In the distant past, the NCR Correctional Facility was the Jean Conservancy, a low-security all-female prison. When the NCR occupied the Mojave, it was commandeered to house prisoners on a work-release program. The inmates were tasked with maintaining a railroad alongside the Long 15 under military supervision, keeping the vital link between the Boneyard and New Vegas alive.
However, as the war with the Legion escalated, more and more prison guards were redeployed to the Colorado River against the warden's objections. This provided an opportunity that the inmates seized to stage a prison break.
Under the leadership of Samuel Cooke, a small group of inmates gathered weapons and explosives before rebelling against the NCR staffing the facility. Blasting their way out of the cellblock, they quickly overwhelmed what little NCR personnel were present at the site, killed the warden and established their own rule. The prisoner population dispersed, with some following Cooke into Vault 19, others staying with Eddie as Powder Gangers and some heading out to cause mayhem along the I-15.
The revolt shut down Highway 93 and the NCR's main road to Vegas. The situation worsened when the Powder Gangers stole Sloan's dynamite supply, shutting down Quarry Junction and inadvertently unleashing deathclaws on the quarry and the highway. Eventually, the gangers established a sizable presence outside the prison, with a ring of camps around it, focused on raiding caravans that tried to push through to Vegas and launch attacks to terrorize the local towns of Goodsprings, Sloan and Primm.
There are several groups of loosely organized Powder Gangers that organized quickly after the prison break. Many remain in the prison and have been raiding surrounding areas under the leadership of Eddie. There are factions of Powder Gangers spread far along the southwestern part of the Mojave Wasteland, all the way down towards Nipton.
The smaller groups of Powder Gangers are all lead by a strong or cunning underboss, like Joe Cobb. A large contingent of Powder Gangers can be found in Vault 19, under the leadership of Samuel Cooke, although there they are identified as escaped convicts.
Relations with the outside
Due to their hostility, the Powder Gangers have little to no friendly relations with outside groups. They are hated by both the NCR, whom they were former prisoners of, and Caesar's Legion, who massacred them along with the rest of the town of Nipton. The Brotherhood of Steel dislike them due to interfering with patrols near and in Hidden Valley.
Neutral relations are not completely unheard of, as the group did business with the establishments in Nipton. However even in Nipton before the massacre, the group visited opposite the NCR, the troopers at night and gang members during the day, to avoid conflict. The Vault 19 group plan to join the Great Khans, at the behest of their leader, Samuel Cooke.
The favored and most common weapons among the Powder Gangers are explosives, primarily the powder charges and dynamite which they acquired during their time in prison and escape. However, they also have a large arsenal of guns; some stolen, others looted from dead NCRCF guards. They carry single shotguns, 9mm pistols, varmint rifles and .357 Magnum revolvers. However some members who have moved further away from the prison, such as those found at Whittaker farmstead, are significantly better armed, sometimes equipped with laser or plasma rifles.
Interactions with the player character
- Run Goodsprings Run: Side with Joe Cobb against the town of Goodsprings and help kill Ringo.
- Eddie's Emissary: Earn the trust of the Powder Gangers in the NCRCF.
- I Fought the Law: Run errands for Eddie in the NCRCF.
- Why Can't We Be Friends?: Help Samuel Cooke or Philip Lem with a few tasks in Vault 19.
- Booted: Free the enslaved Powder Gangers from the Legion camp.
Effects of player's actions
- Completing Ghost Town Gunfight will earn a negative reputation with the Powder Gangers.
- If the player character has a negative reputation with the Powder Gangers, groups of one to three of them will occasionally ambush them south of Primm and west of the Prospector's Den.
- "Problem is, it turns out that giving convicts a bunch of dynamite and blasting powder isn't the best idea." – Trudy
- "I have a present for you from the Powder Gangers. I hope you like dynamite."
- "You eyeballing me?"
- "You'll pay for what you did to the Powder Gangers!"
- "Never gets old when something blows up."
- "Any lawman that comes after me won't have it easy."
- "Damn. Running low on smokes again."
