Following years of anticipation, Red Dead Redemption 2 came out in October of 2018 to wild fanfare, garnering praise for nearly every facet of its design. Of course, not everything about it was golden - some reviews justly criticized the less than stellar shooting mechanics - but it succeeded in sucking players into a fully fleshed out open world. Many would also say it told one of the best stories to ever grace the medium. One reason its plot was so effective was the large cast of beautifully written characters and the nuance with which their relationships developed.
Because of the amount of detail and personality packed into every character, it is easy to spend hours focusing on one supporting role or their interactions with another. So, instead of spending the next twenty five entries focusing on Arthur Morgan, the main character, let's use this time to explore John Marston and the love of his life, Abigail. Their turbulent love story is explored over two games and many years, so there is a lot to unpack and discuss. Some of the details explored will be obvious, while others will only come to light after looking at the two with a more critical lens.
So get ready for a house building montage, because here are 25 Wild Revelations About John Marston And Abigail’s Relationship.
25 He Proposed To Her With Arthur's Ring
Their courtship and marriage was anything but a fairy tale, but it did include what most consider vital to an ideal relationship - a proposal. After a romantic date ending with a relaxing ride on a canoe, John Marston gets down on one knee and pops the question. Those who paid attention to the events leading up to the heartwarming moment will know that the ring he uses previously belonged to Arthur Morgan, who used it during his ultimately failed engagement with Mary Linton.
24 They Were Both Orphans
Both of these lovers had a very tough life from day one. Specifically, they were both orphaned from a young age. Almost nothing is known about Abigail's parents, and there are only a few details about John's. Marston's mother passed away during childbirth, and John's father left the mortal coil when the character was only eight years old. They both had rough childhoods, but being connected by a common tragedy could be the reason why the two grew so close.
23 They Had A Daughter
Everyone knows Jack, John and Abigail's child who eventually grows up to carry on the Marston name and avenge the unjust slaying of his father, John. Little do people know, however, that the two had a daughter who sadly did not live past infancy. She is rarely mentioned throughout Red Dead Redemption, but one can deduce that she was birthed sometime after the events of the second game. It makes sense why John would rarely bring up a lost child.
22 They Left Each Other Several Times
Readers who are or have been in long term relationships can relate to this. Stay with someone long enough and one finds out that love isn't roses and kisses. Oftentimes people will split up once or twice during an extended courtship, only to reunite several times. Emotions are complicated, and people find out they weren't ready to permanently break up or that they were the one true love. The Marstons, despite their unconventional lives, went through these usual steps too.
21 John Was An Unwilling Father
At the beginning of Red Dead Redemption 2, players see a radically different John than they are accustomed to. The most shocking thing is his reluctance to spend time with Jack. In Red Dead Redemption, he is doing whatever possible to get his family back, while the prequel shows a man barely willing to acknowledge his wife and child as existing. Players who didn't play the first game undoubtedly received a drastically different first impression of the character than long time fans.
20 Abigail Had Relationships With Most Of The Gang
To start, this entry isn't meant to pass harsh judgement on Abigail. Before becoming John's wife, Mrs. Marston worked in the world's oldest profession; also known as a woman of the night; or a night butterfly, for those familiar with Slavic metaphors. Because of this, she did spend intimate time with most of the gang, save for a few who were already loyal to another partner. Ultimately, though, she fell in love with John and left that profession behind to focus on raising a son.
19 Uncle Introduced Abigail To The Gang
Uncle is one of the more colorful personalities of the franchise, and at times one of the irritating. Pay close attention to the dialogue to find out that he was the one who brought Abigail to the camp, ultimately being responsible for her meeting John. After this revelation, it makes more sense why Abigail and John keep him around after they build their house. They might feel a bit of unspoken gratitude for his part in introducing the two destined lovers.
18 After Accepting Jack, John Still Wasn't The Best Father
John comes along quite a bit over the course Red Dead Redemption 2. He goes from not giving Jack the time of day to making an honest attempt at raising him and being the best father he can be. Unfortunately, being the best he can be is still a far cry from being the greatest dad possible. In RDR2's epilogue, he sometimes says unknowingly hurtful things and, while he teaches good life lessons, he doesn't teach them in the gentlest ways. Still, he does better than a lot of real life fathers.
17 John Would Have Lived Longer If He Listened To Abigail
Abigail's biggest problem with John's behavior is his unwillingness to abandon his violent ways. Even when he was turning over a new leaf and trying to be a better man, he would always look for the solution that involved fighting. When it came time for RDR2's final showdown, Abigail pleaded with him not to go out for vengeance, but he went anyway. Had he listened to her, the Pinkertons would not have found the aftermath of the carnage and traced it back to the farm.
16 John Was Completely Faithful To Abigail Once They Got Married
John Marston may not have the typical code of ethics most people have, but he never philanders once the two are officially hitched. Cheating is still common today, so one can only imagine how rampant it must have been over a hundred years ago. John is a loving husband, though, and manages to spend the epilogue and the entirety of RDR without betraying his wife.
15 Their Marriage Only Managed To Flourish Because Of Arthur's Sacrifice
Arthur Morgan will go down as one of gaming's finest characters, and one of the few in the medium who actually bites the dust on camera. What makes his ending all the more unique is his final breaths not signifying the game's end. Afterwards, there is an extended epilogue which details John Marston setting up a new life for him and Abigail. This fresh start was only possible because of all the work Arthur did before succumbing to his illness.
