It’s been over a month since Red Dead Redemption 2 was released and the sheer size of the game is staggering. It's Rockstar's most expansive and hyper-realistic open world game to date; the player character's hair and beard grow in real time, you can interact with every single NPC you come across in game, all of your weapons require regular maintenance, and the map is so large it's almost better to use a second screen app to navigate!
What makes the game so fun for us isn't just the big picture, but also the tiny details. Outside of the many hours of gameplay involved in the core campaign, there are hours and hours of side missions and storylines to follow. It takes a lot of focus and determination to load up this game and stick to the main path. But fear not! If and when you do take a break from the story of Arthur Morgan you'll be rewarded. As is always the case in Rockstar games, there are dozens of easter eggs just waiting to be discovered.
Easter eggs in the Red Dead Redemption Universe come in all shapes and sizes: references to movies, references to other Rockstar games, chilling supernatural experiences, and more. There are classic easter eggs you've probably found in their other games (like Bigfoot and UFOs, both of which make appearances in most entries in the GTA series), and new/old favorites specific to the Red Dead Universe (The Nite Folk, the Incredible Donkey Lady!). There are a ton to hunt down, and it’s unlikely the community has managed to find them all. Out of the eggs discovered so far, here are some that you’re unlikely to find the first time around.
25 BIGFOOT SPEAKS
Kicking off the list is a staple easter egg in Rockstar games: the bigfoot. At this point you’ve probably already come across an enormous skeleton on Mount Shann just north of the town of Strawberry, likely the skeleton of one of these giants. What you might’ve missed is a harder to find but much more rewarding encounter hiding in the game, bigfoot speaking!
In order to find and talk with this big fella, you’ll first have to study 30 animals. After that, head to the river just west of the Wapiti Indian Reservation and follow a flock of birds to an inaccessible cave. Hiding out of sight somewhere in the cave is someone you can talk to, someone who describes himself as “too big” to make any friends.
24 THE NITE FOLK
If you played the first Red Dead Redemption and its expansion, Undead Nightmare, you’ll remember the Nite Folk; the Rockstar Universe’s zombies. Although we don’t have any word on a single player expansion yet, there is a freaky easter egg referencing the undead in RDR2.
Head to Bluewater Marsh late at night and go exploring to find one of two equally spooky things: some of their victims hanging from trees, or a crying woman. But be warned! Look directly at one of these poor unfortunate souls, or interact with the woman and the Nite Folk will come pouring out of the trees and try to claim you as their next victim. Defeat them and loot the bodies on the trees to find “The Nite Folk Victim’s Note."
23 UNDEAD MASK
There’s a second, more subtle nod to the first game’s Undead Nightmare expansion that’s a little trickier to find than the Nite Folk themselves. The events of Undead Nightmare were kicked off by the discovery and subsequent wearing of a strange green mask. It turns out developers have hidden the same mask in the world of Red Dead 2.
Look over the shoulder of the shopkeeper in St. Denis’ general store and you’ll spot it tucked away on the top shelf behind the counter. Is this a foreshadowing of things to come? Unquestionably so, as the events of this game are a prequel to the first, but whether the undead will make an appearance in game outside of their cameo in Bluewater Marsh is yet to be seen.
22 GHOST TRAIN
Is it a western without trains? Definitely not. How about ghosts? We don't think so. The first transcontinental railway was finished in 1869, thirty years before the events of Red Dead 2, and certainly played a big part in a major theme of the game's story: the settling of the "wild west". True to history, Rockstar has trains running all over the in game map, and true to their "let's make everything interactable" philosophy, you can board and rob every single one of them. Well, almost every single one.
One of the harder to track down easter eggs in this vein is the ghost train of Lemoyne. Head to the tracks just outside of town around 3AM and camp out to spot it. It may take a few evenings, but eventually it will eerily float by on its way to...somewhere ghostly. You'll have an easier time of spotting it if you hang out near the Lemoyne sign.
