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"City of the Dead"
The Sierra Madre was believed nothing more than a Mojave legend, a fabled City of Gold, where fortune could be found.Fallout: New Vegas loading screen, Dead Money

The Sierra Madre is a pre-War casino resort surrounded by a poisonous cloud. Many travelers and prospectors alike in the Mojave have sought out the legendary city after claiming to have heard a woman's voice on a pre-War radio broadcast, never to be heard from again. Only one man truly "found" it and lived. The Courier is lured to the Sierra Madre by that same broadcast advertising the gala grand opening.


The Sierra Madre chief architect and financier was Frederick Sinclair. The casino was intended as a place for guests to reverse their fortunes and "begin again."Fallout: New Vegas loading screen, Dead Money

The city and the resort and casino were designed and built by one man, Frederick Sinclair, his last venture a few years before the Great War. The Sierra Madre, especially the casino, was intended as a place for guests to reverse their fortunes and "begin again." During its construction until the end, it remained a reclusive area. All conveniences were supplied to the inhabitants by unique vending machines, which provided a number of commercial and non-commercial services, and allowed the residents to live in self-sufficiency, even when cut off from the outside world. The goal of the entire enterprise was not only to create a great casino - it was to create the perfect shelter from the nuclear holocaust. Every element of Sierra Madre's functions is designed to protect its inhabitants.

In design, Sinclair was drawn to the nostalgic Art Deco era. This is reflected in the architecture of the villa and of the casino. To make it a perfect opening gala, Sinclair strengthened its frequency emissions, normally reserved for emergency broadcast signals before the war. The kitchens of the Sierra Madre aimed for a 5-star rating, and sought to bring in the best chefs from around the world. In order to meet deadlines and budgets, the construction of the Sierra Madre was handled by two different companies: a well-performing company for the casino, and a cheaper, slacking, corrupt company for the Villa, resulting in numerous incidents during the construction of the Villa.

As guardian of his paradise, Sinclair forbade any other food or vending machines beyond the ones he'd installed there, and banned any personal contraband like chems, alcohol, and "foreign substances", which created a black market from the workers within. Part of Sierra Madre's security's role was to prevent such contraband from entering the Villa area. They were known to have conducted inspections of the Puesta del Sol construction offices, confiscating prohibited items.

Obsessed with security, likely due to his own financial losses in the 2070s, Sinclair installed holograms, a futuristic technology purchased on an exclusive contract by Sinclair. The doors of the Sierra Madre were designed to hermetically seal in case of emergency, and the speakers were shielded to prevent vandalism. The Sierra Madre Casino & Resort was equipped with an automated front desk that would escort guests to their rooms upon arrival, and security systems that would stun those entering with foreign substances or contaminated by radiation.

There is also a darker side to the Madre. In return for the technologies supplied by Big MT, Sinclair agreed to have the casino and the villa act as proving grounds for various experimental technologies such as the saturnite alloy, hazmat suits, and prototype matter recombinators. Sinclair was oblivious to the fact that previous similar deals did not end well (as was the case with Hopeville and its disastrous meteorological research project). In the Sierra Madre, the catch came in the form of the Cloud, a strange toxin created in the laboratories of Big MT.

Sierra Madre Villa

This section is transcluded from Villa. To change it, please edit the transcluded page.

The Sierra Madre Villa was the private city of the guests, employees, and workers of Frederick Sinclair, situated just before the casino. The streets were built so that cars can not circulate, preventing pollution and noise nuisance.

In addition to the main area, the Villa was composed of four districts:

  • Medical District, containing the Villa clinic.
  • Puesta del Sol, which witnessed numerous clashes and arguments involving the casino construction crews; construction lagged behind Salida del Sol. Construction efforts seemed to have exhausted momentum and money.
  • Residential District, for the casino's high rollers and entertainers.
  • Salida del Sol, the home of the church and many of the casino staff.

