|“||While there are guns and money, there won't be any freedom, Luisa.||„|
|—John Marston to Luisa Fortuna|
Money, in 19th - 20th century US Dollars, is the primary currency in the Red Dead series.
In all entries, money can be exchanged for goods such as weapons or consumables by shopping in General Stores, Gunsmiths, Tailors, and other merchants. Money is earned by completing missions and in various other ways that vary between games.
Red Dead Revolver
In Red Dead Revolver, money is awarded at the completion of a mission based on the player's performance during the mission. The amount earned is based on the location of the player's shots, with an additional multiplier for consecutive kills. Individual shots earn the following amounts:
- Head = $8
- Arms = $6
- Legs = $4
- Chest = $2
When more than one enemy is killed in rapid succession (within a few seconds), this counts as a Kill Streak and the total amount earned is multiplied by the number of kills within the streak. The players best kill streak for a mission is shown on the end-of-mission stats page.
- Maximum Health/Dead Eye improvements
- Weapon purchases, upgrades, and repairs
- Journal page unlocks
- Showdown Mode character and map unlocks
Red Dead Redemption
Money can be earned by completing certain activities and missions or selling items such as animal pelts. Money can also be used to bribe witnesses or to pay off any bounties that may be on the player's head.
Money in Red Dead Redemption is a substantial currency. The scarcity and the value reflect the pre-inflationary value of modern American dollars. The frontier environment is a region of economic growth; sources of income will be ever-present, as will opportunities to spend, lose, and steal. Money is hard-earned and easy to lose after a few bad calls in gambling games. In the Hardcore Mode added in the Game of the Year Edition, money is an even more precious commodity.
Various activities and missions can be completed to generate cash for the player:
- Bounty Hunting: Apprehending bounty targets rewards you cash as well as a boost in honor. The money received depends on whether the apprehended criminal is dead or alive. A live bounty rewards twice as much as a dead bounty. You can also loot the bodies of gang members, plus the later reinforcements, to maximize cash. Blackwater and Manzanita Post seem to be the most profitable place to do bounty hunting. Several of the bounties are worth $600 if the criminal is kept alive.
- Cattle Rustling: Marston can earn loads of quick cash by going to ranches at night and killing and then skinning all the cattle.
- Gambling: The games of Poker, Blackjack, Liar's Dice, Arm Wrestling, Five Finger Fillet, and Horseshoes are all methods of gambling that can earn the player money. The Elegant Suit outfits allow the player to cheat at poker and the Gentleman's Attire allows one to enter high stakes poker games in Blackwater respectively, which can make it easier for the player to earn large amounts of money. A good opportunity to earn a lot of money from gambling is during Part 1 of the stranger mission Lights, Camera, Action. The player has to win a land deed from playing Liar's Dice, and this is the only time in the game where the ante is $200, as opposed to the normal $20. Repeatedly joining the Liar's Dice session will keep the ante at $200, the game being autosaved everytime the game is won. However, if autosave is loaded then the ante will drop back down to $20.
- Gang Hideouts: Some of the gang hideouts in the game can yield the player considerable amounts of money from treasure chests found within the hideout. For instance, after killing all the gang members at Fort Mercer, a treasure room is located with two chests containing over $100, there are also a few safes. There is also and Gaptooth Breach hideout has a treasure chest with over $100 in it. Gang hideouts can be done more than once.
- Hunting: Hunting involves killing a wild animal, skinning it, and selling its provisions. Many people consider this the best way to get money, especially when hunting animals such as Grizzly Bears, Cougars, and Bobcats. Doing this, you can easily make thousands, however the player must be careful, as the animals won't just stand there and let the player kill them.
- Plant Gathering: Gathering involves roaming wilderness until a flower icon appears in the mini map, this indicates a plant of some sort. Picking these plants and selling them will net you money. However this is not a very good method as most often the plants are scarce and don't sell for much money.
- Robbery: The player can earn money through robbery. This can be done by presenting a weapon to an NPC and demanding money, by robbing bank vaults, or by committing a robbery in randomly generated events. Doing this will cost the player honor, unless the bandana is equipped. If your honor is low enough, this offense will NOT be reported to officials.
- Treasure Hunter Challenges: Acquiring treasure maps and locating the item(s) within the game's environment can generate money. This is done by either keeping the treasure (if it is coins you find) or by selling it to an NPC (if the treasure is gold bullion)
- Looting: Money can also be earned by looting dead bodies which usually carry around $5-$10 each. Looting dead bodies can also give you other goods such as Bait or Snake Oil.
- Quick money can be made with the 'Nice Eyes' random encounter.
- Certain Missions may also provide income.
- Bird Hunting Challenge. Lose a couple on purpose, the bet will double every time. Win before your money runs out. Now kill your opponent and loot his body. You will receive the last bet!
In Nuevo Paraíso, Marston still uses American dollars even though the form of currency should be the Mexican peso. This was likely to not overcomplicate monetary transactions between the two countries. However, even today, many Mexican border shops still accept dollars due to the high amount of cross-border commerce, and during a time of war when the peso would be fluctuating wildly, this may have been even more common.
American dollars seem to be accepted by just about everyone in Nuevo Paraiso, but it appears that Marston is paid for bounty hunting and other activities or missions in Mexican pesos, according to NPC dialogue. It could also be assumed that all transactions in Mexico are done in pesos, but shown to the player as an equivalent amount of US dollars.
In Multiplayer, money is used for two things, gambling with other players and how much XP you earn, though the only ways to obtain money in multiplayer is to complete challenges, kill enemies, and win at Liar's Dice or Poker against other players. (Note: If you gamble, and lose, you lose money)
Due to the fact that money is useless in fighting the Undead, money is absent and of no use in the Undead Nightmare DLC, being replaced by ammunition and weapons as the new form of currency, usually used to reward the player.
- In Red Dead Redemption, the maximum amount of money Marston can have at once is $999,999. This is roughly $25,000,000 in today’s money.
Earn $10,000 in singleplayer.
Complete a game of Liar's Dice without losing a single dice.