21 A DEADLY FAMILY
It’s possible you’ve already come across the Aberdeen Pig Farm and the unsettling siblings residing within. When you reach their property, the Aberdeen’s will invite you in for dinner and a drink. After a meal with the pair, you’ll wake up in a mass grave — a creepy, but we’ll admit, relatively easy-to-find easter egg.
What makes this one so interesting, and what you may not have known about it, is that the Aberdeen’s are based on a real American family: the Benders. In the 1870s the Bender family lived in Kansas until, one day, a mass grave was found in their backyard. Sound familiar? Upon discovery the Benders fled justice and were never seen again. The mass grave you wake up in at the Aberdeen farm bears a striking resemblance to this historical horror story.
20 THE GIRL IN THE OUTHOUSE
There’s more than one family hiding a deep, dark secret in Red Dead 2. As part of the main story missions, you’ll have to interact with the Braithwaite family. After dealing with them, be sure to explore their property thoroughly. A little ways away from the main house you’ll find an outhouse covered in chains. Inside is the Braithwaite’s secret daughter, screaming incoherently.
It’s another entry in the list of family secrets to be uncovered, but an especially disturbing one. There is some speculation she could be one of the Nite Folk, or infected by some other plague. However Arthur’s journal entry implies she’s none of these things, just mentally ill.
Al Gore was right! Well, sort of. There’a a hard to find and exceptionally grotesque easter egg in a shack outside the Van Horn Trading Post fans of South Park might recognize as ManBearPig, the impending disaster ex-vice president Gore has been warning us about for years; who knew it had roots in the old west?
Ok, ok, we know he's really talking about global warming. For those that don't recognize this one, Al Gore's South Park likeness harbors an obsession with the weird (and extremely fictional) human-animal hybridization known as ManBearPig, an obsession meant to satirize his real life passion for bringing awareness to climate change. We don’t have time for the planet Mr. Gore, we’re too busy playing Red Dead!
18 THE INCREDIBLE DONKEY LADY
Speaking of grotesque creations, recognize the donkey headed skeleton tied to a horse mill in Two Crows? It's a strange, but definitely rewarding easter egg for those who played the first Red Dead Redemption. If you don’t recognize it (her?), here’s a little explainer.
“The Incredible Donkey Lady” (named so by the gamer who discovered her) was a glitch from the first game resulting in the unfortunate hybridization of a female NPC and a donkey. Even more horrifying? You can ride it. All around town. It’s…a unique experience. Her appearance in the prequel is a satisfying nod to a hilarious bug.
17 THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD
Train robberies are a staple of western stories, and doesn’t Rockstar know it. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to rob trains both in side and out of the main story missions, but you might’ve missed this easter egg in the form of a subtle nod to a western film.
Fans of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford might recognize Rockstar’s homage to the film. The cutscene leading into this mission is a near shot for shot recreation of the train robbery in the movie, and a nice homage to one of the many westerns that came before.
The truth is out there, and we know where you can find it. UFO’s make appearances in most Rockstar games, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is no exception.
This egg can be tricky to find because of the specific steps you’ll need to follow. Look for instructions left by a cult leader inside an abandoned shack in New Hanover. They’ll tell you to return here to spot a UFO, however it’ll have to be at 2AM on the night of a half moon. Head to Mount Shann any night around 1AM for a second and easier to activate encounter.
15 GTA CAMEOS
What makes this easter egg particularly interesting that (at the time of writing) no one has actually found it yet! We know from the credits at the end of the game that Steven Ogg, Shawn Fonteno, and Ned Luke (who voice Trevor, Franklin, and Michael respectively in GTA V) make appearances in game, however so far only Trevor has been found (true to character, he’s beating and robbing a nice family somewhere in game).
Ned Luke has tweeted confirming his appearance, but has also stated his voice work wasn’t used and so he’s proven trickier to confirm. Franklin, in the meantime, has yet to be seen.
