Red Dead Redemption 2: How to Solve the American Dreams Murder Mystery Side Mission

There’s a whole bunch of optional side missions you can stumble across while playing Red Dead Redemption 2. Most of these missions don’t even require any initial player input, they’re just out in the world to discover. One such mission is a bit more grisly than the others, but it’s worth doing for fans of murder mysteries.

Red Dead Redemption 2's American Dreams side mission involves some gruesome crime scenes.

How to Complete the American Dreams Mission in Red Dead Redemption 2

The specific mission in question is known as the American Dreams mission. The mission doesn’t begin in earnest until you stumble across one of three crime scenes out in the world. Fortunately, one of the crime scenes is a stone’s throw from the town of Valentine.

Crime Scene 1

Chances are you’ve already found this crime scene during your trips between Horseshoe Overlook and Valentine. If not, you’ll find it underneath one of the overpasses for the train tracks heading south out of Valentine. If you’re on the road, keep an eye out for blood stains and dismembered body parts.

The crime scene itself is quite ghastly, seems someone disemboweled a poor fellow and then strung him up. If you’re facing the uphill direction of the scene, look to the left and you’ll find the victim’s head staked to a post. Sticking out of the head’s mouth is a piece of a cryptic map. Acquiring the map piece officially begins the mission.

Crime Scene 2

The second crime scene is located in the Scarlett Meadows region, just south of Rhodes. Look for the Shady Belle landmark then head west. Using the “Scarlett Meadows” map text as a reference, you should find a large tree near the “S” in “Meadows.” The second victim is strung up on that tree. Around the back from where the body is strung up you’ll find another head and map piece.

Crime Scene 3

You’ll have to head over to the West Elizabeth region to find the third and final crime scene. Specifically, head to Wallace Station and then go a little ways southwest. You should eventually find a large rock with the third victim strung up like the others. There’s a smaller rock nearby with the third head and final map piece.

Locating the Killer

The assembled map points you towards a bridge and a cabin along with what appears to be a safe combination. To find the cabin, head west out of Valentine and look for a landmark labeled as Lucky’s Cabin. You’ll know you’ve found the place when a white Stranger Mission icon appears around the cabin.

Open the basement doors to discover the killer’s hideout. When you inspect the knife at the back of the room, you’ll trigger a cutscene and a confrontation. Successfully follow the prompts and you’ll apprehend and hogtie the killer. Take him into Valentine and deliver him to the sheriff like you would any other bounty. However, be on your guard since the killer will have one final surprise. He’ll slip his bonds and attack the sheriff, forcing you into a Deadeye sequence where you have to shoot him. Successfully save the sheriff and you’ll complete the mission (and be rewarded for your efforts).

For some less grisly crime-solving, you can pursue more traditional bounty hunting targets. We’ve got guides for two such targets; Benedict Allbright and Ellie Anne Swan.