How does the Wanted and Bounty system work in Red Dead Redemption 2?

Find out how the Wanted and Bounty system work in Red Dead Redemption 2.

If you’ve ever played any previous Rockstar games in the past, then chances are you’re already familiar with their Wanted system. While Red Dead Redemption 2 does share some similarities, there are a few differences that you'll need to know about before you start waving your revolver around. This guide will break down the Wanted system and go over how the Bounty system impacts it.  

How does the Wanted system work?

© Rockstar Games
© Rockstar Games

While the Wild West may lack the current criminal deterrents we have in the 21st century, there are still plenty of civilians who will be happy to report you to the local authorities. When you commit crimes in Red Dead Redemption 2, surrounding witnesses will attempt to report your misdoings. You’ll be notified of this by a Wanted level appearing on the top right corner of your heads-up display (HUD). Local law enforcement will then begin to search for you and a red area will be assigned to your map. However, there are a few ways you can get rid of your Wanted level.

The easiest way to decrease it is by simply leaving the area and lying low until things cool down. Changing your look or wearing a mask during heists will also help throw off any nosey sheriffs. Of course, you could always silence any witnesses before they even have the chance to report your crimes. Try to chase them down and intimidate them into keeping their mouths shut, or make their silence more of a permanent ordeal.  

How does the Bounty system work?

If you get caught committing a crime, you'll end up with a Bounty on you. The more grievous crimes you commit, the more money that sits atop your head. When you enter an area with a Bounty, you’ll get a message that will pop up on-screen to alert you that someone in the area is hunting you. Bounty hunters are represented by red dots on your map, so you can either avoid them altogether or choose to kill them. Killing Bounty hunters will only increase the price on your head, but if you wish to be the most feared outlaw in the Wild West, then you’ll likely enjoy watching this number gradually increase.

However, if the fear of constantly needing to look over your shoulder is starting to get the better of you, then you can pay off the Bounty yourself. To do this, head over to any Post Office (same place as the Stagecoach) and cough up the bill. It’s often best to get rid of any minor bounties before they become really expensive. Thankfully, our Red Dead Redemption 2 money making guide will allow you to pay off even the heftiest of bounties, so be sure to check it out if you want to get rich quick.


James is a journalist who has written for the likes of PC Gamer, Games Radar, Kotaku, LoL Esports, and many more. If you’d like to get in touch with James you can contact him via email at or by following him on Twitter

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