I’ve completed the main story and epilogue for RDR2 months ago, and have been playing the “Endless Summer” nightly ever since (when I’m not online). I’ve spent a lot of time at the ranch with the Marston Family. What’s amazing to me is that, even now, I still catch little moments I haven’t seen yet. Just when I think I’ve seen them all, I see a new one.
This little scene took place today at Beecher’s Hope. Jack and Abigail sit in the living room. Abigail is sewing while Jack reads a book. I (John) walk in and join them.
JACK: (sudden) “Arthur!”
(Abigail looks surprised)
JACK: (remembering) “Arthur! He… he saved us!”
ABIGAIL: (cautious) “You remember that?”
JACK: “Somewhat. I was little.”
ABIGAIL: “Well, yes. Arthur did save us. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. But your father don’t like to talk about him. (Looks at me) Do you, John?”
JOHN: (pause) “No. The past is behind us now. No looking back.”
JACK: “Yes, sir.”
(Jack gets up and walks out. I follow him and *greet* him before he steps outside.)
JOHN: “You know, I did a little saving you myself.”
JACK: (unsure) “Thank you, sir.”
JOHN: (pointedly) “You’re my family, boy.”
(Jack leaves. I go back to the living room and *greet* Abigail, who is still sewing on the sofa)
JOHN: (irritated) “Why would you say that?”
ABIGAIL: (awkward) “It’s true, ain’t it?”
JOHN: (difficult) “Look… I can talk about him… it just hurts is all.”
I think the reason (at least the story reason) that John doesn’t talk about Arthur in RDR1 is because he misses him like a brother, but also because he’s kinda ashamed of the fact that Arthur saved his ass on more than one occasion, and ultimately saved his wife and son. Arthur gave them the money to flee and start over, which turned out to be money wasted because their new life prospecting in the Tundra failed. They had to return to America broke, taking odd jobs in Strawberry and then Pronghorn Ranch. Arthur’s last dying efforts (in my playthrough) were to save the Marstons, and among his last words were to “not look back.”
TL;DR – John doesn’t mention Arthur in RDR1 because 1) It hurts him to think of Arthur, 2) He’s ashamed that Arthur saved his family, 3) Arthur said to not look back.
EDIT: To all the people saying “Arthur wasn’t created until RDR2, that’s why,” you're missing the point. I clarified that this is the STORY reason, not the IRL reason.
Of course, the IRL reason is that Arthur wasn't created until RDR2. Everyone knows that. The point is, the writers didn’t lazily ignore the fact that John didn’t mention Arthur in RDR1. They addressed it through story and character in many subtle ways to discover, rather than a single throwaway line. It’s worth discussing. It’s part of what makes this such a good game, that famous attention to detail.
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