Red Dead Redemption begins with John Marston being set off on his quest to hunt down his former outlaw friends by two US Marshals. After a lengthy cinematic establishing the world Red Dead Redemption takes place in, Marston finds himself at the train station in Armadillo.
You are first given control of John on the train platform. A yellow dot on your mini-map indicates where the saloon is located in Armadillo. Walk straight through the station house, and to your left you’ll see the saloon. Merely walk up the steps to the yellow X, and a cutscene will commence introducing you to Jake, the man who will guide you to the outlaw hideout.
After the short scene, Jake will lead you to the horses outside. Mount your horse, and follow Jake across the dusty roads to Fort Mercer. Holding down the sprint button will allow you to match speed with Jake’s horse, but you still have to steer your mount to stay on the roads.
Once you arrive at Fort Mercer, another cutscene will play out, and Jake will leave you to face your foes alone. Ride up to the gate of the fort, and make your presence known.
Another cutscene plays out, and things don’t quite go as John planned. Fortunately, some kindly passersby pick him up, and bring him to MacFarlane’s Ranch.
John awakens sometime later in a strange new room. Here is where you meet Bonnis MacFarlane for the first time. Bonnie reveals she saved you, and now you’ve got to work off the debt of your $15 medical bill. After a few moments, you’re able to control John, and are directed to go meet with Bonnie. A blue dot pops up on your mini-map indicating where she is, and all you’ve got to do is follow the path to the big white house. Ease John up to the front porch, and begin helping Bonnie around the ranch.
Though you can technically take off to go do whatever you want, these early missions give you a lay of the land, as well as the game’s controls. It’s best to just follow along with these story missions until you get a good grasp of how Red Dead Redemption plays.
The first thing you’ll do with Bonnie is inspecting the ranch. Follow her over to the horses, and accompany her as she gives you a guided tour of her family property. After seeing most of the sights of MacFarlane Ranch, Bonnie leads you back to the hitching post. Tie your horse up, and follow Bonnie back to the house. She’ll invite you in for a drink, and some time will pass.
When the game picks back up again, it’s nighttime, and John has fallen asleep on a chair in Bonnie’s living room. She comes to wake you up to assist her in doing the night patrol. She’ll give you a Repeater Carbine to keep before heading back out to the horses to start patrol.
As you make your way around the house, Bonnie notices some rabbits getting into the crops. Dismount your horse, and take care of the rabbits with your new rifle. Once you’ve killed or scared them all off, mount back up, and continue your patrol with Bonnie.
It doesn’t take long until Bonnie notices coyotes have returned to the homestead. Chase the coyotes through the stables, picking them off from horseback with the rifle. You can use your Dead Eye to make targeting the quick coyotes a bit easier. As you take them out, Bonnie spots a few more coyotes by the chicken coops. Sight the coyotes, and take the remaining invaders out.
Once you’ve eliminated all the coyotes, Bonnie leads you back to your room. Hitch your horse to the post outside, and head inside to your bed. There’ll be plenty more chores to do come morning, so it’s best to get a bit of rest and save your game.