To avoid having to spend too much money for the construction of the villa at the expense of the casino, it was poorly constructed. The material used for the Villa's construction was described as "sand barely held together with spit and glue." Buildings and structures in the Villa were completely unstable and could collapse overnight. All of this caused construction crews to suffer numerous setbacks and accidents. To prevent the employees of the Sierra Madre from discovering these facts, senior persons destroyed all medical reports, and were also protected legally. In addition, shipping problems plagued the Villa. Construction explosives, countless crates of steak knives, and more were shipped to the Villa, paid for, and left.

Sierra Madre Casino

This section is transcluded from Sierra Madre Casino & Resort. To change it, please edit the transcluded page.

The Sierra Madre Casino is more than a mere casino & resort – it is the material testament to one man's inability to let go. Seeing the Great War nearing, Frederick Sinclair, the chief architect and financier of this grand fortress, wished to save Vera Keyes, his love, from the looming destruction. To this end, the Sierra Madre Villa and its capstone casino were built. But that was not enough for Sinclair: deep within the basement of the casino, a nearly impenetrable vault was constructed as well, to make sure he and his love could ride out the apocalypse, together.[1]

Security was of the utmost importance and N.E. was contracted to provide it. Anything foreign or unauthorized that entered the casino was detected by security measures and instantly rendered comatose and moved to another location within the hotel.[2] Further into the casino, an emergency broadcast emitter could be triggered and the myriad of holograms designed specifically for Sinclair would activate, patrol the casino and executive suites, and exercise lethal force on unauthorized visitors to protect the hotel guests under their charge.[3][4] The entire casino was also lined with a metal that interferes with radio reception and broadcasts out of the casino;[5] this was put in place to ensure that the radio frequencies from within the casino would not interfere with the hologram beacon in the Villa, which would send out an emergency signal so others would be alerted to Ms. Keyes' presence within the casino.[1]

After all this preparation, Sinclair failed to anticipate one thing: Vera's complicity with lounge singer Dean Domino's plot to break Sinclair's heart and steal the treasure of the Sierra Madre for themselves. Domino had enlisted her aid in his planned heist, later blackmailing her with evidence of her Med-X addiction, completely unaware that she was terminally ill.[6][7] This news broke Sinclair's heart and he became embittered and vengeful, transforming his shelter into a trap, ensuring the elevator down to the vault only went in one direction, and upgrading his security holograms to make sure that rescue would never come for Vera and Domino.[8] After Vera broke down and confessed everything, Sinclair, fearing he had overstepped himself, did what he could to reverse his changes, but he could only do so much and the casino remained a deathtrap. He died in the vault, unable to return to the casino and his love.[1]

The guests would meet a similar fate, while the Great War occurred outside, they were slaughtered by the automated security, their last calls for help recorded by the systems. Vera Keyes instead met her fate in her hotel room. Her last words to Sinclair were recorded by the system, her holographic form and last words living on as ghosts in the executive suites.

When the second crew arrived in 2281, the casino awoke yet again, its automated security shutting down as its other automatons started back up. Its pre-recorded music and audio files began to play, albeit on now deteriorated equipment. This proved inconvenient, as these unwilling heist members were still wearing their explosive collars, which interfered with their signal to Elijah.[9] Meanwhile, the ghost people gathered at the casino, attempting to get in. After the Courier was able to establish a connection to one of the other floors and access a piece of the music archives (due to their importance, being a workaround to the sound files that were used in the security systems) they find a way in, with more gathering as subsequent floors were reconnected.[10][11][12][13][14]

The Cloud

This section is transcluded from Cloud. To change it, please edit the transcluded page.

