The Blackwater Massacre is an event mentioned in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2. A large-scale battle taking place in Blackwater in 1899, the Massacre was highly publicized. It is implied that the main cast of Red Dead Redemption 2 was directly involved and the Massacre is the catalyst for the manhunt forcing them to flee across three states.
Little is know about the circumstances of the incident, as these were not known to the public and the government has not released any official explanation. The high publicity of the event has resulted in many rumors surfacing and facts are scarce. The only things known for certain is that it began as a bank robbery that went bad and a large number of outlaws and lawmen were involved.
The exact order of events is unclear. Following a botched robbery, lawmen engaged the outlaws involved in the act and the ensuing firefight escalated, resulting in the death of 37 combatants - 22 outlaws and 15 Blackwater Police Department officers. The number of civilian casualties was low, though never specified. The exact number of combatants involved, and thus the number of survivors, is also unclear.
Among the casualties, one is believed to be Cole MacFarlane, brother to Bonnie MacFarlane, an associate of John Marston's. One confirmed survivor is Landon Ricketts, while a rumored survivor is Willie Oats.
As a direct result of the Blackwater Massacre, Landon Ricketts moved away from Blackwater and relocated to Chuparosa.
The Blackwater Massacre was unprecedented in many ways. An uncharacteristically high number of combatants were involved and it is unusual for such large gunfights to happen in well protected and developed cities like Blackwater. The surrounding confusion and subsequent government cover-up led to many rumors circulating about the massacre.
It is implied, but unconfirmed, that the Van der Linde Gang was responsible, and that the massacre is a direct catalyst of the events of Red Dead Redemption 2 by triggering a manhunt, forcing the gang to flee.