Red Dead Redemption recreates the American West at the turn of the 20th century: a violent and turbulent time of rapid growth and change. Players become the partially reformed outlaw John Marston; blackmailed by the government, his family threatened as he is forced to traverse the vast and unforgiving expanses of the Western frontier in search of members of his former gang. In a dangerous world full of opportunistic criminals, corrupt officials and settlers battling the elements in a struggle to survive, Marston's journey takes him from the dusty and lawless frontier to the civilized towns of the North, and down into a Mexico on the brink of a full-scale civil war.