14 ROANOKE GHOSTS
The second ghostly easter egg in this list definitely takes the cake. Head to the woods in Roanoke Valley late at night and you might hear the disembodied voices of a man, woman, and child all calling to you from somewhere in the night.
What makes this egg especially satisfying is that Roanoke Valley can only be a reference to the Lost Colony of Roanoke, a real life English colony in North Caroline established in 1585. Two years after it was founded, all of the colony’s residents disappeared, leaving behind only a skeleton and a single word carved into a tree: “Croatoan." So far,no one has found this tree or skeleton in game, but it’s possible they’re somewhere in the forest as well.
13 THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
Rockstar hides this easter egg on Emerald Ranch along with another story of family tragedy. In order to spot the mysterious woman, you’ll have to give a different woman a ride from town out to the ranch. She’ll recount the story of the mean old rancher and his daughter, whom no one ever sees except through a window.
Once you arrive on Emerald Ranch take a peek with your binoculars at the windows of the main house to spot this chilling figure. Keep investigating and you’ll find a letter from a cousin imploring her uncle Eugene not to lock his daughter away.
12 HERSHEL'S FARM
There are dozens of farms scattered across the massive open world of RDR2, but fans of The Walking Dead will recognize one in particular from the second and third seasons of the show: Hershel’s Farm. The reference specifically comes from the barn on the property.
In RDR2, the words STAY OUT PLAGUE have been painted across the doors. Although Hershel’s barn doesn’t bear this message on the show, the buildings are remarkably similar, and the plague message is reminiscent of the one Rick Grimes finds in the pilot episode of TWD.
A few of Red Dead’s harder to find easter eggs come with quests you have to follow. Although they will take you some extra time, these ones are definitely worth the hunt, leading you not only to some interesting characters and encounters, but occasionally to some rare gear you can't get anywhere else in the game.
One of these extra rewarding easter eggs can be found in St. Denis. Look for five chilling messages carved on walls from someone identifying as Nosferatu (yet another film reference!). Once you’ve found all five you’ll find the vampire himself claiming his next victim late at night in an isolated alleyway near the center of town. After you encounter him, you can loot his body to find a rare ornate dagger.
10 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Set at the turn of the 20th century, the world of Red Dead 2 is still getting used to one of its most recent technological innovations: electricity. In game you can find an electrifying easter egg in the form scientist Marko Dragic, a man who bears a resemblance to the famed Nikola Tesla.
The trickiest part of tracking down this egg is activating the second quest, which is only available during a thunderstorm. After you’ve finished you’ll have to wait a couple of days before returning to Marko’s lab. You’ll find he’s met an unfortunate end, and by using the electric lantern he’s left behind you can track his robot son to a perch in the mountains, where he sits all alone and talks to himself.
Is he Mowgli? A reference to a werewolf? Or just an anonymous lost soul abandoned by his parents and raised from birth by wolves? This tricky to find egg can be found in the woods of Roanoke Valley (watch out for those ghosts!).
If you don’t want to miss this one, you’ll have to be arrive on the night of a full moon. Once there you’ll be able to hear a man howling. When you spot him he’ll run away, so make sure you’re fast on your feet if you want to track him all the way back to his den. What makes this easter egg so sad is that you’ll likely be forced to take out his adopted wolf family in order to get close enough to investigate fully. Afterwards he’ll make his grief heard by crying loudly and shouting at you to leave.
8 O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?
Rockstar sure does love movie references. If you spend enough time in the open world of the game, you may eventually come across a chain gang of three just off a set of train tracks. Stick around long enough and you can see them overcome their guards and escape, still chained together and heading toward the nearest train tracks.
This of course is an homage to the Coen Brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou? That film is a redemption story, and an adaptation of Homer's epic The Odyssey, yet another redemption story! Can you see where we're going with this? It's pretty neat to see this homage in Red Dead 2, another tale that is, of course, about redemption!
