As we explain during our how to make money fast in Red Dead Redemption 2 guide, you need to live the frugal life right at the start of the game. This means you probably won't be able to afford to buy many weapons from the gun store, but there is a way to get one for free. When Dutch wants you to contribute all of your earnings to the camp pot in Red Dead Redemption 2, every little helps. Here's how to get a free gun in Red Dead Redemption 2.
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Once you’ve completed the introduction and hit chapter 2, you’ll be let loose in the open world and pretty much left to your own devices. From here you can continue to pick up missions for your camp and the surrounding area, go hunting, do some chores, or pick a direction and ride off into the wilderness. However, what you’ll want to do is first make sure you have a health cure on you then, ride just out of camp to the road south of Caliban’s seat. Here, just by the river, you’ll find a stranger who’s been bitten by a snake (if you can’t find him right way listen out for the screams). Interact with him and give him the health cure to stop the poison killing him. Remember the game won’t wait for you so he will die if you don’t help him.
After being cured he’ll walk off and carry on with his business seemly giving you nothing, expect some honor points. However, allow a day or so to pass, enough time for him to get home, and head to Valentine. Here, sitting outside the gunsmith you’ll find you guy you helped earlier. He has a tab at the store and will allow you to choose a free weapon from the catalogue. Just head inside and choose what you want. Some of the weapons are locked to story progression but you should be able to get a nice new Rifle or Pistol which you can then customise anyway you like.
There are loads of these types of Chance Encounters in the game. Some will just be grateful of the help, others will give you a reward on the spot and some, like this guy will reward you later but at another locations. Basically it’s worth helping everyone you can in case they have something good… or just shoot them. Up to you.