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|For the Van Buren character, see Joshua Graham (Van Buren).|
Graham led Caesar's troops to a humiliating defeat in the First Battle of Hoover Dam. Afterward, to show that failure was unacceptable regardless of rank, Caesar had Graham executed, ordering him to be coated in pitch, lit on fire and tossed into the Grand Canyon. Graham survived, however, and left Caesar's Legion behind him. He is the acting leader of the Dead Horses in 2281.
Joshua Graham was born in New Canaan, a Mormon community established in what remained of the city of Ogden, Utah. He grew up in peaceful times, learning the trade of a missionary and an interpreter, due to his natural aptitude for languages. In 2246, Graham received the mission call for his sacred service, to spread the good word to the people of the wasteland. By the time he left his home, he was already fluent in several tribal dialects. His knowledge made him a natural choice when the Followers of the Apocalypse asked for assistance in their expedition to the Grand Canyon. Graham departed Canaan, following the Long 15 and 89 south towards Arizona, meeting Calhoun and Sallow on the way, sent by the Followers to provide education to local tribes and study their dialects.
Around 2247, the Blackfoot were their first stop in the Canyon. Joshua proved to be a capable interpreter, though eventually the hospitality of their hosts was replaced with hostility. Whether it was an error in translation that Joshua made or some unrelated misunderstanding, the Blackfoots decided to hold the entire expedition for ransom. This was a problematic situation, as the Blackfoots were at war with seven other tribes in the Grand Canyon, and were clearly losing. Against Calhoun's objections, Sallow decided to take charge of the situation: He taught the tribes how to care for their weapons, make explosives, work as a combat unit, with Graham continuing to serve as an interpreter and the first war leader of the Legion. Graham was indispensable to Sallow's plan, who turned the disorganized tribe into a capable fighting force, trained in small unit tactics, weapon use and maintenance, and the manufacture of arms and weapons.
With his teachings and Graham's skills, the Blackfoots prevailed over the other tribes, becoming the nucleus of the Legion. Graham became a commander, training the forces of the fledgling army and leading them in battle. His leadership position soon entailed retaliatory raids and terrorizing local tribes prior to assimilation into the Legion. When Sallow crowned himself Caesar, Graham became his first Legate, the Malpais Legate. For thirty years he helped Caesar conquer the tribes of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, forging the Legion. Though he was neither a particularly brilliant strategist nor tactically flexible, his menace and brutality were infamous. The atrocities he committed made him feared by friend and foe alike. He was dangerous, unpredictable, and above all else legendary for being impossible to kill, even by NCR Rangers. But all great men eventually end. For Graham, the end came at the First Battle of Hoover Dam.
Caesar's obsession with uniting the wasteland under the banner of his Legion resulted in him attacking the New California Republic in 2277. After a series of skirmishes east of the Colorado, Caesar's 68 attacked the Dam. Graham's tenacity was legendary at this point: Despite efforts by both the NCR Rangers and First Recon east of the Colorado River and five kill reports on Graham, the Legate remained a menace at large. However, Graham underestimated the enemy while overestimating his own skill as a commander. He deployed his legionaries in the usual fashion, trying to defeat the Republic as he fought the tribes out east. Chief Hanlon anticipated this move, drawing the legionaries into a trap. As General Lee Oliver's soldiers held the line, Rangers and Army sharpshooters targeted their commanders, sowing chaos in Legion ranks. When the Legate ordered his elite forces to punch through and pursue Rangers decimating his officers and sowing chaos in the ranks, the Rangers and First Recon sharpshooters retreated into Boulder City. Elements of the Army and Rangers kept the Legion engaged long enough to allow the most experienced legionaries to enter the city. When they did, the Republic's forces pulled out of the city. Once most of them were safe (soldiers and Rangers trapped behind Legion lines had to be abandoned), they triggered explosives packed into the buildings in advance. Chief Hanlon's plan went off without a hitch: The exploding buildings acted as giant fragmentation bombs, killing and maiming most of the legionaries and leaving the rest in a state of shock. The Army and Rangers followed the detonation with a counter-attack, destroying the Legion on the western side of the Colorado River and forcing the Malpais Legate to retreat from the dam. Flanking attacks at Camp Golf and other camps in the Mojave were similarly repulsed.
