Red Dead Redemption 2 should be applauded for the lengths it went to in order to maintain high levels of realism. The atmosphere of the open country, the care-taking of Arthur Morgan's person, and the maintenance of weapons and gear struck gold when it came to appearing realistic.
Even if the gunplay (admittedly a little shoddy) did not appeal to you, the extreme realism of the game should have drawn at least a nod of appreciation from you. But how accurate was Red Dead Redemption 2 when it came to history? Read on if you want to know how historically accurate (and inaccurate) our favorite cowboy simulator really was.
10 Historically Accurate: The Pinkertons
During the 1890s, there was an organization called the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, and they did indeed perform such duties as rounding up errant outlaws. This is one facet of Red Dead Redmption 2's story that developer Rockstar Games got right. As a matter of fact, the developers got into some legal troubles over the usage of the Pinkerton Agency in their game, though matters have mostly settled down. The real company, which now goes by Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, demanded royalties from Rockstar for using their name. Realism apparently comes at a cost.
9 Not Accurate: The Carcano M91/38 Short Rifle
The Carcano is a rifle you can pick up in Red Dead Redemption 2 over the course of the game's progression. Any gamer who has played RDR2 knows the Carcano is an ideal gun for long-range shooting, and it is not to be trifled with.
However, the gun upon which the game's Carcano model is based on was not created until 1938, many years after the events of RDR2. This is a slight inaccuracy, and given the usefulness of the weapon in the game, we're not complaining.
8 Historically Accurate: Women's Inability To Vote
As ludicrous as this may seem, women were still not allowed to vote in 1899, the year that the events of Red Dead Redemption 2 take place. The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified in 1920, twenty-one years later. So those suffragettes you meet in Rhodes and the protester you encounter on the streets of Saint Denis are fighting for rights they would not have had in real life at those times. Arthur Morgan's participation in their movement is both commendable and historically accurate (time-wise).
7 Not Accurate: Animal Cruelty Laws
Look, we've all been there. You see a dog wandering around Valentine, and you decide you want to pet it. You kneel down, but instead of pressing the "Pat" button like you wanted to, you accidentally use your firearm on the poor creature. Next thing you know, the law is on you for Animal Cruelty.
While some of us may have taken our punishment like the disheartened animal-shooters we were, technically speaking, getting busted for shooting a dog was not against the law. Federal anti-animal cruelty laws were sadly not implemented in the US until much later. (Though New York did make plenty of headway in the 1860s!)
6 Historically Accurate: The Entertainment
Back in the times of Red Dead Redemption 2, there were no cell phones, computers, or video game consoles. All people had to rely on for entertainment were non-technological methods. That means all those poker games, fishing trips, and theater shows you took Arthur Morgan to were how people actually entertained themselves in those times. Anybody up for a friendly game of dominoes now?
5 Not Accurate: Fully Loaded Pistols
Everyone loves the image of a cowboy with a six-chambered revolver in his hand before a big shoot-out. That's a classic Western image. Red Dead Redemption 2 helps you live out that fantasy by letting you play as Arthur Morgan. However, that fully-loaded revolver in Arthur's holster is not historically accurate.
Real-life cowboys would never place more than five rounds into the chamber because safety mechanisms on guns did not really exist back then. A slight nudge on the hammer could cause the revolver to go off (which is not a good thing if your gun is at your hip). Red Dead Redemption 2 disregarded this historical fact, clearly in favor of giving players access to all the rounds at their disposal.
4 Historically Accurate: Racial Inequalities
The treatment of people of color in Red Dead Redemption 2 is unfortunately all too real. The Civil War ended in 1865, thirty-four years after the time that the game's story takes place. It's a sad look at the United States' history that environments remained as segregated and discriminatory as they were so many years later. Oh well, at least Rockstar Games made it so that if Arthur murders the KKK, his honor never goes down.
3 Not Accurate: The Money System
Prices were definitely inflated in Red Dead Redemption 2's world. If we were to look at the average cost of a pistol back in the 1800s, it would be under $20. (This is if we're going for a weapon without any adornments on the handle.)
In the game, the prices for guns are exorbitantly high in comparison, as are the prices for clothes and horses. The money system seems to be all over the place, especially in the latter half of the game when your wallet is full to bursting with cash.
2 Historically Accurate: The Deadliness Of Tuberculosis
Nowadays, if you find yourself with a case of tuberculosis, there is a long treatment of antibiotics you can take to cure yourself. Alternatively, if you never want to get TB in the first place, there is a vaccine that exists to protect you from this infectious disease. Back during Arthur Morgan's time, such luxuries did not exist. So the heart-wrenching suffering Arthur goes through once he contracts the disease were once all too real. Rockstar Games held nothing back when it came to the destructive nature of his consumption.
1 Not Accurate: Locations
Funnily enough, we've had several people of our acquaintance ask where in the US is the state of Lemoyne, and the answer is that it does not exist. While Red Dead Redemption 2 does take place in the United States of America, the specific locations that you visit are not real. (They're like Gotham or Metropolis.) Instead, these locations are just based off of real places. For instance, Saint Denis is a loose interpretation of New Orleans. However, there is no way you can physically visit the mountain ranges of Ambarino in real life. You're better off turning on your console, starting RDR2, and riding your game horse to those virtual northern ranges.