Red Dead Redemption 2 is built around a story of rebuilding your family. In this case, you’re earning enough money and supplies to manage and grow your campsite, as well as purchase new items and weapons. To put it simply, you need cash to get by in the deadly wild wild west.
With the world of Red Dead 2 being so vast, it can be tough to know how to effectively gather funds. Especially early on, when you’re just starting to crack open what missions, locations, and supplies are available to you. To help speed up that process, and make sure you get your encampment in top shape, here are the best ways to make money in RDR2.
13 Best Ways to Make Money in Read Dead Redemption 2
Here’s how to make money fast in RDR2.
1. Complete Story Missions and Side Quests
While straightforward, one of the best ways to make money in RDR2 is simply playing through the story. If you’re able to mainline through the first act, you can earn enough to unlock initial encampment upgrades and open up a range of side quests. Side quests can be especially lucrative depending on what they entail or they’ll at least help you earn some valuable supplies or items.
Just keep in mind that not every story mission guarantees a massive payout. Some are simply narrative elements designed to build up Arthur’s journey. Others, like homestead robberies, are meant to line your pockets. Additionally, as you progress the payouts continue to grow and you unlock higher tier side quests like Legendary animal hunts.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to barrel through the story to make a lot of money. Just keep your quests in mind as a regular source of income as you progress.
2. Rob Bandit Camps
One thing worth keeping an eye out for as you explore the frontier is rising plooms of smoke. Head towards it and there’s a good chance that you’ll run right into a bandit camp. You will have to take out the enemies located there first, but that can just add to the loot pool and even help you complete bounties.
Try to come in quietly and take out a few bandits in isolated locations first. Then you can start working your way inward and finish off the rest in a gunfight. Once they’ve all been laid to rest, it’s time to start looting. Depending on the type of camp you can expect to loot chests, horse satchels, inside buildings, tents, and of course the bandits themselves. Sometimes they may even have a special item or details about treasure nearby, making these encounters well worth the effort.
3. Rob Banks and Trains
Through a few story missions, you’ll naturally attempt a bank and train robbery. That doesn’t mean you have to stop at just one each, though. These are some of the most lucrative methods for earning money in RDR2, but they also require far more coordination to pull off.
To steal from a train, you first need to get on one. You can do this by entering a car at the station or jumping from your horse. Then just pull your mask up, draw your gun and start walking down the aisles to intimidate passengers and loot anything else that’s available.
Robbing banks is a bit riskier and takes more time. Once you enter the bank, you then have to intimidate and force the teller to open the vault. Then, you have to either unlock the safes inside or blow them up with dynamite.
In both cases, you need to have an escape route planned and be prepared to get into a fight. No matter how effectively you pull off the heist, the law will catch up and you’ll have to handle it.
4. Track Down Hidden Businesses
Everyone has a side hustle, even in RDR2. These hidden illegal businesses are typically located within actual storefronts, meaning that your favorite barber or bathhouse owner is a bit dirtier than expected. To find these, you may need to speak to NPCs or simply open up new areas and explore question marks on the map.
To gain entry, you’ll need to intimidate the store owner similar to how you rob banks. They will then open up a secret door that leads to a lot of cash and loot, along with a few gang members. Run in guns blazing, grab everything, and get out as quickly as possible to avoid gaining a massive bounty.
5. Sell to Fences
Not everything you sell is strictly legal. Meaning that you’ll need to track down a fence to unload some hotter cargo. These NPCs are also typically hunting and animal goods salesmen, which means you can likely offload some pelts while you’re at it.
To start, you can sell them any trinkets that you come across including pocket watches, gold bars, earrings, and consumable items. As the game progresses, you’ll unlock the opportunity to offload stolen carriages at their stable as well. You can rob carriages by jumping onto them and taking control on the road, grabbing them from a homestead or town, and sometimes just find them abandoned in the wilderness.
Stealing carriages is one of the safer illegal methods for making cash, especially if you do it at night and avoid detection. Aside from that, just be sure to continue offloading items as you acquire them for a steady influx of cash.
6. Wrangle and Sell Horses
There are actually two methods for selling horses, one that’s legal and the other being less so. To do things above the table, you can simply go out into the wilderness and attempt to wrangle wild horses.
