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Why are these stars there, and what do they mean? Nobody knows! Except maybe ol' Festus, hee hee.

Festus the Animated Rancher[1] is the automated mascot robot residing in the Sunset Sarsaparilla headquarters' lobby in Fallout: New Vegas. The Sunset Sarsaparilla Company's mascot is still active in 2281.


Festus is an animatronic automaton made by RobCo Industries, designed as an interactive display for visitors and tourists takes away some the mystique.[2] Unlike most other robots in the wasteland, who operate with a degree of autonomous artificial intelligence, Festus is a simple machine that only responds to a set of about a dozen designated command phrases and answers with pre-recorded responses.[Non-canon 1] Such as the reluctant case with advisory about drinking too much Sarsaparilla that was broadcast on channel 6 television.[3]

Before the Great War, an urban legend circulated that if anyone collected enough specially marked bottle caps and took them to the headquarters building, they would receive a prize. The legend has persisted after the war, becoming a grandiose wasteland legend. One where Festus is a centuries old guardian of the Sunset Sarsaparilla treasure.[4]

Festus is still operational with centuries of wear and tear, despite his wooden cabinet having been shot several times, breaking the front glass window and taking his right arm and right eye. Festus' speaker is also damaged, shifting in quality and volume as the prerecorded lines are played.

Interactions with the player character

Interactions overview

Icon quest starter.png
This character starts quests.
FO76 ui icon quest.png
This character is involved in quests.


  • The Legend of the Star: Festus will introduce the legend of the Sunset Sarsaparilla Stars and tell the Courier that there is a reward for collecting enough of them.
  • A Valuable Lesson: Festus unlocks a door containing the reward for collecting 50 Sunset Sarsaparilla Stars.

Other interactions

  • When first meeting Festus, it may be best to respond with "Pleased to meetcha." This option will explain all of the dialogue options available.
  • If the Courier asks Festus to tell about the "Silly Ol' Advisory," he will list numerous serious health problems associated with drinking Sunset Sarsaparilla. He will ask the player character to repeat themselves twice before finally telling.
  • After redeeming 50 Sunset Sarsaparilla star bottle caps for the quest, Festus will tell the story of "The Legend of the Star." He will make mention of Nuka-Cola, the principal rival soft drink of Sunset Sarsaparilla. After this, he mentions that to avoid legal action from the Nuka-Cola Corporation, he will inform the Courier that Nuka-Cola is a "swell" drink, but sometimes, people just want something "different."

Effects of the player's actions

  • After completing The Legend of the Star, Festus will begin to tell a different version of the star cap origin tale. In this story, all major events are mostly the same as the first time, but some happen in a different order (for example, the bar owner receives the recipe before he hears news of the stranger's death).

Lucky Horseshoes

Main article: Lucky Horseshoes

If the dialogue option "I Feel Lucky" is chosen, the Courier has the option to play a variant of Blackjack called Lucky Horseshoes with Festus, who will provide instructions.


  • If the Courier attacks Festus with a melee or unarmed weapon, Festus will sit up, look around, and then return to his idle stance. Any companions following the Courier will then initiate combat briefly before returning to their idle stance(s). Shooting Festus or using explosives will not count as hitting him, as all projectiles will simply go through and hit the wall behind him.
  • Festus is one of the three robots in the game who cannot be destroyed. The other two are Yes Man and the Gun Runners Vendortron.
  • There is an option to "pickpocket" Festus when crouched, but this only initiates a dialogue with him.
  • Festus mentions that before Sunset Sarsaparilla was invented, the main choices people had for drinking was water or Nuka-Cola. The Nuka-Cola Corporation was founded in the year 2044, but according to the logo of the Sunset Sarsaparilla headquarters, Sunset Sarsaparilla was founded in 1918, over 125 years before Nuka-Cola was invented. This is likely marketing speak to sell the brand of Sunset Sarsaparilla.
  • Festus is affected by the Robotics Expert perk.
  • Lucky Horseshoes can still be played with him after having completed The Legend of the Star.

