I had real suffering and I lost everything, my vocation, my faith, my family...
Reverend Swanson

Reverend Orville Swanson is a supporting character featured in Red Dead Redemption 2.



A former clergyman now lost to debauchery, Swanson has fallen a long way from the standards he once set himself and struggles with many demons. If he hadn’t saved Dutch’s life in the past, it’s unlikely the gang would have kept him around for this long.
Description by Rockstar Games.

Biography in RDR 2 (click to enlarge)

Swanson worked as a clergyman in the past, but as he indulged in earthly pleasures such as alcohol and sex, he slowly lost his job and his family, as well as his faith. He at some point affiliated with a woman named Margret but he never goes into detail about his relationship with her. Under unknown circumstances, Swanson saved the life of Dutch van der Linde at some point; with Dutch in his debt, Swanson was allowed to stay with and join the Van der Linde gang.

Events of Red Dead Redemption 2

Horseshoe Overlook Chapter

Arthur has to go find Swanson, who was last seen near a railroad station. After going to the station, he finds Swanson very drunk and playing poker with two men. Swanson then tells him that Arthur has freed him, and runs away, forcing Arthur to go in pursuit of him. Arthur finds him being beaten up by a buff man, who Arthur can either kill or knock unconscious. While Arthur was busy fighting the man, Reverend once again escaped and got himself stuck on the top of the railroad tracks. Arthur will go and pull him out right before the train goes by, and bring him back to camp.

During discussion with Hosea at the campfire, Swanson reveals that he was once married, but unbeknownst to him, the woman was already married, meaning they were committing bigamy. He states the law caught up with them in San Francisco, but she escaped onboard a ship to Shanghai.

Beaver Hollow Chapter

After Arthur returns from Guarma Swanson has cleaned up his act and is now sober and functioning well. He eventually chooses to leave the gang, due to the gang's collapse. If his honor is low, Arthur meets him one last time at Emerald Station after the mission The Fine Art of Conversation, in which Swanson gives wise words about Redemption and Honor to his dying friend. The dialogue in this encounter depends on the player's honor.


After being rescued by John and Uncle in Saint Denis, Charles informs John that Swanson had moved to New York to become a preacher. Blackwater Ledger No.74 reveals that Swanson became the minister of the First Congressional Church of New York.



Swanson is a broken and disheveled priest, often drunk. He is also a secretive drug addict, as Arthur can find the Reverend’s bible hiding a syringe, a tourniquet and a bottle of morphine although it is never discussed. Later in the story, he eventually sobers up and becomes more responsible and mature.


Swanson has red hair with grey patches, indicating his ageing. He has a large, curly mustache, and wears standard black priest attire.

Mission appearances

Red Dead Redemption 2


You got to love yourself a fire. It's one of the blessings. Sure we can have fire...and you can have the knowledge of fire, but with that comes the knowledge of everything.
Reverend during a camp speech around the bonfire.


  • Swanson has the very first line of dialogue in Red Dead Redemption 2.


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