The Red Dead series definitely captures the core of the Old West, but that can be a dangerous proposition. The lawless freedom comes with plenty of folks who want to take everything they can. This, in turn, leads to rough living by those wishing to stake their own little claim of the vast frontier. These patterns are plain to see in the games.

Red Dead Redemption and its adjacent entries contain several cities which are hazardous to one’s health. The reasons vary. The problems can be natural, man-made, or both. Whatever the cause, they can all result in a quick death for residents. No one but the most desperate settlers should tread anywhere near these cities.


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7 Escalera

Dictatorship and civil war make it dangerous for any passerby.

Escalera in Red Dead Redemption

In the first Red Dead Redemption, Mexico is actually more dangerous than the American West. That’s mainly due to the civil war raging throughout. Perhaps no place feels that war’s effects more strongly than Escalera. This fortified city essentially serves as the capital, so it ought to be safe from outside conflict.

Sadly, it’s under the thumb of a ruthless dictator, Colonel Allende. He lives lavishly in his mansion while the common folk beg for scraps on the ground level. His soldiers regularly oppress his subjects, but he cares about nothing except his own pleasure. This dystopia is practically asking for a revolution and a violent one at that. Suffice it to say, innocents shouldn’t be anywhere near the town when the fighting starts.

6 Blackwater

A Pinkerton presence shows the dark side of progress.

Blackwater and the Pinkertons in Red Dead Redemption

At first glance, Blackwater looks appealing. It’s the center of rapid advancement, boasting cobblestone paths, refurbished buildings, and regular shipments of goods. The downside is that this advancement is slowly killing the open, free feeling of the Old West. Because of that, the town has an eerily cold atmosphere. That’s just the beginning of its problems, though.


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Much like Escalera, Blackwater is the hub of an oppressive power: the Pinkertons. These government agents take immense pleasure in stamping out disorder and lawlessness. They sometimes sell their services to the highest bidder while still wielding their governmental authority. That unchecked power makes it dangerous to be anywhere near them, as they usually go after the most notorious gang members. The ensuing conflict inevitably ends in bloodshed. In the aftermath is a sterile place devoid of freedom or spontaneity. It’s hard to know which is worse.

5 Saint Denis

No cowboy want to tangle with the mafia.

Saint Denis in Red Dead Redemption 2

Plenty of towns suffer from outlaw gangs, but Saint Denis has a unique problem. The city is a breeding ground for organized crime, namely Angelo Bronte and the local mafia. These guys have the highest officials in their pockets, meaning they can whack any poor sap who looks at them wrong. Even if that doesn’t happen, though, living here is just as lethal.

Saint Denis is filthy. That’s probably because of the rampant industrial complex. Trash litters the street; the air is so thick with smog that players can’t see two feet in front of them. Hygiene is a thing of the past, particularly given how congested the town is. The people pack together on every path, making it easy for germs to spread. These factors mean that people sign their death warrant by just walking down the street.

4 Lagras

These trashy huts are one step away from swampy wilderness.

Lagras in Red Dead Redemption 2

This dump takes the filth of Saint Denis and applies it to a rural setting. Lagras is a small swamp settlement where cleanliness is a pipe dream. The handful of buildings are dilapidated and covered in refuse. The location makes it hard to travel along the damp roads, let alone contact other towns. Unfortunately, it’s perfectly accessible for local wildlife.

Due to the backwater setting, Lagras’s denizens are prime targets for predators. Chief among the threats are alligators. These aquatic reptiles instantly shoot out of the water and ambush their prey. It stands to reason that resident humans are on the menu. That’s even more likely with the giant albino gator. This beast can swallow a grown man in one bite. When these predators are on the prowl, it’s not safe to even step out of the house.

3 Colter

This town is only for those looking to freeze to death.

Colter in Red Dead Redemption 2

This settlement is largely abandoned, and it’s easy to see why. Colter is nestled deep in the mountains. That means the predominant weather consists of snowstorms. It’s difficult to find food or even stay warm in such extremities, as the entire village is buried in snow. This leads to another issue.


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The remote location and inhospitable conditions mean Colter is an easy picking for gangs. They can pillage the place while going unnoticed by outside forces. It would take forever for law enforcement or other forms of aid to get there in time. That’s if they know about it at all. Players see that when the O’Driscoll thugs slaughter Sadie Adler’s husband. Colter is among the coldest corners of the world in more ways than one.

2 Armadillo

Plague, drought, and marauders mean Armadillo is never safe.

Armadillo in Red Dead Redemption 2

At the other end of the spectrum is Armadillo. This town lies in the middle of the desert. The barren landscape makes it tough for anyone to eke out an existence. That’s especially the case with roving gangs riding into town and overwhelming the understaffed sheriff. The surrounding quarries and caves are convenient hideouts for these crooks, but that’s not the only way the environment works against Armadillo.

The dry, dusty climate and poor living conditions are a health inspector’s nightmare. It’s no surprise that they lead to a devastating plague. The resulting epidemic reduces the population to a handful. Afterward, the survivors have no choice but to scrape by. Is that really any kind of living?

1 Brimstone

This Old West town abandons all pretense of law and order, welcoming killers of every stripe.

Brimstone in Red Dead Revolver

The main hub of Red Dead Revolver, Brimstone obviously sees the most action of any city. A shootout can break out at any point. This initial outing emphasizes the chaos of spaghetti westerns, so the characters are more trigger-happy than in later entries. Worse, there’s not much law and order to counteract the violence. In fact, the town practically encourages bloodshed.

Brimstone hosts an annual shooting competition. The best gunslingers from all around gather here to strut their stuff. The duels are all to the death. The less honorable contestants may bring entire armies to back them up. It’s not long before tempers flare and bullets fly. When the dust settles, the buildings look like Swiss cheese. Mangled bodies also litter the streets. How anyone is alive to occupy this place is a mystery.

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