Rest in peace, golden wonder.
Red Dead Redemption’s wildlife is a right bastard sometimes. Really, right bastards. Literally just as I got to the spot where I was about to trigger the storming of Fort Mercer, a wild cougar attacks and kills my horse.
I was given my ‘golden wonder’ by Bonnie McFarlene as a thank you for helping her get new horses for the ranch and breaking them in early on in the game. I remember my golden wonder nearly managing to slip the net and trying to escape before I caught up with it and broke it in.
Since then, I rode it to every mission point. To see Bonnie, West Dickens, Seth, Irish and the Marshal and every bit inbetween as I explored New Austin. It even raced for me in my last mission for West Dickens before it and I went to Mercer to face Williamson, not knowing it would be where that bastard cougar would do what it did. What a horse. Travelling Mexico without it (more on that later) will feel very different. After all, I felt a bond, if albeit faint, coming together with me and my horse. That bond’s now no more.
I might be wrong, but I got the feeling the horse was female. For some reason, since it died, I’ve been thinking of what it would like to have been named. I think Alannah was a good name for it. I have no idea why or why I would even think of giving a virtual horse a name, but it seemed like a right fit.
After the storming of Fort Mercer and set to head to Mexico with Irish, I whistle for my horse. I half-expected my horse-who-would-be-named-Alannah to come back at my whistle in the same way Baxter somehow survived being punted over a San Diego bridge by Jack Black in Anchorman to come back and save Ron in the end. It didn’t. Instead, I got a different horse. Instead of my horse, which had that lovely golden coat, I got a typical, run of the mill horse you’d find throughout the game. I felt nothing when I saddled up and went to meet Irish. It didn’t impress me.
As it turned out, my first impressions of being not impressed with it came to pass. As I departed Fort Mercer and was riding to see Irish to head into Mexico, it fell off a cliff and threw me off it to my death. Useless thing.
As Marston was being flipped off that horse to his inevitable death, I as the player couldn’t help but want to have the horse who was pretty much a companion throughout a good chunk of my New Austin adventures back by my side. As for that horse that wasn’t fit to lick the shine off Alannah’s horse shoes, all I’ll say for that ‘thing’ is good riddance to it.
So, golden wonder. You’ll be missed. At least you’re at peace now. Godspeed, you marvelous wonder you. And as for that cougar that killed it, I’ll be back to get it.
Some day I will, anyway.