You know, I dreamt of documenting the last days of the old West. The romance, the honor, the nobility! But it turns out it's just people killing each other.

Harold MacDougal

It always was, Professor.

John Marston

The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale) is the forty-sixth mission in Red Dead Redemption.

To view the mission tree, see:

Main article: Missions in Redemption/Tree


When John meets with the Professor Harold MacDougal, he finds MacDougal nervous and packing his bags for his return to Yale. MacDougal has had one too many brushes with death for his liking and decides he is not cut out to study "the savages". Their conversation is interrupted when Dutch Van Der Linde shoots out one of the windows and calls out to John. It's John's task to make sure the Professor gets out of town in one piece, as they get shot at by Native Americans that have the town surrounded. John then escorts MacDougal to Manzanita Post, where the professor catches his train back to Yale.


Mission Objectives

To complete this mission, the player must:

  • Rescue Harold MacDougal on the roof of the Blackwater Hotel.
  • Kill the enemy snipers on the rooftops.
  • Cross the rooftops and climb down to the horses waiting in the alley below.
  • Escort MacDougal to Manzanita Post Train station.

Mission Details

Go outside and climb the ladder onto the roof. MacDougal will be held captive by Nashoba . Your best shot is probably to use your sniper rifle combined with Dead Eye to take him out before he kills MacDougal. After making sure the Professor is safe, you'll have to take care of other Dutch's Gang members on the other rooftops. Use whatever weapon you'd like. There are exactly 8 enemies on the rooftops.

Follow the Professor and, once you reach the ground, mount your horse. You'll accompany the Professor to the train station at Manzanita Post. On the way, you'll be ambushed twice by groups of Dutch's men. Take them all out with whatever weapon you prefer. Once you reach the train station, dismount your horse and join MacDougal at the station. Harold will bid you farewell and wish you good luck before boarding the train, weeping. You will earn $100 as a reward.

Mission Dialogues

Main article: The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)/dialogues

Mission Failure

The mission will fail if the player:

  • Allows the captured MacDougal to be killed.
  • Harms MacDougal while he is held hostage.
  • Abandons MacDougal.
  • Breaks the law.+
  • Kills a dog.+
  • Commits vandalism.+
  • Assaults or kills townsfolk.+
  • Dies.
+ = Applies only to Manzanita Post

Gold Medal Objectives

  • Fastest Time: 4:30
  • Shot Accuracy: 80%
  • Number of Headshots: 7



  • The mission's title is a reference to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, one of the parables of Jesus, recorded in Luke 15:11.
  • MacDougal can be seen packing a bible into his bag while he is preparing to leave the hotel. This is a possible just because of the above mentioned bible reference.
  • Even though MacDougal takes a train back to Yale, none of the train tracks ever lead out of the actual game world.
  • In Undead Nightmare, the Professor returns to Blackwater to do some more research, but he ends up getting infected.
  • It is quite unknown why there are no civilians or policeman or even Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham around as they would very likely hear all of the noise.
  • This mission is very similar to the film "3:10 to Yuma", in which the two main characters escape a hotel onto a rooftop, surviving multiple ambushes while attempting to make it to a train.
  • The player can kill both civilians in the bedroom without any repercussions. Dutch and his gang will not be alerted no matter what weapon is used. Whoever is killed first, the other will yell at the player, "My God! What kind of animal are you!" if the woman is alive and "Oh no! What have you done!" if it is the man. If a gun is held on one of them, they will say three quotes each and continue on a loop until the player either shoots them or stops aiming at them.
  • If one attempts to hogtie one of the civilians, it is highly likely they will accidentally die. It is best to punch them, causing them to break out of their cover stance, allowing them to be hogtied. There is no real benefit from doing this, but there is a chance you may receive some revolver ammo for it (as if you had hogtied a criminal)..
  • Killing the man and the woman at the beginning of the mission yields no punishment whatsoever.

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
West Elizabeth Chapter
"Bear One Another's Burdens""Great Men are Not Always Wise""And You Will Know The Truth""And The Truth Will Set You Free"
"At Home with Dutch""For Purely Scientific Purposes""The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)"
New AustinNuevo ParaisoWest ElizabethMarston RanchRemember My Family
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