This typically requires you to herd a group of them in order to lasso one and tame it. Once lassoed, walk up and calm the horse, mount it, and keep spinning the left stick to avoid being bucked off. This may be difficult at first, but over time you’ll gain skills and equipment that make it easier and you’ll just become more accustomed to the system.
On the other hand, you can also just steal horses to sell. Similar to hijacking a carriage, you can find horses just about anywhere, whether it be a stable, ranch, in town, or as part of a wagon train. You can even steal bandit horses once you’ve wiped out an encampment.
Once you have your stolen or tamed horse, head to a stable on your map, labeled with a horseshoe. Just keep in mind that stolen horses net you less than a legitimately tamed horse, so there may be some benefit to putting in an honest day’s work.
The riskiest among the best ways to make money in RDR2? Gambling, of course!
You’re introduced to gambling early on in the game, and these mini-games persist throughout your journey. These are relatively toned-down but realistic interpretations that include Five Finger Fillet, Dominoes, Blackjack, and Poker. Unfortunately, this isn’t a necessarily quick or lucrative method unless you can find a high table.
Even then, it’s really up to how much money you’re willing to put in, how good you are at playing, and a lot of luck. If you enjoy these smaller gambling games, then post up at a saloon or in camp and play a few hands. Otherwise, your time may be better spent elsewhere.
8. Take on Bounty Hunting
While you may not always be the most honest person in RDR2, there are far worse out there. Might as well track them down and make some money right? As you find new towns and settlements, be sure to head on over to the sheriff’s office to check out the bounty posters available.
Once collected, these will activate additional missions that showcase a huge marker of the target’s last known location. The bounty typically includes some additional details to help you narrow down your search, but then it’s really up to you to find them. Depending on the bounty, you can either bring them in dead or alive, with the latter being more profitable. Just ride up, lasso them and stow them on the back of your horse to bring them back to a holding cell.
9. Loot Bodies
We mentioned this before while discussing the best ways to make money in RDR2, but we must reiterate — make sure you loot any bodies that you come across. After taking out enemies and even when you come across dead or unconscious NPCs. While you can’t guarantee a massive payout, you will come across small bits of cash, trinkets, and sometimes maps or mission items.
Just be sure that if you loot a civilian, no one is around to witness it. Even if you didn’t kill them, it can lead to a negative reputation that puts a bounty on your head.
10. Sell Pelts and Fish
We had mentioned how some animal and hunting vendors can be sold trinkets. You can also make a tidy sum by selling them what they sell — pelts and fish. If you enjoy hunting or fishing, might as well spend a bit of time tracking down a few or at least take down some deer while you travel.
Now, the key here is to make sure you cleanly kill any animals. Using arrows, for example, doesn’t damage the pelt, making it far more valuable. Additionally, you’ll come across Legendary or just generally rare animals that will be worth more. For additional details, check out your animal compendium.
11. Complete Treasure Hunts
Treasure maps can help you locate and track down elusive caches easily worth $1,000. The Jack Hall gang treasure map, for example, can be purchased from Maximo at Flatneck Station for just $10. This leads you to find two gold bars that you can then sell for $500 apiece, and that’s just one treasure map.
Some of these maps can be purchased, others can be coerced from the NPC or simply taken. If you’re willing to spend some time tracking, this can be an excellent option when learning how to make money in RDR2.
12. Rob Homesteads and Collect Debts
Similar to bounties, you can take part in side missions from your camp that have you either rob homesteads or collect debts. These will emerge as you progress through the story or grow your camp, so be sure to keep making progress to unlock more. Just know that debt collection specifically only adds to your camp pot. This is still a valuable thing to do but doesn’t lead to petty cash that you can immediately spend.
13. Helping People
In RDR2 you have the option to play either good or bad. While being a notorious outlaw may be more fun, it doesn’t always pay as well. Being the good guy can lead to better rates from shops, lesser bounties on your head, and potentially long-term rewards. Being nice to NPCs and townsfolk can lead to random gifts or mission chains later on that you otherwise wouldn’t see. While not a guaranteed method for earning cash, it can still be one of the best ways to make money in RDR2. At the very least, it’s worth keeping in mind as you play that being on the right side of the law has its perks.
Become a High Grounder
We hope this guide on the best ways to make money in RDR2 and are well on your way to becoming a legendary outlaw. Be sure to let your posse know the best ways to earn money in RDR2 by sharing this article on your favorite social channels, and sign up for our newsletter for more on Red Dead and other Rockstar games.