How Cousin's Echo in Red Dead Redemption 2 mimics real history
Red Dead Redemption 2 pays homage to obscure North American history through its portrayal of the forgotten tale of Cousin's Echo, showcasing Rockstar...
Red Dead Redemption 2 pays homage to obscure North American history through its portrayal of the forgotten tale of Cousin's Echo, showcasing Rockstar's historical knowledge.
Cousin's Echo's cabin in the game holds a chilling secret - a large grizzly bear that attacks players upon entering. The cabin also contains clues to the real events that inspired the story, including a newspaper with messages written in blood.
Rockstar has included gifts in the cabin as a tribute to Phillip Vetter, the real-life market hunter who met his end at the hands of a grizzly bear. The scene showcases the game's commitment to portraying forgotten stories and history.
As the saying goes, art imitates life, and it is common for developers to incorporate reinterpreted versions of real events into their games. Franchises sometimes give such incidents a unique twist, as strict adherence to source material may not allow for optimal storytelling. However, the cultural significance of depicting an event outweighs absolute accuracy. AAA games like Assassin's Creed 3 have achieved great success with their portrayals of historical events, and Red Dead Redemption 2 has taken a more nuanced approach to achieve similar results. With multiple seemingly innocuous cutscenes and missions scattered throughout the map, not many players are aware of the background story behind some of the features in the Rockstar title, and Vetter's Echo cabin is one of those in-game locations with real history.
Red Dead Redemption 2 houses some of the most extensive background stories found in modern role-playing games, and even years after its release, players continue to discover secrets in every nook and cranny of the game. Since most side stories in the game lack official explanations, many theories have been proposed to unravel ambiguous plotlines, such as the famous mystery tree faces. On the other hand, some storylines are easily comprehensible and based on obscure North American history, allowing players to simultaneously learn and play. Rockstar's portrayal of Vetter's Echo's history in the late 19th century showcases the developer's historical knowledge and pays tribute to a largely forgotten piece of the past.
Vetter's Echo is a Rendition of a Real-Life Event
Jumpscares are a popular feature in horror games like Silent Hill, but the eerie heart-pounding action is also welcomed in games with a regular theme, and entering Vetter's Echo cabin without prior knowledge of what awaits inside is a major shock. The cabin is located in the Big Valley region of West Elizabeth, and players will notice that the back door of the building has been destroyed and torn off its hinges, although there are no clues in the surroundings as to what forces may be responsible for the destruction. The sight may make attentive players nervous, but during most initial playthroughs, players are blissfully unaware and unprepared for the lurking danger.
Once players enter the cabin, they are greeted by a terrifyingly large grizzly bear that does not appreciate their presence and launches into a wild attack, aiming to catch Arthur Morgan off guard. After successfully fending off the animal, a chaotic scene unfolds in the room with a toppled easel and a messy desk. On the edge of the bed lies a corpse face down, a regrettable victim of the bear attack, although no details about their identity can be found within the cabin. This corpse belongs to Phillip Henry Vetter, who met his demise at the hands of a grizzly bear in 1892 along the Greybull River in Wyoming.
As a professional market hunter, Vetter wrote a letter to a friend expressing his intention to hunt down a bear in the area. However, when the friend visited the cabin to seek shelter from an approaching storm, they found the door open and Vetter's lifeless body inside. Using blood, he had left messages on the edge of a newspaper, detailing the aftermath of his struggle with the grizzly bear. His rifle lay near the river with two spent cartridges, marking the location of the attack. Red Dead Redemption 2 depicted this in the form of a blood-stained tent containing a chest of rifle cartridges, predator bait, and the Special Miracle Tonic pamphlet.
Vetter's newspaper clippings were also depicted in Red Dead Redemption 2, as the scattered desk contained the poems "Dear Annabella" and "A Day's Walk." Deviating from the original material, Rockstar added gifts to the cabin: a pipe for Dutch, a pocket watch for Lenny, and cigarette cards for the Black Widow. The scene is a successful homage to Phillip Vetter, a name not widely known in American history, and Red Dead Redemption's dedication to forgotten stories is commendable.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.