Just a brief preamble: I am back to playing Red Dead Redemption and the manuscript “Manifest Destiny 2.0” will be complete by the end of August. I’ve been working on the manuscript for about 18 months and it’s in good shape.
I have been documenting my game play in notebooks and on DVDs but I think I’d like to work through my ideas in a more public forum. This way, I can add images, video and so forth.
Okay, so what’s this “The Truth Shall Set You Free”
garbage, I mean, stuff? Well, it’s part of the final volume of John Marston’s saga. He rides with his nemesis, Edgar Ross, who is the head of the early version of the FBI known as the Bureau of Investigation.
They are in “Tall Trees,” which is one of two regions that comprise West Elizabeth, the smallest of the three states of the game.
Ross sees people in terms of his worldview, which is to say the he defines before he really sees people. He applies a set of signifiers that allow him to categorize people as per his narrow worldview, in which he and his kind sit at the apex of the world. So, to Ross, John is simply an outlaw, who can be manipulated to get rid of other outlaws. Ross has no interest in John’s background or the ethical stance the gang originally took, which was to protect small farmers and other folk from corporate marauders. In John’s words, they took from the rich and gave to the poor. This tale of “cowboy robin hoods” makes Ross laugh. He has a singular mission and he is going to fulfill it, come what may. He serves the ideological interests of the nation as defined by the east, which are represented as civilization with all its trappings.
Ross wants the last member of the gang who has, in John’s words, tried to build a “savage paradise.” Dutch van der Linde has gathered members of many tribes to join his cause, which is, quite frankly, unclear. However, I do see a strong parallel between these “Indians” and the rustlers from New Austin. Both are entirely expendable and late Dr. Louis Owens notes in his excellent article “White for a Hundred Years” that in the modern version of the western, both labourers and Indians must remember their place as “lesser” beings in the U.S. social order. This paradigm is clear in Red Dead, except the “Indians” have almost no voice at all in the game and MASSES of them are killed. In fact, similar numbers of Mexicans are also cleared in the Nuevo Paraiso sections of the game.
I am currently on the last “boss,” which is van der Linde and he is proving a difficult customer to beat, but at each “boss” or level in this particular chapter, I, as John, have been slaughtering a huge number of “Indian” enemies. This is disconcerting to say the least. This is what I mean by the game requiring the player to meet the needs of the western genre. The “Indians” are not where they should be, according to the time period of the game, which is on reservations. Therefore, they must be removed.
Well, back to van der Linde…..