Red Dead Redemption (RDR2)

Abigail Roberts did not sleep with the gang

Despite common misconception, Abigail did not join the gang as a prostitute. Not only did this almost never occur within real-life gangs of the time (the men sharing the women) but there are several in-game based facts to back this up.

First things first, she was a prostitute when Uncle found her and brought her into the gang, that doesn’t necessarily mean she continued to be one within the gang. She was underage and the gang was different back then – more noble, so to speak. Historically, prostitutes were often tricked or coerced into their professions. No woman wanted to become a working girl. Nor did they pride themselves in being one. It’s not a stretch to believe this to be the same for Abigail, whom joined the gang at 17, in 1894. Dutch and Hosea prided themselves on their Robin Hood-esque code of ethics, that they both instilled in Arthur and John. So, why would they rescue a young girl by bringing her into their gang and then, force her into the same treatment she was fleeing from? Also, she has never been the only woman in camp and so, if she was a gang-prostitute, why just her? Or why aren’t any of the other women treated the same way, even during their decline? Because it never happened and the gang is not that cruel.

Secondly, John obviously appears to have doubt about his parentage to Jack. But remember, his own mother was a prostitute when she died in labor and his father was a drunk and violent man. I highly doubt his dad instilled any sort of fond memories or words about his mother, whom he himself probably didn’t even know. John even says his relationship with his own father makes him worry about his relationship with Jack/fatherhood in general.

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Thirdly, the only “fact” we have of her supposedly sleeping with anyone else in the gang is what Dutch says in RDR1 and remarks Arthur can make when you antagonize her and Jack – which is exactly what it is, antagonizing and nothing more. He says Jack “looks like an Escuella, or maybe a Williamson” but Javier wasn’t in the gang until she was already pregnant. Javier didn’t even join the gang until the year Jack was born, in 1895. This omits him from being the boy’s father and thus, from ever sleeping with Abigail. In fact, that picture Pearson kept in his shop in the epilogue has baby Jack in Abigail’s arms but no Javier.

In that scene in RDR1, Dutch is holding a woman hostage during an intense altercation with John at the Bank of Blackwater, of course he would say something, anything, to try and get under his skin. John loves Abigail and anyone would understand why he might be upset about anyone talking about her past as a working girl.

Which brings me to a conversation you can have in the Epilogue. Uncle and Abigail are reminiscing and they talk about Abigail ensuring payment from a John by,,, unconventional but effective means, around “10 years ago” at that point, in 1907. I believe this to be more of an oversight, as there is LOTS of details in this game and it isn’t uncommon for games of this caliber to have some mistakes in dialogue. Although, this could add to the realism aspect of the game – with Uncle’s declining age and heavy drinking and lumbago, would anyone really hold it against him if he got some dates wrong? Dude has lived a long and tough life.

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Not only that but working girls were NEVER active-mothers. Ever. Not only was it was unsafe for the child but women of the profession were often “too old” at 24/25, so what makes anyone think she even could go back to work after the changes her body goes through during pregnancy and after birth? In the epilogue, 10 years ago is 1897, which would make Jack two years old.

Lastly, it’s known that Arthur is celibate due to his past. Although, he does write in his journal that he wishes he had married Abigail before she fell for John and he “damns” Mary but I believe this to be more in a sense that he wishes he could provide for her and Jack in the now, since John never showed any desire to do so until the events of the game. And after this journal entry, to boot. Perhaps he was interested in her when she was new to the gang but she, as he said, fell for John. And Mary still very clearly holds his heart during RDR2, low honor or high honor. Maybe they did share an intimate moment together, maybe not. But none of that means she slept with everyone, perhaps just John and Arthur. It’s known that kids don’t always look like their parents but… Jack does look a bit like a Morgan. Atleast he does to me so, I digress.

However, I do view Arthur’s anger and resentment towards John in the beginning as being related to the mistakes these two men have made, not about whatever woman they may or may not have both slept with. Arthur wasn’t that active in his own son’s life, and he was tragically killed along with his mother, all around the same age John is now. He doesn’t want his brother to repeat his mistakes.

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One of the many things I love about games is interpreting and digging into their meanings/lore and of course, everyone is welcome to their own understanding of the game. As a long time Red Dead fan, I’m immensely grateful for this game and the insights it gives us into John’s story, as well as Arthur’s. Abigail and Jack are a subtle but very important aspect to the events of RDR2 and it’s a shame to see everyone simplify her to just being a prostitute that managed to “trap” John. So much so that it’s viewed as a fact.

I thank y’all for reading and like I said, everyone is open to their own interpretations! And I welcome any other discussions/thoughts 🙂

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