The Malpais Legate returned to Caesar in shame. To demonstrate that failure is not tolerated, even at the highest of ranks, Caesar ordered Graham to be burned alive. The former Legate was covered in pitch, lit on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon, for leading the Legion into its worst defeat in its history.
Graham survived the plunge and woke up the following day, burned and broken, but alive. Eventually, the fallen Legate crawled out of the northern edge of the Grand Canyon and began his journey home. It took him three arduous months to reach New Canaan. Graham's natural immunity to modern medicine made it impossible for him to dull the pain and he had to replace the bandages covering his burned, twisted skin each day to prevent infection. But he persevered and upon reaching New Canaan, he was welcomed like one of their own, like a prodigal son returning home. In his eyes, his second baptism at the hands of the Legion and subsequent survival transformed him, rekindled his faith and removed his pride and vanity; and the thirty years of separation, atrocities, and shame, were irrelevant to his family. Legends of the Burned Man stalking the wastelands began to spread and eventually reached the ears of Caesar. He forbade legionaries from speaking Graham's true name under threat of death (Damnatio memoriae), only enhancing the myth of the Burned Man, and issued a kill order to his frumentarii. Wherever he was, his agents would find and destroy him. For his part, Graham decided to forgive Caesar, in keeping with the idea that you hate the sin, but love the sinner. Graham is acutely aware of Caesar's desire to see him dead, thanks to the sheer number of frumentarii and assassins that came looking for him.
By 2281, Graham's past finally caught up with the fallen Legate. The White Legs, whipped into a frenzy and equipped by Ulysses, attacked New Canaan while Joshua was away from the city, in a bid to ingratiate themselves with the Legion by destroying the tribe of Canaan and Graham along with it. Survivors scattered into the wilderness, with the bulk of them escaping into Zion Canyon. In order to defend them and the tribes that made their home in the canyon, Graham assumed the position of acting war chief among the Dead Horses, while Daniel, another missionary and survivor from New Canaan, joined up with the Sorrows.
While Daniel would have Graham fight a delaying action to allow the Sorrows and Dead Horses to safely evacuate Zion and lose White Legs in the wilderness, Graham desires nothing more than bringing God's justice to those who would bring harm to others. The desire for vengeance on those who butchered his people, killing all who could not run away fast enough - the elderly, the ill, children, those who stopped to help - burns within him, a fire stoked further by his own personal demons and desire for redemption. It is only fitting that he breaks them in Zion, in a natural temple and monument to the glory of his God.
Joshua Graham is a conflicted man. Originally a Mormon missionary from Ogden, he steadily betrayed everything he held dear in service to Caesar. Caught up in maintenance of a brutal, nomadic army of reconditioned tribals, and the conquests out East, Graham slowly became a monster. Small compromises turned increasingly sinister and brutal, with Graham rationalizing them as making the best of a bad situation and doing what needed to be done. In the end, however, he and Caesar had built a society on a foundation of fear and brutality, with Graham turned into a monster by three decades of warfare and atrocities. Joshua eventually believed his own lies and rationalizations, but when the defeat at Hoover Dam came, he lost all momentum. Abandoned by Caesar and his people, the fallen Legate was forced to reflect on his life and face the monster that he became. Unlike most, Joshua chose not to blame Caesar, but himself, and journeyed to seek forgiveness from the people he abandoned three decades prior.
Opinions of factions
Despite his former allegiance to Caesar's Legion, the Burned Man does not hold any ill will towards any allies of the NCR. To him, the NCR is still redeemable in his eyes, stating that the greed of man is what led to the Great War and that only through faith in God and prayer and genuine acts of kindness can humanity hope to prevent history from repeating itself. He also has a dim opinion of Mr. House, seeing him as another Caesar; a man who rallied together his own set of tribes using his own methods to assume domination over others.