Created as an experiment by the Big MT execs, the Cloud is a product of the Z-43 innovative toxins plant located in the crater. When Frederick Sinclair came to Big MT for technology to purchase for the Sierra Madre, he unwittingly signed a Faustian pact: Apart from holograms and matter recombinators, the Think Tank would also place the Cloud at the Sierra Madre, using the casino, villa and its inhabitants as guinea pigs in its experiments.[15] Sinclair likely saw no other way to get the technology he needed, as he was already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy when he started negotiating with the executives. Of course, he was not informed that he would be receiving more than just harmless prototypes.[16] The Sierra Madre was the only testing ground that was protected by the Cloud, which was hardly a prize.[17]

The Cloud manifested itself for the first time when the cheap villa ventilation system ground to a halt, a victim of cutting corners and Mr. Yesterday's dubious practices. The pipes backed up, spewing out the red cloud. Workers in the area started choking and vomiting. Hospitalized in the villa clinic, the damage to their health was extensive enough to put them out of commission for good.[18]

To deal with the problem, Sinclair negotiated with the Big MT executives for yet another technology: The Darklight hazmat suits.[15] Although considered creepy by the maintenance crews, they allowed the crews to explore the ventilation system and try, in vain, to identify the source of the Cloud.[19]

The teams managed to find the source of the problem in the main ventilation pipe. However, traces of the dust cloud were present and eroded the metal of the suit's locks, exposing them to the Cloud and sealing them within.[20] The crewmen retreated and headed to the villa clinic to get medical attention. Much to the displeasure of the attending physicians, they cut themselves out of the suits with steak knives.[21][22]

However, despite the problems, the ventilation system was eventually restored to barely functional order. When the Great War hit shortly afterward, it continued to work for a few more years, before finally giving up the ghost. The Cloud gradually seeped into the area, climbing out of the damaged vents, eventually blanketing the area, blotting out the sun.[23][24] It became a grim, uncompromising guardian of its secrets. The maintenance crews who donned their hazmat suits and tried to fight it, succumbed to its effects, mutating and becoming the violent, savage guardians of the Sierra Madre.[25]

For centuries, the Cloud protected the casino and the villa, killing scavengers or weakening them so that they would become another victim of the tribe inhabiting it, the hazmat suited ghost people. It wasn't until the 23rd century that it became important once more. Father Elijah, a disgraced Brotherhood of Steel elder, learned of its existence from Ulysses. It inspired him.[26] When preliminary samples taken from air on the edges of the Sierra Madre yielded promising results, he set up a chemistry set to allow it to replenish itself and traveled to the Madre in person, to perform research onsite.[27]

Upon further research, Elijah decided to weaponize the Cloud as a weapon of mass destruction, to wipe the slate clean. It was intended to be used to reclaim the Mojave and destroy the New California Republic. He also plans to use it as an offensive technology, unleashing it upon the Mojave, cutting it off from the rest of the world. He could then use modified REPCONN rockets to push out both the New California Republic and Caesar's Legion at Hoover Dam, and finally, let traces of it drift west to NCR territory.[28][29][30]


  • On the side of the Nevada Highway Patrol station, graffiti is scrawled which reads "I wish I was at the Sierra Madre", with a crying 'sad-face' painted next to it. This appears whether Dead Money has been installed or not.
  • Spray painted on a Corvega billboard across from Junction 15 railway station is the legend "Gone to Sierra Madre!" Nearby, written on the back of an elevated Lucky 38 billboard closer to Sloan, is the phrase, "Left my heart in the Sierra Madre."
  • In the abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker there is a message saying "Gone to Sierra Madre" on the shack wall before going down the stairs. There is also graffiti that says "Seera Madre" above the first door in the bunker.
  • In the east pump station there is a poster on the wall next to the lockers saying "Sierra Madre" with a woman relaxing in an evening gown, with the words "Begin..... Again" written on it. Also in the station are two postcard-sized versions on a bulletin board next to the computer terminal on the desk. The postcards are of the woman with the cocktail and also the woman relaxing.
  • There is also a poster of the Sierra Madre located in the Monte Carlo Suites.
  • God says that the air in the Sierra Madre tastes like copper or old world gold.
  • Once the quest "Trigger the Gala Event" has been completed, a nuclear siren will be heard in the Sierra Madre for the rest of the add-on.
  • The New California Republic has a military accolade named the Star of Sierra Madre.[31]


The Sierra Madre appears only in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Dead Money, and is mentioned in Fallout: New Vegas and Old World Blues.

