Like Grand Theft Auto V—and previous games made by Rockstar—the Red Dead Redemption 2 Wanted system is something that players will want to become familiar with early on. As a member of the Van der Linde gang, you’re going to be committing crimes, which means you’ll acquire a Wanted Level in Red Dead Redemption 2, as well as possibly end up with a Bounty on your head. To help you get used to the system, we’ll dive into it in detail below, as well as discuss how the Wanted Level system and the Bounty system in Red Dead Redemption 2 work together.

Wanted Levels and How They Work

The first thing that we’ll cover here are Wanted Levels. If you’ve played any previous Rockstar Game, then you’re probably at least a little familiar with how Wanted Levels work already. While it isn’t exactly the same as it was in Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2’s system is still based on the same basic principles. If you commit a crime, nearby citizens will report you to the local justice system, thus earning you a Wanted Level.

Like GTAV, players can see this Wanted Level via a bar on their HUD (heads-up display). As you escape the forces of justice, or just remain hidden from them, this bar will slowly begin to fade. Once it changes from Red (meaning you’re Wanted) to grey (meaning you’re no longer Wanted), then your Wanted Level has returned to normal. Another easy way to check for a Wanted Level is to open up the map and look for any red marks on your amp. These will indicate the areas that you’re Wanted in currently, which can be useful if you need to avoid getting into trouble with the law on your travels.

Thankfully you do have some options at your disposal for keeping the locals from reporting your crimes. If someone sees you commit a grievous action, chase them down and deal with them before they can report the crime. You can either intimidate them into submission, or just outright take care of them another way. Just remember that every new crime is a chance for a new witness.

If you fail to stop any locals from reporting your crimes, then you’ll be given a Wanted Level and the map will be marked with a red area indicating that you are Wanted there. At this point, lay low until the Wanted Level vanishes. If you need to remain in an area, then we suggest wearing a mask when you first commit the crime. Then you can easily change clothes, possibly trim your facial hair, and go back to blending in with the local scumbags.

How the Bounty System Works

On top of your normal Wanted Level, players will also need to worry about racking up bounties as they run amuck in the wild, untamed world of Red Dead Redemption 2. The lawless must always answer for their crimes, and if you commit more grievous and serious crimes—and you are identified doing so—then you’ll find yourself on the Bounty roster of the local bounty hunters in the area.

Now, bounties can range from anything as low as $5 and up. There’s no real indication of how high you can go with a bounty, so keep that in mind if you plan on going around committing crimes and not bothering to hide who you are.

Once you have a bounty on your head, there are a couple of options to really take care of that bounty and clear your good name. First, you’ll know you have a bounty thanks to a handy on-screen message stating that fact. When this happens, be very careful how you proceed. That message means that a bounty hunter is in the area looking for you. You can see bounty hunters in your area via red dots on your map, so keep an eye out for them when you have a bounty on your head.

The only real way to get rid of a bounty is to pay it off. This isn’t really needed unless you want to return to the area that you picked up the bounty from, but it’s still an option nonetheless. If you want to pay off a bounty, then make your way to the nearest Post Office and pay it off. Once it’s cleared, you’ll be free to return to the area you picked it up without any issues.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the bounty and Wanted systems. Keep in mind that killing the bounty hunters after you is definitely an applicable way to handle the bounty. However, this will only raise the bounty on your head, so we’d suggest avoiding that as much as possible—unless you just don’t care.

You can return to our Red Dead Redemption guide for more helpful information and articles to help you as you explore the wild west in Rockstar’s latest adventure.