His hatred towards the Legion stems not just from the fact he was made an example by Caesar, but also Caesar's belief that his will alone will unite the wasteland under the Legion's banner and his refusal to let anything stop him. Ultimately his greatest enmity is for himself - for letting himself get swept up in Caesar's rise to power, for falling in line as his Legate and for willfully perpetuating the innumerable atrocities that helped establish his rule. What he believed may have been the start of a society of equals under one banner has become a totalitarian culture dominated by one man.
Interactions with the player character
|This character is essential. Essential characters cannot be killed.|
|This character is a temporary companion.|
|This character starts quests.|
|This character is involved in quests.|
|This character is a merchant.|| 1500-2000|
|This character can repair items.||Repair cap: 100|
- Arrival at Zion: The player character must speak with Graham to complete the quest.
- Chaos in Zion: Killing Joshua Graham (or another storyline-essential character) will start this quest.
- Civilized Man's Burden: Joshua may be asked of his opinion on Follows-Chalk leaving the tribe and exploring the civilized lands.
- Flight from Zion, Crush the White Legs: During the final quests in Honest Hearts, Graham will become a temporary companion to the Courier.
- Gone Fishin', Roadside Attraction, Tourist Trap: After speaking to him, he will instruct the Courier to collect items to supply to the Sorrows.
- The Grand Staircase: After having obtained the map of the Grand Staircase, the Courier may give it to either Joshua or Daniel.
Effects of player's actions
- If the Courier has killed Caesar, they will have a dialogue option to tell Graham that Caesar is dead. His reaction is tempered, but notes his surprise that Caesar died before he did and further opines on the Legion's future; believing that Legate Lanius is not capable of long term leadership and the Legion will die with Caesar gone.
- If the Courier throws frag mines around Graham when he is following them, he will tell them not to throw mines all over Zion.
- A Legion affiliated Courier can confront Graham and ask him what would happen if Caesar is to be aware of his survival. He simply says even if he were to be killed, Caesar will not acknowledge his death in order to avoid admitting failure in killing Graham.
- If the Courier asks him a "personal" question about his burns and passes a Speech check of 70, he says that he is in constant pain from them. He reveals that he is immune to chems (only stimpaks work on him) and every day has to remove the bandages he wore the previous day and put on fresh ones. The pain he feels when removing the bandages is as bad as being set on fire again, but does it because "it is better to be clean than comfortable."
- Joshua Graham is one of the few named non-player characters in the game to be affected by the Sneering Imperialist perk.
- During Eureka!, if the player has completed Honest Hearts and Lonesome Road, the Courier can confront Legate Lanius and mention Graham's actions as Legate during the first battle as part of a Speech check.
- If passed, Lanius will berate and threaten the Courier for speaking his name and comparing Graham to "any man of Caesar."
- As a follower, Joshua will refuse to open his inventory or wait and he will neglect the Courier's requests to talk with him.
- Joshua Graham can repair equipment to 100% condition. He accepts and will repair every weapon in the game, but doesn't repair all types of apparel, making him only the fifth-best non-player character with the ability to repair to max condition, the other four being Paladin Sato, Raul Tejada, Major Knight, and the Sink Central Intelligence Unit.
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||After a long and troubled life, Joshua Graham finally found rest in Zion. In the end, his unswerving militancy had accomplished what the NCR's finest sharpshooters and Caesar's wrath could not. The New Canaanites took comfort in the belief that their brother's soul would again dwell in Zion at the end of days.||Kill Joshua Graham.|
|2||The threat of the White Legs ended, Joshua Graham helped the Sorrows and Dead Horses tend to their fallen comrades and secure Zion. The Courier's words had stayed Joshua's wrath in his darkest hour, and in sparing Salt-Upon-Wounds, he was changed. While he continued to advocate militant opposition to the enemies of New Canaan, he sometimes showed quarter to those who crossed his family. Eventually this new spirit would diminish the myth of the Burned Man in distant lands - a small price for the peace it brought to Joshua Graham.||Help Joshua Graham Defend Zion Valley and exterminate the White Legs, then convince Joshua Graham to spare Salt-Upon-Wounds.|
|3||With the White Legs crushed, Joshua Graham led the Sorrows and Dead Horses in tearing apart and burning the corpses of their enemies. He set about training his army in the "Way of the Canaanite," and soon the New Canaanites and tribes of Zion were feared well into the Mojave. Legends of the Burned Man grew even more depraved, and terrifying.||Help Joshua Graham crush the White Legs and then allow Joshua Graham to execute Salt-Upon-Wounds.|
|4||Though the Courier had stopped Joshua Graham from executing Salt-Upon-Wounds, the war chief still fell in battle. The White Legs defeated at Three Marys, Joshua led the Sorrows and Dead Horses in tending to their comrades and burning the corpses of their foes. He continued to advocate militant opposition to the enemies of New Canaan and showed little quarter to those he fought. And yet he was changed. He no longer reveled in the brutality and cruelty for which he had been known in his former life. His inner demons, if not extinguished, were at the least... appeased.||Help Joshua Graham crush the White Legs and kill Salt-Upon-Wounds yourself.|
|Joshua Graham's armor
Joshua Graham's headwrap
|A Light Shining in Darkness
Joshua's Pistol Whippin' .45
|Random tribal consumables|
- Joshua, along with Calhoun and Caesar, appears on the back of the Legion Denarius.
