Arthur Morgan is undoubtedly one of the greatest, and most complex, protagonists in video game history. When we all heard that the prequel was presenting a new protagonist, we all kind of shook our heads and braced for the disappointment. Luckily, all of our expectations were gloriously surpassed and exceeded.
That said, Arthur Morgan is not a good man. But he's also not an irredeemable man. The game is called Red Dead Redemption after all! There's a lot of bad, but also a lot of good... you know, once he decides to turn his life around. Let's check out a little bit of both. These are the five worst, and five best, things that Arthur Morgan did in Red Dead Redemption II.
10 Worst - The Whole Downes Situation
Even if we didn't believe that Arthur was a bad man, the entire Downes situation proved us wrong. Downes is a very charitable man and can often be seen collecting money for the poor and giving donations. Once he falls on hard times, he borrows money from Strauss, who in turn sends Arthur to collect on the interest.
Arthur beats the feeble and sick man in front of his family and tells him to "sell his wife." Once Thomas passes from his illness, the debt is passed to his wife Edith, and when Arthur goes to collect, he threatens Edith's son Archie with death. As if he hasn't done enough harm to the family...
9 Best - Helping Edith And Archie
Karma strikes Arthur, and he receives tuberculosis during his encounter with the sick Thomas Downes. It's Arthur's TB diagnosis that influences him to change his ways, and he does so by helping the destitute Edith and Archie Downes.
Edith later becomes a prostitute to support herself and Archie, and Arthur later encounters the family in Annesburg. He helps save Archie from bullies in the mine, and he scares off Edith's customers before giving them some money and forcing them to leave town. They can't forgive Arthur for what he did, but it's still something...
8 Worst - Shooting Up Strawberry
Arthur really is a terrible person at the beginning of the game. While on an adventure, Micah gets himself arrested in the northern town of Strawberry. Dutch sends Arthur to rescue him, resulting in Arthur breaking Micah out of the Strawberry jail.
They proceed to get into a massive shootout with the authorities as Micah makes his way through town to reclaim some guns. It's one of the first brazen shootouts of the game, and seeing it placed on lockdown following the mission is enough to send you into a state of shock. "Wow, I really am playing as the bad guy this time."
7 Best - Absolving Weathers' Debt
By the end of the game, Arthur has had enough of Strauss's manipulative ways. Strauss sends Arthur to collect a debt from a J. John Weathers. Weathers is a soldier who deserted his post at Fort Wallace after impregnating a Native American woman.
While collecting the debt, Weathers is ambushed by soldiers looking to arrest him for desertion. After fighting them off, Weathers offers Arthur a valuable silver locket, but Arthur can decline, drawing the immense appreciation of Weathers. And with this, Arthur officially left his outlaw ways behind.
6 Worst - Shooting Up Valentine
Arthur just can't help himself from shooting up an entire town, can he? While having some drinks in a Valentine saloon with Dutch, both John and Strauss are captured by Leviticus Cornwall, who wishes for Dutch to answer for his robberies.
Rather than discuss or negotiate, Arthur and Dutch proceed to shoot Cornwall's men, prompting a massive shootout with the Valentine authorities. Like the Strawberry shootout, it's a standout mission, but it's also one of the most shocking and violent.
5 Best - Giving Money To Mrs. Londonderry
Along with Weathers, Strauss also tells Arthur to collect a debt from a Mr. Londonderry. He later learns that Londonderry died working in the mines, leading him to collect the debt from his widow. However, he learns from her that Londonderry literally worked himself to death trying to pay off the debt.
So, he decides to both absolve the debt and give Mrs. Londonderry some money. It's this situation that finally prompts Arthur to kick Strauss out of the group in retaliation for his manipulative and greedy ways.
4 Worst - Robbing A Train & Beating The Passengers
In a mission ripped straight out of a classic Western, Arthur, John, Charles, and Shaun decide to rob a train. Arthur stands on a barrel of oil to stop the train on the tracks and proceeds to enter it and watch John steal money from the passengers.
If a passenger is hesitant or downright dismissive of John's orders, John has Arthur beat them over the head with the butt of his rifle. Sure, the game can be a lot more violent than this, but violence is usually performed through player agency. With this mission, the game FORCES you to beat innocent people, and it makes you feel like utter garbage.
3 Best - Donating Money To The Poor
The great thing about this game is that you can play Arthur anyway you want. While in Saint Denis, Arthur will meet the benevolent Brother Dorkins and Mother Superior Calderon. Once she gets to know Arthur, Mother Superior will ask him to donate money and/or food to her food bank, and the game allows you to make the decision.
If you do, Calderon will refer to Arthur as a good, kindhearted man, and the two will share a very beautiful heart to heart in the late stage of the game, as Calderon assures a dying and afraid Arthur that he is a good man.
2 Worst - Any Number Of Random Encounters
This is a bit of a cop out, but really, some of the worst Arthur moments can be found in the random encounters. If you're playing Arthur as a villain, you can perform a ton of horrible things to different people. Needless to say, you've got a lot of options.
Refuse to suck out fatal venom, shoot people who only want your help, keep someone trapped in a bear trap, the world's pretty much your evil oyster here. There's no shortage of terrible you can choose to unleash on the innocent, and the possibilities to be a true bad guy only end where your nerve does.
1 Best - Saving John
And with this, Arthur's redemption was complete. Despite his initial disappointment, Arthur eventually warms to John again, and by the end of the game, John remains Arthur's closest ally. The very end game sees you sacrificing yourself for John, as you fight off both Micah and the Pinkerton agents to allow John to escape.
He does so, and proceeds to leave the gang for more prosperous and peaceful opportunities. But of course, we're talking about Red Dead Redemption here, and it doesn't quite work out that way in the end.