Narrated by Eddie
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||After Hoover Dam, the leaderless Powder Gangers at the Correctional Facility vanished into the wastes, leaving the prison empty. The Correctional Facility became another abandoned ruin in the wasteland, its carcass occasionally picked over by enterprising prospectors.||Eddie dies.|
|2||With the Dam firmly in their grasp, the NCR turned its attention towards wresting the Correctional Facility from Powder Ganger hands. The Powder Gangers are no match for the battle-hardened troops of the NCR, and summary execution awaited the Powder Gangers who managed to survive.||Do not kill Eddie and complete the endgame quest Eureka! for the NCR.|
|3||Most Powder Gangers at the Correctional Facility fled into the wasteland rather than face the advancing forces of the Legion. Those brave or foolish to remain were killed or crucified by the merciless Legionaries.||Do not kill Eddie and complete the endgame quest Veni, Vidi, Vici for Caesar's Legion.|
|4||The NCR, battered by the loss of the Dam, were unable to devote any troops to retaking the Correctional Facility from the Powder Gangers. As a result, Powder Ganger raids on caravans became an unfortunate fact of life in the Mojave for years to come.||Do not kill Eddie and complete either All or Nothing for Mr. House or No Gods, No Masters for an Independent New Vegas.|
Narrated by Samuel Cooke
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||With Cooke dead, the Powder Gangers at Vault 19 fell apart. Those who weren't destroyed by the Courier fled into the hills or attempted to work their way back through the Mojave Wasteland. Few survived.||Kill Samuel Cooke.|
|2||Armed with a wide array of improvised explosives and stolen weapons, the Vault 19 Powder Gang tormented the Mojave Wasteland for years. Citizens of the NCR were favorite targets, and they always suffered the worst fates.||Do not complete Why Can't We Be Friends?; or complete it by blowing up the sulfur deposits AND Vault 19.|
|3||After the Vault 19 Powder Gang surrendered to the NCR, they were re-incorporated into the correctional system. The NCR did increase their sentences, and they aren't about to take off time for good behavior.||Destroy ONLY the sulfur deposits below Vault 19 and convince Philip Lem to surrender to the NCR.|
|4||After the majority of the Vault 19 Powder Gangers joined the Great Khans, the weaker members scattered throughout the Mojave Wasteland. Though a few managed to erase their pasts, most never survived the journey.||Convince Philip Lem or Samuel Cooke to ally with the Great Khans.|
- Though Powder Gangers almost all have Evil Karma, the larger Powder Ganger faction is not marked as Evil. This means that stealing items owned by the Powder Gangers faction will incur negative Karma.
- Ringo's caravan along I-15 is looted with Powder Gangers hovering around the area. This Crimson Caravan Company outfit is located slightly northeast of Jean Sky Diving, has been ransacked and the caravan guards left dead. One of the two Powder Gangers stationed there will always be hostile.
- If the player character happens to have Arcade Gannon as a companion when near some Powder Gangers, they will say, "We used to buy and sell guys like four-eyes back in prison."
- Originally, the Powder Gangers along the I-15 were immediately hostile to the Courier if the latter was not disguised as a Powder Ganger themselves. This was later changed in a patch, with the raiding camps only being hostile if the Courier has obtained enough negative reputation (Vilified) with the Powder Gangers.
Powder Gangers appear in Fallout: New Vegas.
Behind the scenes
The 215 Rail Line Powder Gang were also due to appear in Black Isle's canceled Van Buren. Commenting on the differences between the Fallout: New Vegas Powder Gangers and the 215 Rail Lain Powder Gang, Joshua Sawyer stated that the Van Buren faction had much more developed characters and were to play a larger role, while in Fallout: New Vegas, their focus in the game was greatly diminished.
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition pp.43-44: "Powder Gangers
The NCR Correctional Facility is the dominant location of the central Mojave Wasteland. In the distant past, it was the Jean Conservancy, a low-security all-female prison. Under recent NCR control, it was used to house prisoners on work release. The prisoners worked the railroad parallel to the Long 15 under NCR trooper supervision, maintaining the vital land link between the Boneyard and New Vegas. Eventually, prison guards (NCR troopers) were pulled away to run Colorado River border patrol. When the guard staff was low, the prisoners executed a daring and violent escape.