- Despite claiming that he accepts all forms of currency (in his words, "even Legion coin"), it is not possible to sell Legion Denarii to him.
- Even when he was the Legate of Caesar's Legion, Joshua Graham always wore his personal SLCPD armor.
- Joshua Graham is an expert with the .45 Auto pistol (from the tradition in New Canaan) and possesses a unique commander style model.
- He is also a master with melee weapons and uses the butt end of his unique .45 Auto pistol as a powerful melee weapon.
- When first entering a dialogue with Graham, he will refer to the player character as "the Courier he didn't expect," and then go on to say, "then again, he wouldn't have come with a caravan." The implication is that he expected Ulysses, rather than the player character, to come and attempt to assassinate him, adding to the evidence of Ulysses' allegiance to Caesar's Legion.
- Similar to Father Elijah and his holographic avatar image, Joshua Graham has a slightly different in-game appearance when compared to the Honest Hearts cover art. In the game, he has pale blue eyes instead of bright blue and his burned skin is grayer around his eyes.
- Pickpocketing only works on Joshua while he is asleep.
- Joshua Graham is the only Fallout: New Vegas companion with "good" Karma, while all of the other companions have "neutral" Karma.
- If he survives all events, the Honest Hearts endings state that Joshua Graham leads the Dead Horses tribe. He is nowhere to be found upon the Courier's return to Zion, presumably having returned to Dead Horse Point with the majority of the tribe.
- Joshua's pre-burned face is shaped differently than his post-burned face.
- Joshua is one of two characters in Fallout: New Vegas to possess an irremovable mask - the other being Ulysses.
- Despite being severely burnt in the past, when his mask is removed there are no severe burn marks and his face is just that of a default raider. This is a result of engine limitations, similar to Lanius' face being whole.
- "I have been baptized twice, once in water, once in flame. I will carry the fire of the holy spirit inside until I stand before my Lord for judgement."
- "Caesar would never admit this openly, but he knows I'm alive. I've killed enough of his frumentarii and assassins that have come looking."
- "I don't enjoy killing, but when done righteously, it's just a chore, like any other."
- "Die where you stand!"
- "We have made and kept covenants with our Lord, God, to honor his laws. In exchange, we are promised eternal salvation after this life."
- "I survived because the fire inside burned brighter than the fire around me. I fell down into that dark chasm, but the flame burned on and on."
- "In the best of all possible worlds, they would just leave us in peace. But they won't."
- "I want to have my revenge. Against him. Against Caesar. I want to call it my own, to make my anger God's anger. To justify the things I've done."
- "Lastly, waging war against good people is bad for the soul. This may not seem important to you now, but it's the most important thing I've said."
- "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. Remember, O Lord, The Children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem who said, "Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation." O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed. How happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."Bible verse Psalm 137:1, 7-9
- "I know Daniel doesn't approve, but destroying the White Legs is the only way to ensure the Sorrows can remain in Zion."
- "Leading in battle became training, punishing, terrorizing. A series of small mistakes before a great fall. And I stayed in that darkness until after Hoover Dam."