Notable quotes


Festus appears only in Fallout: New Vegas.

Behind the scenes

Festus is a reference to the character Festus of the 1952 radio and 1955 television Western drama series Gunsmoke.


  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Sometimes, when entering the Sunset Sarsaparilla headquarters, a loud metal crashing noise can be heard (like when a robot crashes to the floor), due to Festus having turned 180 or 45 degrees to face the wall. Interaction is still possible, even though the player character will only be able to see the back panel. He may eventually turn back if one re-enters. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 It is possible to knock him unconscious with the Golden Gloves or boxing tape. If done so, the Courier cannot speak to him and he will not regain consciousness. They can also walk through him. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 Sometimes, when entering dialogue, the words may skip to the next line. The next lines will also skip until the player character is ready to talk. [verified]



  1. Noted on the side of the display
  2. Cut content SSHQTechGuyMailMessage1Terminal[verification needed] Cut content
  3. The Courier: "Pleased to meetcha."
    Festus: "New in town, pardner? Well, let ol' Festus give you the lay of the land. If you're here to redeem your Sunset Sarsaparilla Stars, dump 'em into the slot in the barrel below and I'll count 'em up. If you don't know what Sunset Sarsaparilla Stars are and think ol' Festus is just shooting his mouth off, say "Star Info". If you're here to challenge ol' Festus to a game of Lucky Horseshoes, say "I feel lucky". Lastly, if you're here about the health advisory that aired on channel 6 recently, say "Silly Ol' Advisory.""
    The Courier: "Silly Ol' Advisory."
    Festus: "I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand that. Could you repeat it?"
    The Courier: "Silly Ol' Advisory."
    Festus: "I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand that. Could you repeat it?"
    The Courier: "Silly Ol' Advisory."
    Festus: "While Sunset Sarsaparilla is perfectly safe, a recent independent study - whose validity is currently being challenged - revealed the following: Excessive ingestion of sarsaparilla can lead to deleterious effects including, but not limited to: kidney damage, nausea, digital numbness, anxiety, loss of visual acuity, dizziness, occasional nosebleeds, joint inflammation, tooth decay, sore throat, bronchitis, organ rupture, and halitosis. Note that you'd have to drink a heap of Sunset Sarsaparilla to match the quantities used in the study. How much, you ask? A lot. A whole helluva lot. In fact, you'd have to get full as a tick on Sunset Sarsaparilla to even come close. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, partner! And keep drinking Sunset Sarsaparilla!"
    (Festus' dialogue)
  4. The Courier: "You mentioned someone named Festus. Who's that?"
    Malcolm Holmes: "It's said that the treasure is guarded by a man named Festus, and he's the one who asks for the blue-star caps. It's also said that he's been around since the war, standing a lonely vigil, waiting for someone to come and take the treasure off his hands. That'd make him pretty damn old, but I've met a few people in my travels who claimed they actually met him, and they weren't the lying type either."
    (Malcolm Holmes' dialogue)


  1. Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition pp.308-309: "[2.17] Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters
    The old headquarters of the well-known and loved "Beverage of the West Coast," this structure features a many-faceted glass bottle of the company's signature drink, Sunset Sarsaparilla. Before the war, an urban legend circulated that if you collected bottle caps marked with a star, you could send them in to the Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters and receive a prize. Now, this legend has taken on a life of its own; crazed individuals stalk the Wasteland searching for "SSSs" (Sunset Sarsaparilla Stars), a fact exacerbated by an automated robotic attendant, Festus, who prompts people with an option to present their Sunset Sarsaparilla Stars. Dare you find out the truth?
    Sitting in his rundown saloon, Festus is the mascot for the old Sunset Sarsaparilla Company, and here to bring you great news of a competition, and the official word on that health advisory (keeps asking!). Requesting information on Star Bottle Caps begins Side Quest: The Legend of the Star. Returning with 50 or more Star Bottle Caps starts Side Quest: A Valuable Lesson. You can also play Lucky Horseshoes (speak to Festus about the rules)."
    (Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition Tour of the Mojave Wasteland)