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You see the dead sentries? Shamans say our enemies' souls are trapped in them, but Joshua says it shows we're serious about fighting White Legs.Follows-Chalk

The Dead Horses are a tribe that can be found in Zion Canyon in 2281.


The New Canaanites believe that the Dead Horses tribe originated from a place called Res, east of the Grand Canyon. They are descended from the pre-War inhabitants of the place, as well as tourists who had been visiting when the Great War broke out. Over time the languages of the two groups melded into a creole, becoming the main language of the tribe, though a few members maintained enough English to effectively communicate with outsiders.[2] Eventually they left Res, heading west until they reached the banks of the Colorado River at Dead Horse Point, which they would make their namesake and their home.[3]

After living there for many generations, the Dead Horses were visited by Joshua Graham, the Malpais Legate of Caesar's Legion. He sought to prime them for assimilation into the Legion, like numerous tribes before, and began to train them in the methods of warfare. He taught them how to hunt more efficiently and how to maintain their rare pre-War equipment.[4] However, before they were ready to join the Legion, Joshua was called away to lead Caesar's armies in the First Battle of Hoover Dam, a battle from which he would return a very different man.

With Joshua gone, the Dead Horses were no longer at risk of eminent assimilation, though they maintained a deep level of reverence for both Graham and the man he served.[5] They began to put Joshua's teachings to use and started raiding and attacking people around them. They were eventually retaliated against, driving the Dead Horses from their home and all the way south to Zion. They had lost much and were taken advantage of by many of the tribes of the valley.[3] It would be here that Joshua found the Dead Horses, having survived his execution and returning to his home of New Canaan.[6] This time, he would lead the tribe in a different direction. He led them away from Caesar, explaining what the Legion would have done to them.[5] He taught them how to defend themselves, to protect and hold their territory.[7] Graham became their acting war chief,[8] and under his guidance the Dead Horses would retake Dead Horse Point.

After the destruction of New Canaan, a group of survivors led by Daniel made their way to Zion and resided with the Sorrows tribe, where Joshua met up with them.[9] To help protect his people, he asked some of the Dead Horses to return to Zion, to help defend the New Canaanites and the Sorrows against the White Legs.[4] Whether the Dead Horses help the Sorrows evacuate the valley or drive the invaders out, the tribe returns to their home afterward.[10][11]


Their tribe is located at Dead Horse Point on the Colorado River. Many of the Dead Horses serve as scouts for the tribe, keeping their warriors back in case of enemy attack. The full-fledged scouts leave chalk murals and pictographs to guide the less experienced ones during reconnaissance or to lead warriors to good hunting grounds.[12]

The Dead Horses are individualistic in the way that they govern their personal lives. They are democratic in matters concerning the tribe as a whole. Usually, the only decisions made autocratically are those regarding conflicts with outside groups. In this sphere, Joshua Graham, revered as their war-chief, has been given complete authority to dictate the actions of tribal warriors in times of war.[1] Joshua stated he desired little to do with the way the tribe conducted its personal matters, believing that there may be better men whose example should be followed than his own.[13]

In the past of the Sorrows, they lost one of their own to a trap left behind by their "Father in the Caves," convincing them to stop trying to enter the caves of Zion and even incorporate this belief into their religion. When the Dead Horses came to the valley, the Sorrows told them stories of the spirits that live within, scaring them enough that most came to avoid the caves and pre-War buildings of the valley as well.[14] A few members remain willing to enter these taboo places, such as Follows-Chalk, but are still nervous nonetheless.[15][16][17] 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,[18] (a tradition similar to the Twisted Hairs who braid their hair to reflect their lives and deeds). The Dead Horses remain very mindful of the environment and the animals of Zion knowing not to over hunt any prey too much.[19]




