5 California locations that inspired the spaces of Red Dead Redemption

The Golden State is an underappreciated star of Rockstar's sprawling open-world westerns.

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The world of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption games is an easy one to get lost in. Sure, there are all sorts of folks to rob and bounties to collect, but one of the most persistent lures of the franchise is simply exploring the beauty of nature.

The terrain of West Elizabeth in Red Dead and its sequel is partly inspired by the Lake Tahoe and High Sierra regions. Ambarino also pulls from the scenery of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Here are five examples of Cali locales in Red Dead.

5. Mount Shann

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Mount Shann is based on the real-life Mount Shasta. The Siskiyou Trail at its base was a trade route for indigenous peoples moving between the Pacific Northwest and the Central Valley, and was connected to the transcontinental railroad in 1887.

4. Big Valley

Big Valley draws inspiration from Yosemite Valley, right down to the distinctive purple wildflowers. The 7.5-mile valley is surrounded by granite mountains, which largely prevented European settlement of the area until the 1849 Gold Rush.

3. Donner Falls

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Donner Falls in Red Dead 2 derives its name from several locations in the Tahoe region.

The Donner Party crossed the Sierras in winter 1846-7, becoming trapped for months. The pioneers resorted to cannibalism, and only 45 of 81 survived the journey.

2. Strawberry

Like its Red Dead 2 counterpart, Strawberry was a resort town along the Pony Express stagecoach route, which became Highway 50. Just south of Lake Tahoe, Strawberry's Lover's Leap peak has long been a popular draw for hikers and climbers.

1. Tall Trees
Rockstar Games

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The Tall Trees region of Red Dead Redemption and its sequel are inspired by the redwood forests of Northern California. Also known as sequoia, these majestic trees can live for up to 1,800 years and reach heights of more than 370 feet.

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