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He's got his reasons. And when that man gets a notion stuck in his head, he's like a Bighorn bull that's seen red.Ethel Phebus

Walter Phebus is a Californian bighorner rancher who has traveled to New Vegas in 2281, in hopes of getting revenge on Heck Gunderson.


Walter Phebus is bighorner rancher and brahmin baron[1] who has been herding bighorners since he was young.[2] Walter lives back west on Phebus Ranch with his wife Ethel. However, he has allegedly had some of his land taken by force by Heck Gunderson and his men at gunpoint.[3][4] Phebus, deciding that Gunderson needs to be taken down, has followed him to New Vegas, with his wife Ethel Phebus, seeking his revenge.[5] He is also a very stubborn man.[6]

Interactions with the player character

Interactions overview

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This character starts quests.


  • Pheeble Will: Walter Phebus wants Heck Gunderson to suffer because Heck has used threats of violence and intimidation to secure his ranching monopoly.


Apparel Weapon Other items On death
Well-heeled gambler suit
Desperado cowboy hat
Reading glasses


  • Walter and his wife will continue to mill around the Strip even after they choose to return to their ranch.
  • If Walter is at the Las Vegas Boulevard Station, he will not react to any acts of violence committed.
  • If his wife is killed, he will be distraught and mention that before joining her "someone's gonna pay first," though he will not attack the Courier.

Notable quotes


Walter Phebus appears only in Fallout: New Vegas.


It is possible to pickpocket Walter Phebus infinitely. Each time the player character attempts to pickpocket him, they lose karma but the item is never removed from his inventory. If one has a high enough sneak skill. With a high enough sneak skill, this glitch can be exploited to get the Artful Pocketer achievement very easily. The item selected is never actually added to one's inventory, however each time take the Karma loss is taken and the inventory menu is exited, it counts as a successful pickpocket. [verification overdue]


  1. How come the Fallout setting has all kinds of big casinos and weapons manufacturers, but no company that produces food? You'd think producing edible food would be a top priority but everyone just eats old, scavenged, rotten junk food from before the war.
    Joshua Sawyer: "That's not true. In the Mojave Wasteland, there are a lot of personal farms in communities and larger farms near New Vegas proper. OSI runs sharecropper farms northeast of Camp McCarran and the Westside Co-op is a shared community farm. Also, guys like Heck Gunderson and Walter Phebus are NCR "brahmin barons" and supply a large amount of the area's meat."
    Josh Sawyer Formspring answers
  2. The Courier: "Are you a Bighorn rancher?"
    Walter Phebus: "Bighorners' my trade since I was a youngin. I confess it's hard living these days, kid. The Wasteland ain't the same anymore."
    (Walter Phebus' dialogue)
  3. The Courier: "Were are you from?"
    Ethel Phebus: "Oh, a good ways west of here, in a place you've never been. Far as we concerned, only name it ever had was "Phebus Ranch." That was before we lost some land to Heck Gunderson. The bank demanded payment in full the day after the Stockmen's Association bailed it out."
    (Ethel Phebus' dialogue)
  4. The Courier: "What was that about settling a score?"
    Walter Phebus: "There's a long list of grievances that Heck Gunderson's got to answer for, kid. I'm here to make sure that "rancher" stops stealing our lands. If he ain't chiseling behind your back, he just sends his men, ready for a fight. Then you either "sell" your ranch for a penny or you're dead. I'm tired of being trampled over, kid, and I got a good mind to stop Heck once and for all."
    (Walter Phebus' dialogue)
  5. The Courier: "What's life like as a Bighorn rancher?"
    Ethel Phebus: "A good life if you don't mind hard work. The only real fuss is the constant bother with varmints. Fail to catch Molerats early in their breeding, and you'll have three or four head breaking their ankles in Molerat holes every day. Of course, the worst varmint at all is a Brahmin Baron with his hands in the pockets of a Republic senator. That's a problem you can't solve with a Varmint Rifle, though I fear my husband's apt to try. He's got Heck Gunderson in his sights right now."
    (Ethel Phebus' dialogue)
  6. The Courier: "What are you and he up to on the Strip?"
    Ethel Phebus: "He's got his reasons. And when that man gets a notion stuck in his head, he's like a Bighorner bull that's seen red. And if it means Heck Gunderson's involved, then you better step aside before the stampede tramples you over."
    (Ethel Phebus' dialogue)