around people at the age of four, he was considerably more shy and reserved by the time he was twelve, and began to feel inferior to his father. As a result of his upbringing, Jack initially lacked his father's courage and superior combat, farming, and survival skills, but possessed intelligence and empathy that far surpassed John's.
Jack was a bright young man who spent most of his time reading different books that further expand his knowledge. By his own admission, he greatly enjoyed reading about wild adventures and brave heroes, which gave him a more romanticized view on the Old West, and his remarks in 1914 suggest he looked up to the legendary Landon Ricketts. His love for books and stories prompted him to aspire to become a writer or a scholar, which his parents partly approved, as they also wished for him to be a rancher.
At times, he appeared to be somewhat timid and was often mild-mannered when speaking to his family or friends. A major theme of his character is his sense of inferiority when compared to his father John, a veteran and experienced gunslinger and hunter. This led Jack to feel insecure and frightful whenever John approached him and made him all the more desperate to prove his worth to both his father and himself.
Despite the mutual struggle to understand each other, Jack shared a very close bond with John. He also cared deeply for his mother Abigail, who worried about Jack's condition after the two were released from the Bureau control. He was also the only member of the Marstons who seemed to be in a constant positive relationship with Uncle, who taught him several inappropriate things much to John's disapproval.The death of his family and the decline of the Marston ranch, all happening in a very short amount of time, greatly darkened Jack's personality. His grief and loneliness appear to have developed a severe case of depression and self-loathing. He also developed an intense hatred for the American government and its law enforcement organizations, deeming them the real criminals and the people responsible for the demise of his family.
Jack's deep love for his family also ironically results in becoming the very thing his parents didn't want him to be: an outlaw. It was this love and grief that led him to hunt down Edgar Ross three years after his father's death, determined to avenge the Marstons even at the cost of his own innocence and potentially his future.
In his quest for revenge, Jack kept a rather calm and friendly demeanor, and had his anger in check, only showing his intense hatred for Ross when the latter dismissed John's death as his own fault upon being confronted.
Jack's general attitude, character and personality in 1914 is very reflective of the player's honor level. If Jack has a low honor level, he will in turn have a sadistic, belligerent attitude during gameplay and often makes dark jokes whenever he kills a horse, an outlaw or a woman, but also shows signs of disgust at himself and questions his own actions. When approached by a prostitute they will be disgusted with Jack and turn him down.
If Jack is played with a high honor level, his attitude is far more depressive then sadistic. While helping strangers Jack will often lament that he has nothing to live for. Jack's dialogue with pedestrians will be more friendly but also jaded and somewhat somber. If approached by a prostitute Jack will instead turn them down and may remark that his family would disapprove. Showing that he still values the morals his family taught him.
In 1899, Jack is a fairly average four-year-old boy with thick brown hair and faint freckles on his face. He wears a grayish-blue coat, a red scarf, and beige pants.
In 1907, Jack is a young teenager. His hairstyle appears fairly similar to when he has a child, but he now wears a white button-up shirt and a vest. He is about a head shorter than his parents.
In 1911, Jack's appearance is roughly the same, only a few years older, though his hair has grown a bit longer. He has grown taller and is only a few inches shorter than his father. He wears a dark grey vest, a blue and white vertically striped shirt, and brown pants.
In 1914, Jack's appearance is radically different. He is now a fully grown adult, aged 19, and sports a mustache and a goatee. His hair now reaches his shoulders and he has taken to wearing his father's hat. Despite only three years passing, Jack appears a fair bit older though this can be chalked up to the stress of his parent's deaths, and his rough lifestyle. He wears a beige jacket, a white button-up shirt with a red neckerchief and dark, dirty pants.
Jack can be found as an NPC at Beecher's Hope between the mission "The Outlaw's Return" and "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed". He can be seen to do various different actions depending on the time of the day, playing with a Repeater Carbine during the day, and sitting next to the fireplace and playing the harmonica during the night.
Jack is first playable during the final sequence of the mission "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed"; he is limited to only riding his horse back to the Marston Ranch, and it is the only time where his 16 years-old self is controlled by the player.
Following the completion of the aforementioned mission, Jack becomes the player-controlled character for the remainder of the game. Every weapon, horse, safehouse, Honor, Fame, bounty and outfit that John had is carried over to Jack. This also includes progress in most Strangers side-missions, for which he has his own recorded lines.
As the quest specifically deals with his father's past and eventual fate, Jack is unable to start or continue the side-mission "I Know You". In return, Jack gets the unique "Remember My Family" quest-line, which allows the player to hunt down Edgar Ross and acts as the epilogue and full ending to the game's events.
As the player character, Jack shares most of his animations with his father but is provided with his own unique voice and lines, which tend to include references to his father, mother, Uncle, Landon Ricketts, lawmen and animals. He is also capable of using the Dead Eye Targeting.
Jack gets his own take on the game's default outfit, the Cowboy Outfit, which sees him wearing a beige jacket. He also has access to three law enforcement outfits that cannot be legally obtained by John: the US Army Uniform, the US Marshal Uniform, and the Bureau Uniform.
- Red Dead Redemption
- "The Outlaw's Return"
- "John Marston and Son"
- "Wolves, Dogs and Sons"
- "Spare The Love, Spoil The Child"
- "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed"
- "Remember My Family"
- Undead Nightmare
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- "Outlaws from the West"
- "Enter, Pursued by a Memory"
- "Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall?"
- "A Fisher of Men"
- "Angelo Bronte, A Man of Honor"
- "Horsemen, Apocalypses"
- "Fleeting Joy"
- "That's Murfree Country"
- "Visiting Hours"
- "Red Dead Redemption"
- "The Wheel"
- "Simple Pleasures"
- "Farming, For Beginners"
- "Fatherhood, For Beginners"
- "Fatherhood, For Idiots"
- "Old Habits"
- "Jim Milton Rides, Again?"
- "The Best of Women"
- "Trying Again"
- "A Really Big Bastard"
- "American Venom"
- The player can use a cheat code to play as an adult Jack Marston before the mission "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed"; however, doing so will lock any storyline missions the player has and will make the game unavailable to save.
- The 2013 game Grand Theft Auto V, another game developed by Rockstar Games, includes a reference to Jack and an easter egg for Red Dead Redemption; a book can be located in one of the protagonists' houses called "Red Dead" and written by a J. Marston.
- Just like his father, Jack is unable to swim.
- Jack and Edgar Ross are the only central characters in the series to appear in all four time periods: 1899 and 1907 in Red Dead Redemption 2, and 1911 and 1914 in Red Dead Redemption. However, Jack is the only central character to survive all of the time periods.
- A randomly occurring audio glitch in Red Dead Redemption 2 became famous due to it changing the player's voice to one that sounds almost identical to Josh Blaylock's take on Jack from the first game. Upon discovery, it caused a great deal of speculation among the fandom, but evidence that the lines seem to belong to a random NPC later surfaced.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption 2
- ↑ As shown in the credits for Red Dead Redemption.