- "Stand up and look at what's come for you!"
- "I don't know if you were close to the other members of your group, but you have my sympathy. I pray for the safety of all good people who come to Zion - even gentiles. But we can't expect God to do all the work."
- "Show no quarter to the White Legs we come across. Make no mistake about why we are here. This is an extermination."
- "We should have given you a better welcome on your first visit to Zion, but from what I hear, the White Legs beat us to it."
- "I can always see it in my mind. The warmth and the heat. It will always be a part of me. But not today."
- "You're a good neighbor to us. We all go through periods of darkness. In such times, we can turn to the Lord, but it's good to have friends."
- "We warned you at Syracuse, and you persisted. You took advantage of us at New Canaan to drive us out, and like the dogs of Caesar you are, you followed us to Zion. And now you stand on holy ground, a temple to God's glory on Earth. But the only use for an animal in our temple is sacrifice!"
- "We have more than enough food and medicine to offer. Good news is our most valuable commodity."
- "Make the first shot count. You won't get a second."
- "Ye have sown death and so shall ye reap it!"
Joshua Graham appears in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Honest Hearts and in Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. He is mentioned frequently, for example: in a loading screen in Dead Money and by Ulysses in Lonesome Road. He was also to appear in Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios.
Behind the scenes
- When asked how old the burned man is, Joshua Sawyer stated that, "He and Caesar were both young men so that should give you a rough timeframe." 
- Joshua Graham was written by Joshua Sawyer in both Van Buren and Honest Hearts. His story is broadly based upon the parable of the Lost Son.
- Graham says Caesar the Anglicized way (/ˈsiːzər/) because he knows the Legion's use of the Latin pronunciation (/ˈkaizar/) is merely an affectation, and he does not care for it.
- Graham's self-described "baptism by flame" seems to be a dual reference to both his "death" at the hands of Caesar, and his symbolic rebirth by way of the Mormon laying of hands, which is also known as "baptism by fire."
- The inspiration for Graham came from a lot of sources, such as Paul the Apostle, Rodrigo Mendoza from The Mission, and Lawrence of Arabia. Also, the tribal markings on his armor were a reference to Rodrigo Mendoza as well.
- Seth McCaughey and Joshua Sawyer together created Graham's gun maintenance animations. Sawyer brought in his Colt and served as reference for the animation.
- A malpaís is a landform characterized by eroded rocks of volcanic origin in an arid environment. This describes many areas, but is strongly connected to the southwestern United States because of the Spanish settlers that gave the landform its name (malpais means "badland" in Spanish).
- Joshua's class in the GECK editor is given as "Destroying Angel." The Destroying Angels were an alleged militant secret society in the early years of the Mormon Church who were dedicated to violently removing enemies of the church.
- Joshua Graham states he and the New Canaanites use .45 Auto pistols because it was creatored by a member of their tribe nearly four-hundred years before. Furthermore, the real life reference to the .45 Auto pistol is the M1911 pistol, which was created by John Browning: a Mormon firearms maker who lived in Ogden, Utah, upon which New Canaan was built.
- Keith Szarabajka was almost passed on as the voice of Joshua Graham, because one of the designers involved in the first round of casting suggested removing him from the pool. According to Joshua Sawyer, Szarabajka's submission was "given on a cell phone on a windy day and he had a cold." However, Sawyer decided to keep Szarabajka in the running for the role of Graham, which he considers one of the best decisions he made on the project.
- Due to technical limitations, Graham's appearance in the game differs from that on the cover of Honest Hearts. A dirty raider texture with an ashen skin color is used to simulate burns visible around his eyes, quite dissimilar to the melted flesh on the cover.
- References remain in the game, pointing to a map above the cliffs of the Colorado River designated "MalpaisLegionCamp," indicating that such a location once existed in an earlier version of New Vegas but was later removed. A reference for Benny is found there, should he survive the events that took place at the Fort.
Only slightly. Graham and Caesar were in it together, in different ways. While Caesar never had a radical shift in his approach and ideology, Joshua Graham had a slow slide followed by a dramatic fall and "rebirth".Joshua Graham was inspired by characters like Rodrigo Mendoza from The Mission and T.E. Lawrence.
