Eagle Flies is one of the more prominent secondary characters that Arthur Morgan meets in Red Dead Redemption 2. As the son of Rains Fall, Eagle Flies represents a core of young Native American warriors who wish to continue the armed struggle against the U.S. government. This inevitably puts Eagle Flies into conflict with his father, who ultimately believes in a more peaceful strategy to preserve the tribe’s survival.
The rift between father and son regrettably leads to tragedy in the end. Eagle Flies, like several other characters in the game, is a flawed individual. His deeply ingrained sense of honor and bravado leads to his downfall despite his noble intentions.
Compared to his father, Eagle Flies is a very angry individual, and for good reason. It’s clear that the Wapiti tribe had once violently struggled against the U.S. government’s westward expansion. Conflicts with the U.S. Army inevitably occurred as it did in real life. It was a struggle the Wapiti have clearly lost by 1899. Resentment within the tribe still exists by the time Arthur Morgan encounters them on their reservation.
But for Eagle Flies, the resentment goes a little deeper than just losing a war. It’s revealed that his mother and brother were killed rather gruesomely by the U.S. Army at some point prior to 1899. Whereas Rains Fall is quietly mournful, his last surviving son is more vocal. Personal revenge clearly plays a role in Eagle Flies’ motivations. He believes his father’s policies are a sign of weakness rather than wisdom. Both men are unable to resolve each of their legitimate points-of-view in a constructive manner.
Throughout the course of the game’s plot, Dutch consistently displays his scheming nature. Although ostensibly done for the betterment of the group, Dutch’s machinations often spell trouble for the others involved. A prime example of this can be seen in Dutch’s treatment of Eagle Flies. The shrewd gang leader picks up on the young warrior’s hatred toward the U.S. government. Dutch uses this knowledge to his benefit to deflect attention away from the gang and place it on the Wapiti tribe instead.
With Dutch subtly pulling the strings, Eagle Flies launches various attacks against the U.S. Army. One such attack is put into motion to recover a herd of horses for the tribe. Another involves ambushing a column of soldiers in order to tar and feather them. Unfortunately, the plan goes awry when Army reinforcements arrive on the scene, forcing the small band of Native Americans into a hasty retreat. Eagle Flies is taken captive and sent to Fort Wallace, where he is eventually rescued by Arthur and Charles Smith.
The Wapiti tribe is in a state of flux at the start of the game. Two modes of thinking seem to dominate the discussion. The pacifistic approach is advocated by Rains Fall, the chief of the Wapiti. Rains Fall is convinced that the continued use of violence as a tool of opposition is pointless. Further bloodshed would only result in more death for his own people and would shatter any lingering hope for a future that involves living peacefully in America.
Eagle Flies holds the opposite opinion. He is well-aware that previous treaties have been violated in the past. The discovery of oil on the Wapiti Reservation makes it likely the government will once again try to renege on their promises. Eagle Flies believes it’s better to take a more aggressive stance rather than roll lover. His beliefs are somewhat justified when the negotiations with Colonel Favours break down in acrimony. In the end, Rains Fall’s plans for peace are ignored. The younger generation sides with Eagle Flies and results in disastrous consequences.
Eagles Flies’ boldest act proves to be his undoing. He attacks an oil refinery belonging to Leviticus Cornwall with a band of like-minded followers. Arthur arrives on the scene to aid the outmatched Wapiti warriors. During the course of the struggle, Eagle Flies actually saves Arthur’s life after he is cornered by a group of soldiers. Unfortunately, Eagle Flies himself is subsequently shot by Colonel Favours. He dies from his mortal wound shortly thereafter in the arms of his father.
The ramifications of the attack on the refinery for the Wapiti are dire. They are forced to abandon their reservation once and for all by the U.S. Army. Rains Fall, devastated by the loss of his only surviving son, relocates the Wapiti to Canada. Ironically, after the departure of the tribe, a newspaper article states that very little oil was found on the reservation. By 1907, the site is wholly abandoned. If John Marston meets with Rains Fall in the Epilogue sequence it’s clear that the latter is still visibly shaken by the loss of his loved one.