War club with casings mod

Traditional Dead Horses war club

While the Dead Horses maintain offensive and defensive capabilities collectively, it can't be said they possess a designated wartime force. Though the tribe does have warriors who are specifically armed and trained for the purpose of combat, they primarily act as hunters. The tribe also has a separate branch of scouts, but again, their talents (while widely applicable) are more often utilized for the more practical matters of exploration and locating game. These scouts can be found all over Zion Canyon, and often in pairs. The Dead Horses use .45 Auto pistols as a standard firearm, though many are armed with supplementary war clubs[20] which are decorated with .45 caliber shell casings in reverence of Joshua Graham.[21] 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.[19] Joshua Graham has asked that the Dead Horses not attack any outsider who enters the valley, unless they are targeted first.[22]

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.[23] At one point, the Lonesome Drifter arrived in Zion and told the Dead Horse tribe of the wasteland outside of Zion.[24] Other than this, the Dead Horse tribe are fairly reclusive and tend to be wary of outsiders.


The Dead Horses speak a unique language, based on that of pre-War German, English, and Navajo vernacular.[Non-game 1][Non-game 2][Non-game 3]

Examples of phrases[]



# Slide Voice-over narration In-game condition
Nvdlc02 endingslide deadhorses
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.
Nvdlc02 endingslide deadhorses
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.
Nvdlc02 endingslide deadhorses
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.


The Dead Horses appear only in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Honest Hearts.

Behind the scenes[]

Developer quotes[]

