We tried to change. I mean, ain't that what you're supposed to do?

Abigail Marston

We did change, and it's over now.

John Marston

The Outlaw's Return is the forty-ninth mission in Red Dead Redemption.

To view the mission tree, see:

Main article: Missions in Redemption/Tree


John Marston returns to his ranch, where he is reunited with his wife and son. Despite the fact that Uncle was supposed to maintain the ranch whilst the Marstons were away, all the livestock are missing, either eaten by wildlife or, stolen by rustlers. So John decides to take Jack with him to MacFarlane's Ranch the next day to get some more cattle.


Mission Prerequisites

Before this mission becomes available, the player must complete:

Mission Objectives

To complete this mission, the player must:

Mission Details

Get on your horse and ride to MacFarlane's Ranch, a trip without incidents, though Jack will have a lot of questions for John. When you arrive, Drew MacFarlane will tell you that Bonnie is out with the cattle. Go meet with her, and she'll help you herd the cattle until you get out of the farm. You'll have to drive the cattle across the river, but keeping them together shouldn't be too much of a problem, if you can remember the earlier missions with Bonnie.

Once you've gotten a little away from the river, you'll be attacked by thieves on horseback. They're not tough, and you should easily be able to take them all out. After doing so, simply follow the cattle to your ranch and get them all into the pen. Hitch your horse by the stable, which will trigger a cutscene with Jack, finishing the mission.

Mission Dialogues

Main article: The Outlaw's Return/dialogues

Mission Failure

The mission will fail if the player:

  • Assaults or kills Jack, Abigail, Uncle, Bonnie or Drew MacFarlane.
  • Abandons Jack.
  • Kills his own, Jack's or Bonnie's horse.
  • Assaults or kills any ranch-hands.
  • Assaults, kills or abandons the livestock.
  • Loses the livestock.
  • Strays too far from the mission location.
  • Breaks the law.
  • Kills a dog.
  • Commits vandalism.
  • Assaults or kills townsfolk.
  • Dies.

Gold Medal Objectives

  • Fastest Time: 9:59
  • Stragglers Returned: 85%
  • Number of Cows Herded: 15


  • 8 cattle rustlers - Killed for attempting to steal the cattle.

Mission Complete Unlockables

Tips and Tricks

After this mission, John Marston can't change outfits anymore, so it is advised to make a separate save file before starting the Ranch chapter if the player wants to continue using John with different outfits.


  • The thieves that John encounters are actually the Bollard Twins Gang.
  • It's possible that the player may lose cattle while crossing the Montana Ford.
  • Sometimes while replaying, John may show up in the regular Cowboy Outfit.
  • There is a bug where this mission may not unlock the first Uncle mission. Doing the Jack mission or the next Abigail mission will fix this.


Video Walkthroughs


Completing this mission contributes toward the following Trophy/Achievement:

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

Red Dead Redemption mission walkthroughs
Marston Ranch Chapter
"The Outlaw's Return""Pestilence""Old Friends, New Problems"
"By Sweat and Toil""A Continual Feast"
"John Marston and Son""Wolves, Dogs and Sons""Spare the Love, Spoil the Child""The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed"
New AustinNuevo ParaisoWest ElizabethMarston RanchRemember My Family
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