7 THE DEVIL
A vampire, a werewolf, and the devil walk into a saloon…
There’s no shortage of the supernatural in Red Dead, but this Lucifer is probably an impostor. Just west of the Little Creek River you’ll find a cave with only one inhabitant, a man claiming to be the devil himself. It’s an interesting conversation, and if you return in a few days he’ll have more to say. But let me just say from experience - he’s definitely not immortal.
6 WITCH'S CAULDRON
The Witch’s Cauldron is relatively easy to find, but makes our list because of its mysterious implications. Far east of the Wapiti Indian Reservation and off the beaten path you’ll find the bubbling cauldron and a seemingly abandoned shack full of things we assume are essential to being a witch.
The mystery comes if or when you dare to take a sip of the bubbling liquid. After doing so, you’ll pass out and wake up a few feet away. It’s still unclear if this has any other effect on your character, or if perhaps the so far unseen witch is the one who moved you, but it’s definitely worth trying.
At first glance the woman you find in an isolated cabin west of Lake Isabella just seems a little crazed (probably from the isolation). However, when you inspect the contents of her cabin you’ll find all the things she assumes you need to be a witch. Candles, pentagrams, etc.
It's a relatively simple encounter, but can be hard to track down out in the wild. Most importantly, and the part you might miss, in a dresser drawer she’s also hanging on to one half of a map that will lead you to Otis Miller’s Revolver. To find the second half you'll have to visit a hermit out in Manito Glade (note: he's not the same hermit as the one found in our next entry).
4 KING OF HERMITS
The United States of America may have been founded to escape the tyranny of monarchs, but in Red Dead Redemption 2 there’s at least one king who’s maintained his sovereignty.
North of the Brandywine Drop you’ll find a hermit - er excuse me, the Hermit King, as he’ll quickly inform you. There’s some debate as to whether or not this is a reference to Monty Python. Whether that's true or not, this east much too silly!
3 HOBBIT HOUSE
It seems we've stumbled upon a theme in Rockstar's homages. This time the epic referenced is Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, another long, long journey featuring redemption (never forget, the people of Middle Earth already had a chance to destroy the ring!).
Although the events of the game take place about three decades before Bilbo Baggins first left the Shire in search of adventure, you can find a unique home bearing a strong resemblance to Bag-End built into a hill east of Donner Falls. It may be a long way from the Shire, and it may be missing the iconic round green door, but it’s almost certainly an homage to the epic stories of J.R.R. Tolkien.
2 TIME TRAVEL
Northwest of Strawberry you’ll find a small cabin wherein resides Francis Sinclair. Complete the quest he gives you and return to his cabin and you’ll find one of the more exciting eggs in the game. Francis is gone, and in his place are a mother and baby boy. The baby boy shares the same birthmark and red hair as Francis, and his mother tells you that’s exactly who he is. On the wall you’ll find a massive collage of drawings depicting Francis stepping through portals into different periods of time.
(Bonus connection: his birthmark and red hair are references to the Rockstar Universe’s fictional Epsilon Cult, appearing most notably in GTA V).
1 THE STRANGE MAN
This final entry is the most difficult to find by far, but also the most satisfying. If you played the first Red Dead Redemption, you’ll remember The Strange Man, an immortal and mysterious figure. He knows things he shouldn't, and bullets pass right through him!
In Red Dead 2 his cabin (the easy part of this egg) is located east of Mattock Pond, across the Kamassa River. Inside you’ll find all sorts of macabre stuff: candles galore, creepy furniture, strange paintings - and the biggest giveaway - the Strange Man’s hat. In the middle of the cabin is an incomplete portrait. Get to 100% completion and it’ll reveal The Strange Man, but that’s not all. Look in the mirror just left of the portrait and - gasp! - He’s behind you! Turn around and he’s gone, as if he was never there.