Behind the scenes

  • The Sierra Madre is a reference to B. Traven's 1927 Western novel, and later 1948 film, directed by John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
  • The Madre look (a combination of Art Deco and Mission Revival) was conceived by Joe Sanabria and implemented by James Garcia.[32][33]
  • The level has many connections to Abbot Kinney, the designer of Venice, California. Kinney suffered from tuberculosis (attributed to a miasma through much of human history) and constructed a sanitarium, the Sierra Madre Villa Hotel in the San Gabriel Timberland Reserve. It was common for sufferers of tuberculosis to seek treatment in dry climates at the time. Additionally, Kinney's ghost is said to haunt Venice.[34]
  • "Sierra Madre" translates from Spanish to "mother mountain range."



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sierra Madre Casino terminal entries; Vault control terminal, To Vera
  2. Elijah: "You inside. Can you hear me? Power's fluctuating... emergency power. Oh! You are in. Good... thought that might be the end of you. Unfortunately, your... "friends" also found their way here. Knocked unconscious... just like you. Wondering what happened? You were hit by casino security. Detects anything foreign - radioactive, it subdues the "visitor," moves them if needed. Hnh... getting interference from old recordings... the guests who were trapped here... eh, shut that noise off... Looks like the casino moved your "friends" around once inside... might be useful. Or not. Wonder if they came to help or kill you. Still... My signal should work through the speakers, now that you're inside. Heh, heh! Welcome to the Sierra Madre, in all its glory. This is what the Old World stood for, even with bombs about to rain down on them. Now look at it. Beautiful... now its guests are all dead. Better this way. Quiet. How the Mojave should be. Now - with the casino sleeping, it's got places closed off - won't let you go yet. We'll get there, trust me, just need to wake it up."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  3. Sierra Madre Casino terminal entries; Hologram Control, Sinclair: E.B.E.
  4. Z-38 lightwave dynamics research terminal entries; Terminal, Requisition Order: Holograms
  5. Elijah: "_ Casino's woken up, paying attention to us. Good. Wondering what happened to your team...? Looks like they got moved to other floors. Interesting, maybe that's why... hmmm, yes... yes. Perhaps the casino recognized specific guests... or guests with a voice or look close enough for them to be... assigned to that floor. We'll see. Had hoped with the power restored, the systems would fully awaken... especially the sound archives. But no... your teammates' collars on each floor are interfering with the systems. It's the white noise filters embedded in their construction... they're blocking the casino speakers, the music. You'll need to recalibrate... or destroy... each collar. To do that, you need to get close, re-set the signal - or blow their heads off. I'll leave the choice up to you - my preference? End them now. They're of no use. After all, it's safe to kill them now, provided you make it quick. You see, the collars don't work inside the Sierra Madre... well, between floors. Else, I'd set off the collars, be done with it. So find them, deal with them, as long as you're fast and can get off the floor after killing them. The floors... whatever they lined this place with, interferes with the collar frequency... so if you kill them, you should have some time to run. Uh... just not sure how long, may not be consistent. More... less... whatever, it doesn't matter. What we need is in the basement, we need to go to the top first and ride our fortunes down. After we deal with your team on the other floors."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  6. Dean Domino's blackmail evidence
  7. Villa clinic terminal entries; Terminal, Appointment Calendar
  8. Sierra Madre vault terminal entries; Vault control terminal, Sinclair's personal accounts
  9. Elijah: "You woke it up... good. Emitter frequencies... lighting up everywhere... _ Damn recordings... dead echoes in the frequencies... Casino's security is shutting down... opening up its vendor and gambling programs in the back casino... Heh! Still might be something for sale. Maybe something can help you now - security's shut down. After you're done looking around, head to the lobby, and we'll deal with your... friends. _"
