In the most classical Cowboys and Indians-kind of ways, the American frontier has been used as the canvas for literature and film since each has had breadth to embrace the era and its infinitely contested lands. But the dust-mottled landscape of violence, thieves, and legends that remain ever so familiar in other media has been implemented surprisingly little in the gaming medium. So when Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar's spur-saddled, 2010 magnum opus hit, it immediately impressed both the gaming press and consumers alike, garnering unanimous high praise and quickly becoming as viable in sales as Rockstar's flagship Grand Theft Auto series. RDR took the industry by storm with a well written, expertly paced, and massively open world. With such a high bar set by the first installment, how can a sequel possibly meet fans' expectations, let alone exceed them? Like the first game so cleverly ingested much of what has been utilized before, much can be gleaned from investigating the genre's storied past in celluloid, on page, and in real life.