According to Joshua Graham, the tribe known as Dead Horses is composed of the descendants of refugees from Res, east of the Grand Canyon. He believes their language is a combination of their own and that of travelers who were visiting when the Great War occurred. By 2281, they are living at Dead Horse Point in Zion Canyon.
Much of their combat prowess and ability at that point comes from Graham, who taught them how to use firearms, basic tactics, and how to maintain their rare pre-War equipment. Graham visited them once, as a Legate of Caesar. The second visit came when Graham returned to New Canaan after near-execution and exile by Caesar. Joshua decided to help the Dead Horses again after New Canaan's destruction. Graham became their acting war chief, which proved especially advantageous in their conflict with the White Legs. He convinced a large group of them to migrate from Dead Horse Point to Zion Canyon to help the Sorrows.
With the exception of Follows-Chalk, the Dead Horses believe that pre-War areas are taboo and are marked with white handprints. The majority of the tribe have no desire to leave Zion Canyon for the outer wasteland as they feel they have a duty to protect their home. They hunt bighorners for food, marking themselves with tattoos to commemorate when they hunt and special occasions, like if a youth goes on his first hunt or should a hunter kill large prey, but are very mindful of the environment and the animals of Zion knowing not to over hunt any prey too much.
The Dead Horses use .45 Auto pistols as a standard firearm, though many are armed with supplementary war clubs which are decorated with .45 caliber shell casings in reverence of Joshua Graham. When the Courier reaches Zion Canyon, Joshua Graham is ready to lead the Dead Horses in the extermination of the White Legs, despite Daniel, who voices his concern for the fate as well as the relative innocence of the tribes.
Relations with the outside
The majority of the Dead Horse tribe has no desire to explore the rest of the wasteland, and they tend to stay away from the "taboo" pre-War buildings. Caesar's Legion came to Zion Canyon before the First Battle of Hoover Dam and attempted to court their tribe, under orders from Joshua Graham. They remained here until Joshua Graham returned from Hoover Dam and became the acting war chief of their tribe. While they are on good terms with the Sorrows tribe, they are currently at odds with the White Legs, who are trying to exterminate both the Sorrows and Dead Horses.
The Happy Trails Caravan Company has attempted to make contact with the Mormons at New Canaan by passing through Zion Canyon. The Dead Horses know little about the New Canaanites apart from the few missionaries they send out. At one point, the Lonesome Drifter arrived in Zion and told the Dead Horse tribe of the wasteland outside of Zion. Other than this, the Dead Horse tribe are fairly reclusive and tend to be wary of outsiders.
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||Having revered Joshua Graham as a living legend for so many years, the Dead Horses found it difficult to accept his death. New Canaanite missionaries sought to remain in contact with the tribe, but lacking Joshua's authority, their influence dwindled. Still, as an expression of enduring respect for their lost spiritual leader, the Dead Horses helped protect the lands where New Canaanites settled. As generations passed, the Dead Horses came to worship a spirit of the land, a harsh spirit of divine justice. They called it Joshua.||Kill Joshua Graham.|
|2||Having helped Daniel and the Sorrows escape from Zion, the Dead Horses returned to their home at Dead Horse Point. The tribe continued to learn from the New Canaanites, and over many years built a flourishing community along the banks of the Colorado. Though the tribes' bond would endure, it was Joshua Graham's legend the Dead Horses would revere, not the tenets of New Canaan's faith.||Help Daniel evacuate Zion.|
|3||Having helped eradicate the White Legs from Zion, the Dead Horses returned to Dead Horse Point in triumph. They remained neutral toward the Sorrows, but as years went on, there were periods of competitive friction, even violence, between the tribes. The New Canaanites - Daniel especially - intervened regularly as mediators, but found it difficult to reconcile the tribes' conflicts.||Help Joshua crush the White Legs.|
- When found roaming Zion Valley, the Dead Horses are not attacked by nor do they attack mutated creatures such as yao guai or green geckos.
- Even if the player character helps the Dead Horses eradicate the White Legs and works with Joshua Graham to complete Honest Hearts, the Dead Horses may be hostile upon the player character's return to Zion Canyon.
Behind the scenes
“[H]ow the DLC shipped was not how it was planned. The tribes in Zion are descendants of a mix of North American native people as well as other American citizens and European (of various non-native ethnicities) tourists/campers. This survives in the language of the Dead Horses, for example, who use a large number of German-derived words.
In the first design docs for HH, every tribe was supposed to have members from all of the F3/FNV ethnic groups. However, there was a complicating factor: body art. The various tattoos and body paints we needed to texture the bodies multiplied the number of required textures. They couldn’t simply be layered on (as they can in F4), but were entirely new body textures that dramatically increased the amount of texture memory being used. For that reason, each tribe wound up having only one body texture per sex. This compressed their ethnicities into homogenized blends, with Dead Horses being a darker tan, Sorrows a light tan, and White Legs (under the body paint) fairly pale.
As a minor point, Daniel was specifically supposed to be (and was, in data, for most of development) Asian. I don’t know when, how, or why he was switched to Caucasian, but that’s how he shipped. It’s frustrating, because those changes slot Joshua and Daniel as white guys among (mostly) brown folk when 1) they weren’t supposed to be white guys and 2) the tribes were specifically called out as ethnically and culturally mixed without any real-world analogues.Regarding the “natives as aesthetic” criticism, the patterns we used for the three tribes’ body art are not based on any current or historical native American body art (AFAIK). There are in-fiction explanations for each tribe’s specific choices. The White Legs initially colored themselves white to blend into the Great Salt Lake (where they are from) and they dread their hair out of reverence for Ulysses. The Sorrows use the river pattern to reflect their suffering and their connection to the Virgin River in Zion. The Dead Horses mark various accomplishments on their skin and decorate their clubs with .45 shells out of their respect for Joshua Graham.”— Joshua Sawyer, on Frog Helms Fan Club
- Question: "Trate de preguntar en español? OK. ¿Qué idioma es el idioma de los Dead Horses basada en? La idioma de los Sorrows se basada en español, por supuesto. Pero no puedo entender qué idioma de los Dead Horses se basada en." (English translation: "Can I try to ask in Spanish? OK. What language is the language of the Dead Horses based on? The Sorrows' language is based on Spanish, of course. But I can't understand what language the Dead Horses is based on."
Joshua Sawyer: "El idioma de los Dead Horses se basada en alemán, inglés, y navajo, pero la morfología del navajo es irreconocible." (English translation: "The Dead Horses language is based on German, English, and Navajo, but Navajo morphology is unrecognizable."
Joshua Sawyer Spring.me
- Question: "Is It correct that the tribals are descended from vacationers at the time of the Great War? I swear I hear a little German in the Dead Horses and Spanish in the Sorrows, but I also hear another language(s) mixed in and spoken by either tribe as well."
Joshua Sawyer: "Yes. Joshua Graham explains that they speak languages from a place he calls "Res" mixed with languages from people who were vacationing in Utah."
(Joshua Sawyer Formspring post 19 May 11)
- Joshua Sawyer: "Some of the original Dead Horses were Native Americans, but the group overall is supposed to be a mix of NAs, European tourists, and random American citizens."
(Joshua Sawyer at forums.somethingawful.com)