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  10. Elijah: "You've gotten one of the floors re-established, good... accessing the music archives now. Two more to go. Oh... it seems the casino has uninvited guests... the Villa inhabitants were pounding at the doors - now they've found a way inside. Deal with them - and don't try and leave yourself, or I'll let the collar do its work."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  11. Elijah: "Another fragment... good. Almost have the entirety of what I need from the music archives. Once you have the last fragment, you can thread the archives together at the main floor terminal. Once you have the last fragment, you can thread the archives together at the main floor terminal."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  12. Elijah: "You have the last fragment, that is all I need. Now... Go to the main lobby terminal, thread the music sequence together."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  13. Elijah: "Now... back to the Suites. And we'll sing the lock open."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  14. Christine Royce: "If it's who I think it is, this is Christine... recovered. In what looks like an Old World hotel room, high class, two rooms - exit's sealed. Floor's got holographic security. Not latest tech, field of view targeting systems, primitive. Familiar."
    (Christine Royce's dialogue)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Z-43 Innovative Toxins plant terminals, terminal, Requisition Order: Chemical Suits
  16. Y-0 research center terminals, terminal, Dispenser Funding Update
  17. The Courier: "I don't understand how an Old World casino helps you do any of that."
    Elijah: "The Cloud is unique in my travels. Its proximity to the Sierra Madre isn't a coincidence. Right now it protects this casino, preserves it. It can be used to preserve other Old World relics - and cleanse them, at the same time. And as much as I've researched hologram technology, the Big Empty facility was clear - only the Sierra Madre got Holograms working... properly."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  18. Puesta del Sol switching station terminals, terminal, Status Report
  19. Puesta del Sol switching station terminals, terminal, Suits are here
  20. Puesta del Sol switching station terminals, terminal, Maintenance Report
  21. Puesta del Sol switching station terminals, terminal, Suit Damage
  22. Villa clinic terminals, terminal, Safety Suits
  23. The Courier: "Tell me about the Cloud."
    Dean Domino: "The Cloud? Showed up after the Bomb. I think. I got used to it in small doses. Now, it covers the city. Over the years, it kept climbing up out of the Sierra Madre, until it was curtains for the sun. Didn't see the sky again. Doesn't seem to bother the Ghost People. Can't see through it too well, though, so sometimes I can use the Cloud for cover... if I get desperate."
    (Dean Domino's dialogue)
  24. Dean Domino: "Cloud wasn't always here. Grew over the years, even without cars or factories."
    (Dean Domino's dialogue)
  25. Salida del Sol terminals, terminal, Infrastructure
  26. Little Yangtze terminals, Little Yangtze log terminal, Elijah's Journal - Day 3
  27. Abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker terminals, terminal, Science Entry 112
  28. Elijah win ending of Dead Money
  29. The Courier: "I can't argue that."
    Elijah: "Sources of food, supplies... medical assistance, ammo... make more collars, even print currency. Make a nation. The Cloud allows me to wipe the slate clean. Collars ensure cooperation. Holograms - defense. The Vending Machines provide... everything else. The Sierra Madre can kill nations and build them, using its technology with the right applications."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  30. The Courier: "You want to attack NCR? All of NCR?"
    Elijah: "Attack? No, not attack them. Wipe the slate clean. Make the Mojave like it was meant to be... undisturbed by man. I'll send the Cloud, the Holograms. Bring ruin in my hands until only I stand atop the HELIOS One tower again. I'll scour Hoover Dam with the Cloud, rain its walls with spears from the sun... with an army of Old World ghosts behind me, Holograms all. I'll kill them until it's only me, me alone... in a quiet world. In a world that's nothing like what happened at HELIOS One."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  31. President Kimball: "Private First Class Jeremy Watson, on behalf of the senate and people of the New California Republic, it is my honor to present you with the Star of Sierra Madre."
    (Aaron Kimball's dialogue)
  32. Formspring
  33. James Garcia's portfolio
  34. eastofallen