[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



  1. 1.0 1.1 The Courier: "Do you run the show around here?"
    Joshua Graham: "I wouldn't say that. I am the acting war chief for the Dead Horses. They look up to me for such matters, but I only have the authority they give me. Daniel is the spiritual leader and main link of the New Canaanites to the Sorrows. He's up in the Narrows right now."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  2. Courier: "Do they speak... our language?"
    Joshua Graham: "Most don't. It's been hundreds of years since the war. They've developed their own languages. Take the Dead Horses. We think they were originally refugees from a place called 'Res,' east of the Grand Canyon. They speak a combination of Res and a language spoken by travelers who were visiting Res when the bombs fell. Over time, the two languages blended. I was a translator years ago, but it's hard to keep up with all of the tribal variations."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Courier: "Tell me about your tribe."
    Follows-Chalk: "We came up in the Land of the Dead Horse, though why the Back When folks called it that I got no hint. We raided, we fought... we lost. Our enemies drove us back into Zion, and we would have died if it hadn't been for Joshua. Joshua, and his Caesar."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Courier: "Does the valley belong to the Dead Horses?"
    Joshua Graham: "The valley belongs to God, but no. The Dead Horses live at Dead Horse Point, up the Colorado River. They came here because I asked them to. Before I... returned to the fold, I visited them years earlier. I looked much different then, but I left an impression on them. I taught them how to hunt more efficiently, how to maintain their weapons and Pre-War equipment. When I returned, they showed their appreciation."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Courier: "Wait, what about Caesar?"
    Follows-Chalk: "When Joshua first came to us, he was servant to a man he called Caesar. He led his master's armies, and we were ready to follow him into war. Then he lost his master's army to a tribe called Enseeyar, the Sunset People. When he returned, he was as you saw him - burned, broken, but changed. He led us away from Caesar, led us to our own destiny in Zion."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  6. The Courier: "Do you remember anything about Joshua from before he became your leader?"
    Follows-Chalk: "Only a little - I was very young. He was... different. Prouder, yes, but harder, crueler, more driven. Really, I was terrified of him. We all were. When he came back, I almost didn't believe he was the same man. He was humbler. He wanted to protect, not destroy."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  7. The Courier: "What did Joshua do for you?"
    Follows-Chalk: "If it wasn't for Joshua, the Dead Horses would still be the whipping boys of the Zion Valley. He taught us how to hold our territory, to protect ourselves. He guided us away from Caesar, and showed us how Caesar would have destroyed us."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  8. The Courier: "Tell me more about Joshua Graham."
    Follows-Chalk: "He's been the chief of our tribe since he came back to the Valley. He went off to the civilized world years ago, to fight a war. That didn't go well."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  9. The Courier: "Wait, what? New Canaan was wiped out? How?"
    Follows-Chalk: "That's what Joshua said. White Legs came down from Great Salt Lake in force - fell on New Canaan before they could mount a defense. Joshua found some of the survivors led by a man named Daniel. Most of them have fled the valley, but Daniel stayed on with the Sorrows tribe. He and Joshua have been arguing over whether to stand and fight the White Legs or take the Sorrows and the Dead Horses out of the valley."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  10. Honest Hearts endings, Dead Horses: "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."
  11. Honest Hearts endings, Dead Horses: "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."
  12. The Courier: "Why are you called Follows-Chalk?"
    Follows-Chalk: "Our advance scouts leave chalk signs to mark places rich with game. I'm not a full scout yet, so I follow the marks and guide the hunters."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  13. The Courier: "Fine by me. I prefer the wilderness."
    Joshua Graham: "Then let him know. Follows-Chalk needs more guidance in his life. I'd prefer it not come from me. If people want to look to me for how to fight, I will show them how. I believe God put me on this Earth for that very reason. But to live like me, think like me... no. There are better people for them to look to for such things."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  14. The Courier: "Taboo?"
    Joshua Graham: "The Sorrows believe in a spirit that lives in the caves, say the spirit punished them once for trespassing. They put special marks around the cave entrances to keep people out. It doesn't work on the White Legs, of course, but the Dead Horses are spooked."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  15. The Courier: "What taboo places?"
    Follows-Chalk: "Lots of them around the valley - places built by the folk from Back When. You'll know them when you see them - scouts mark them with hand prints. The hand prints are a warning to keep out - angry ghosts live inside. Not that I believe in angry ghosts. They're just spooky old places. Right?"
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  16. The Courier: "I'll see what I can do."
    Joshua Graham: "Thank you. Follows-Chalk can help you find your way around the valley. He's inexperienced, but he knows enough of our language to ignore the taboos about Pre-War buildings."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  17. Follows-Chalk: "See those handprints? Dead Horses and Sorrows mark them on taboo places, places from Back When. Good thing for you I don't buy into that stuff."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  18. The Courier: "What are all those tattoos?"
    Follows-Chalk: "Dead Horses mark ourselves to commemorate our hunts. When a hunter takes a great beast, or when a youth goes on his first hunt, he gets a tattoo."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Courier: "Why is it so important that we fight the White Legs?"
    Follows-Chalk: "Well... because they're our enemies. What else would we do? They take our land, they kill our scouts, they poach our hunting grounds."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  20. The Courier: "Nice guns."
    Joshua Graham: "In the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau, all tribes are known for a specific weapon. White Legs are known for their big submachine guns, "storm drums." They broke into an armory near Spanish Fork and have been using them for years. Of course, the Dead Horses have their wooden war clubs and even the Sorrows have their Yao Guai gauntlets. This type of .45 Automatic pistol was designed by one of my tribe almost four hundred years ago. Learning its use is a New Canaanite rite of passage."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  21. The Courier: "What's with the shell casings in your club?"
    Follows-Chalk: "We decorate our clubs with them to honor Joshua Graham. They were the weapons of his old tribe, so now they are ours. Can't say they seem that dangerous to me, but Joshua says they "won the West.""
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  22. Dead Horse Disciple of Canaan: "Hoi! Owslandr zookah Joshua Graham?"
    The Courier: "If you're too dumb to speak my language, you're too dumb to talk to me. Get lost."
    Dead Horse Disciple of Canaan: "Shaiss! Would kill you myself, but Joshua says no harm to visitors until harm done to us."
    (Dead Horse Disciple of Canaan's dialogue)
  23. The Courier: "What do you know about the New Canaanites?"
    Follows-Chalk: "Little bit. I met some of their missionaries a few times, but I've never been to their city. Joshua could tell you more - or Daniel, I imagine."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  24. The Courier: "What's with this obsession you seem to have with "civilization?""
    Follows-Chalk: "Let me tell you a story. When I was a boy, a man came through the valley with one of the caravans. Tall man, big mustache, carried a guitar. I asked what he did for his living, and the interpreter told me he was a singer. What is that? I asked. The man explained that he went from place to place and sang for people, who gave him food and shelter and care in return. I couldn't believe that there was a place in this world where a man could do that. I promised myself then that one day I'd explore that world myself."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  1. 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
  2. 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)
  3. 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)