14 Still Not The Best Husband
Marston really turns his life around by the end of Red Dead Redemption 2, and he should be rewarded for that. Despite these massive strides, it still has to be noted that he was not the best husband to Abigail. He tries, but there are several vital mistakes he makes. The biggest one is his unwillingness to heed Abigail's yearning for him to put down the gun once and for all. Relationships are all about compromise, but this is one thing he couldn't quite give up.
13 They Only Met Because Of The Gang, The Very Thing That Dooms Them
It's impossible to say what would have happened to John if he never fell into Dutch's gang. Maybe he would have ran with another group of outlaws, or he would have met his maker much earlier in life. It is positive that his involvement with the gang seals his fate, but it is also the only reason he met the love of his life. The cruel irony is his family being his salvation, without which he would have remained an outlaw, but only having it because of events that lead to his execution.
12 It Was Turbulent
If there was one word that one would have to use to describe the two's relationship, a good one would be "turbulent." At the start of RDR2 they are constantly shooting venomous words back and forth. They eventually become closer and fall deeply in love, but the problems do not disappear. By the epilogue, they are still consistently disagreeing with one another. By the time things really start to feel normal, Pinkertons come knocking at their door, kick starting the events of the first game.
11 John Did Everything Because Of Abigail
Love can move mountains. Even more shocking, it can turn a good person bad and, in John's case, a mean outlaw into an honorable family man. The two are together at the start of the epilogue, but Abigail leaves shortly after, becoming fed up with his penchant for violence. Instead of giving up on her, John vows to win her back, and goes about buying property and building a house in order to prove his love for his wife and son.
10 They Didn't Want Jack To Become An Outlaw, But He Still Does
John and Abigail both did everything they could to provide a stable future for Jack, but Edgar Ross wasn't about to let a child's upbringing get in the way of capturing a former outlaw. John wanted his son to grow up to be something other than a gunslinger, but Jack does eventually do this once the two of them are in the ground. He takes revenge on Ross and continues the cycle of violence his parents tried so hard to end.
9 John Was Scared About His Inability To Be A Good Father
John wasn't just unwilling to accept his role as a family man because he selfishly wanted to continue being a bachelor. That was a small part of it, but he was also extremely scared at the idea of having to raise a child. Most people who are becoming or have become parents probably feel a bit of fear mixed in with the excitement and anticipation. It's a natural emotion, but John's feeling is so strong that it causes him to reject his heir.
8 He Ran Away For A Whole Year
At the beginning of RDR2, Arthur is hard on John for several reasons, one of which being that he ran away from Dutch's gang for a year. To Arthur, this was a massive betrayal to people he considered family. He did this after Jack was born and done not out of a desire to leave the gang, but from his reluctance towards having a family. After returning, John still refused to take full responsibility for the boy, but at least he wasn't literally running away from it.
7 John Was Uncertain Jack Was His
Several times throughout the beginning of the game, John expressed doubts that Jack was his biological son. It is unknown if the two were exclusive by the time she got pregnant. If they were, then John's claims are incredibly cruel and hurtful towards his wife. If they were not quite a pair yet, then maybe he does have some reason for voicing his concerns. By the time RDR's epilogue rolls around, however, it's clear that Jack is John's true son.
6 Abigail Wanted A Family First
Since the start of RDR2, Abigail was intent on having a real family unit with Jack and John. She spends much of the early parts of the game trying to make John spend time with their son to little success. Only later does John turn over a new leaf and begin to take his role as a father seriously. John should be commended for this, but never forget that Abigail was working towards this from the very beginning, and never gave up on her efforts.
5 He Is Defensive Of Her
John Marston has a hair trigger temper, being all too quick to reach for a pistol in the name of resolving a conflict. After all, people can't fight back if they are riddled with bullets. This tendency towards violence extends to defending his wife's honor. Certain characters will insultingly bring up Abigail's past profession in an attempt to get a rise out of John, and it works. By the events of Red Dead Redemption, he has a cooler head on his shoulders.
4 When He Proposes, They Are Already Married
One of the sweetest moments in the game comes when John proposes to Abigail on a canoe. It's a desperately needed respite from the tragedies that occur throughout the journey. Observant gamers will note that the two were in fact already married when John asks for her hand in marriage. Their previous engagement was most likely rushed and less romantic, causing Marston to want something more elegant and traditional this time around, symbolizing a fresh start for the two of them.
3 His Dedication To His Family Leads To His Demise
The first Red Dead Redemption is all about John trying to get his family back from the conniving clutch's of Edgar Ross. He does what is asked of him, only to be betrayed and gunned down shortly after reuniting with his wife and son. If he was a more selfish man, he could have easily gone on the run after his family was taken away. He does what needs to do to protect his loved ones, and this ultimately leads to his tragic end.
2 His Quest For Revenge Dooms Him, But Also Frees Him From Debt
RDR2's final mission sees the legendary protagonist quench his thirst for revenge, much to Abigail's dismay. The credits imply that this act leaves a trial for Ross to follow and find Marston once again. Had he not gone out for revenge, he may have been able to live out the rest of his days quietly. Then again, he also would never have found the large cache of gold and paid off the mounting piles of debt he had accumulated while setting up his new life.
1 Arthur Morgan Thought About Marrying Abigail
Arthur Morgan briefly mentions in a journal entry that he once thought about marrying Abigail. It's never implied that the two even dated, but he probably saw some inherent goodness within her. It was not meant to be, but it was probably this notion that made Morgan hate John for leaving in the past and caused him to try and give the two of them a new opportunity for life by the end of his story. If Arthur had wed Abigail instead of John, perhaps he'd still be alive.
What do you think of John and Abigail's Relationship? Let us know in the comments!