That said, Honest Hearts has a lot to do with personal motivations and why being honest to yourself about them is important. In many ways, Caesar is dispassionate -- or at least less passionate than someone like Joshua Graham, or even Lanius. Caesar is an odd sort of philosopher; Joshua Graham is a zealot. Caesar is also hypocritical or at least "bends" his own rules when it suits him. Joshua has to lie to himself to rationalize what he does. He can't live with an internal contradiction.They are also very different types of leaders. Caesar leads by telling people what to do and wowing (or terrorizing) them with the results. Joshua Graham leads by personally doing things that (typically) terrify both his allies and his enemies. As Joshua says himself, he's effectively a war chief of the Dead Horses. He's not the sort of guy you ask for opinions on how to repair a road or develop infrastructure.”— Joshua Sawyer on Formspring December 30, 2011
I wanted the player's first encounter with Joshua to be very reductive. In way, I wanted the player to be initially disappointed. They hear legends of this fearsome, terrible, demonic figure and when they first see him, he's doing the equivalent of putting his pants on one leg at a time: sitting at a table maintaining a stack of guns. Even internally, some people complained about his appearance. They wanted him to be huge and monstrous or they wanted his first encounter with the player to involve him brutally gunning down White Legs. I believed that for his character to feel right in the context of the story, he needed to be a man first and the monster later. But that expressed desire on the team made me ask for the graffiti players see on the way to see Joshua: an entire cliff face dominated by the image of Joshua with tiny White Leg corpses falling down below him. In the image, he's like Goya's Saturn, dwarfing and destroying everyone around him.
Presenting the conflict with Daniel posed some challenges because Daniel is not a living legend, i.e. he is even more of a normal man than Joshua is trying to be. Additionally, Mormonism is not a pacifistic religion (and its soteriology does not depend on pacifism), so the conflict could not reasonably by framed around violence vs. non-violence even in the post-apocalyptic version followed by the New Canaanites. Daniel's concern was about larger issues than fighting or not-fighting; he was concerned that Joshua's lapsed nature would cause a whirlwind of warfare that would pull everyone far away New Canaanite traditions to the point where religion was virtually abandoned in favor of a war cult surrounding Joshua.I had expected that most people would support Joshua, in part because of Joshua as a character but also because of the nature of gameplay in Fallout (i.e., violence is almost always a solution). I did not expect that the Survivalist's logs (written by John Gonzalez) would push so many more people toward supporting Joshua. I think it's an interesting example of players finding their own connections between the two stories and making an emotional connection that pushes them in a particular direction.”— Joshua Sawyer's Formspring answers
Personally, I think the "wow so crazy" type characters aren't particularly interesting or insightful because they only exist in pure fantasy and, as such, can't really be related to. I think it's important for characters who are influencing player opinions to be more-or-less human. If you can't put yourself in the character's shoes, it's hard to empathize with him or her.Joshua was inspired by a lot of different characters and things. The apostle Paul, Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert DeNiro's character from Roland Joffé's "The Mission"), T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia, and others. His outfit was designed to feature body armor but look somewhat "old west"/preacher in style -- hence the low-collar white shirt, sleeve garter, and the cut of the ballistic vest. The rattlesnake skin on his belt, shoes, and gun are symbolic but also intended to reflect that "western" feeling. The stitched patterns in his shirt were supposed to be tribal markings from the Dead Horses and were inspired by a scene from The Mission where Mendoza receives patterned body paint from the Guarani. I remembered a white dress from PJ Harvey's White Chalk tour where she had lyrics stitched into the cloth in black thread and I just put the two ideas together. There were specific instances (such as at New Canaan) where he would specifically avoid conflict and showed some additional depth, but he effectively had no character arc within the story. ”— Joshua Sawyer, Formspring response from May 27, 2011
- Anonymous: "How old do you reckon the burned man is?"
Joshua Sawyer: "He and Caesar were both young men (Joshua Graham had just started missionary work) when they met, so that should give you a rough timeframe."
Joshua Sawyer's Formspring/Spring.me Archive June 5, 2011