Because the rail crews often used explosives (typically dynamite) to blast through rock or get rid of train cars that were locked/fixed to the line, the prisoners inevitably acquired small amounts that they hid in their cells. When they made their break, they blasted their way out. The interior of the prison was clearly the scene of a large riot where the prisoners used explosives, improvised weapons, and stolen NCR trooper equipment to break through multiple walls and scatter through the desert. A lot of the prisoners weren't in on the escape plan formally; they just got caught up in the moment. Consequently, a lot of them didn't really know where to go when the dust settled. A large contingent of Powder Gangers can be found in Vault 19 through many squatted in the prison and have been informally raiding since then."
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide faction profiles)
- The Courier: "Powder gangers?"
Trudy: "Chain gangs, really. The NCR brought them in from California to work on the rail lines. Problem is, it turns out that giving convicts a bunch of dynamite and blasting powder isn't the best idea. Was a big escape not too long ago. Some of 'em stuck together so they could make trouble. That's what we're dealing with now."
- The Courier: "What can you tell me about the prison?"
Eddie: "The NCR called it a "work-release" prison. We lucky prisoners got the privilege of fixing up the rail lines and blasting rock for new lines. They got sloppy, though. Some of us managed to hide away some dynamite, and look who's in charge now."
- NCR Correctional Facility terminal entries; Warden's terminal, [Guard transfers to the east.]: "They're transferring away three more of my men. They tell me it's all to keep the situation at the Dam under control, but what about this place? The situation here has become dangerous for my men and I - I know it, my men know it, and the prisoners know it. It's only a matter of time before something happens."
- The Courier: "Tell me about the prison break."
Samuel Cooke: "A beautiful thing. Saved a little blast powder here, hid a makeshift weapon there, and one day I orchestrated a little symphony for the NCR."
(Samuel Cooke's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Tell me about the correctional facility."
Hayes: " . A little bit ago the convicts there staged a coup, killed the guards that weren't able to escape, and have been ransacking the area since then."
- The Courier: "Where'd the Deathclaws come from?"
Chomps Lewis: "They moved into the quarry after the Powder Gangers came through and made off with most of our dynamite. We shut the quarry down while we waited for the NCR to get us some more blasting sticks, but now the Deathclaws have shown up. The NCR's a no-show, and my men and I have got nothing to do but sit on our asses all day. It's damn frustrating."
(Chomps Lewis' dialogue)
- The Courier: "Tell me about the Powder Gangers."
Chomps Lewis: "They're a bunch of escaped cons from down south. The NCR was using them to maintain the railways as part of their sentence. I don't know who screwed up, but the Powder Gangers are loose. It was one group that attacked us and took our entire supply of dynamite."
(Chomps Lewis' dialogue)
- The Courier: "One of the convicts from NCRCF is looking for a pardon so he can protect Primm."
Knight: " "
- The Courier: "Do you have any information on the convicts?"
Hayes: "Not much. They've taken to calling themselves Powder Gangers. Mostly because they've taken to using the explosives meant to clear boulders as weapons. They got organized faster than I would have thought, most of them at least. Thankfully the small group in town here seem to have split off from the main force, so they aren't getting anything in the way of support."
- Courier: "What exactly happened here?"
Vulpes Inculta: "Nipton was a wicked place, debased and corrupt. It served all comers, so long as they paid. Profligate troops, Powder Gangers, men of the Legion such as myself - the people here didn't care. It was a town of whores. For a pittance, the town agreed to lead those it had sheltered into a trap. Only when I sprang it did they realize they were caught inside it, too."
(Vulpes Inculta's dialogue)
- Mayor Steyn's journal
- The Courier: "Why do you want to join the Great Khans?"
Samuel Cooke: "There aren't enough of us here to make a real impact on the NCR, and the Khans probably hate the NCR more than we do. Strength in numbers, they say."
(Samuel Cooke's dialogue)
- The Courier: "I've come with an offer of alliance from the Powder Gangers at Vault 19."
Papa Khan: "And what benefit would this alliance give us?"
(Papa Khan's dialogue)
- Fallout: New Vegas patch 220.127.116.115
- Q&A session with Josh Sawyer during a live charity stream. (reference begins at 8:29:51)