Money is difficult to come by in Red Dead Redemption 1 as one would expect in the Old West. Even still, there are a number of activities that can be performed in order to build up your net worth in the game. This RDR1 guide will walk you through every known method to farm money efficiently.
A mainstay of the series, hunting and skinning animals for their pelt and other parts, in order to sell for a profit, is a great income stream. This is, in fact, the most lucrative activity for earning money, rivaling even Gambling. There are some precautions to take of course, since the most valuable targets are also highly dangerous predators like cougars, grizzlies, and wolves, which often travel in pairs and packs, and are not going to wait idly by as you attempt to slaughter them. Payouts can be in the four digits for good runs. Wearing certain outfits can double the loot drops, and the corresponding payout.
Pursuing and capturing targets for bounty earns you cash as well as honor. Although there is a payout regardless of whether the criminal is brought back dead or alive, the incentive to lasso and retrieve them alive is that the bounty is double than it would be for a corpse. Bounties usually pay out in the multiple hundreds for a live prisoner.
The bounties you will hunt will often have several minions accompanying them or riding in as backup. After gunning them down, be sure to loot them all for single to double digit dollar returns. This is also broadly true for the many hundreds of enemies you will slaughter over the course of the game, though you may often be pressed for time with some encounters. You may also pick up other items of value as you rifle through the pockets of corpses.
Clearing Gang Hideouts
Another activity involving large numbers of foes to gun down and loot, gang hideouts are a repeatable source of income. There are also chests and safes at the end of the gauntlet, cached away deep inside the enemy lairs. These hold triple digit dollar amounts for a nice injection of cash to your coffers.
A set of finite challenges, treasure hunts offer a tidy sum upon completion, but are not repeatable. Honor levels will determine whether a bonus can be claimed at any given sale location. An added incentive to complete the challenges are the rewards of being able to travel on the stagecoach for free, and doubling the number of consumables that can be carried.
Armed robbery is a last resort in RDR1 since it can cost you honor as a consequence. Wearing the bandana can mitigate the loss of honor, but also negate effects to fame, if not taken off at the right time. The bandana will not prevent bounties being placed on you if the crime is reported. Robbery is accomplished by simply menacing an NPC with a weapon, barging into stores, storming bank vaults, or during the course of random events.
Complete Story Missions
While most missions have no monetary reward upon completion, some do, and it may be worthwhile to advance the main storyline if you need a quick infusion of cash. It can be easy to get so distracted by the open world and myriad side missions that you forget about the main missions entirely for hours together.
A somewhat boring task with a less than attractive payout value for the various types of plants, plant gathering is made even less viable by how scarce the plants themselves are. All plants have single digit value at merchants, regardless of location.
And that is every method for farming money in Red Dead Redemption 1.