For other characters in the Fallout universe named Graham, see Graham. For other characters named Joshua, see Joshua.
“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.”
Joshua Graham (known formerly as the Malpais Legate, and in folk legends as the Burned Man) is a Mormon missionary, co-founder of Caesar's Legion, and its first Legate.
Graham led Caesar's troops to a humiliating defeat in the First Battle of Hoover Dam. Afterwards, Caesar, showing that failure was unacceptable regardless of rank, ordered him to be coated in pitch, lit on fire, and tossed into the Grand Canyon. He 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 Ogden, Utah and spent his formative years learning to do the work of a missionary. In 2246, he left to spread the word of God across the wastes. He traveled across the I-15 and Route 89 south to Arizona. It was there, in the Grand Canyon, that he would have his fateful encounter with two Followers of the Apocalypse, Bill Calhoun and Edward Sallow, who had been dispatched to study the tribal dialects that had begun to emerge in the post-apocalyptic world. Graham, who was fluent in many of these languages, decided to help them on their task and joined their nine-person expedition.
In 2247, the group visited the Blackfoot tribe. Whether they were tricked or whether Graham made an error with translation is not clear. What is known is that the small group of Followers soon realized that they would not be allowed to leave. At the time, the Blackfoots were at war with seven other tribes, a war they were clearly losing. Unwilling to be destroyed along with them, and against the wishes of Calhoun, Sallow chose to use his knowledge to train the Blackfoot tribe in the art of warfare after witnessing their lack of knowledge firsthand. He showed them how to clean and maintain guns, operate with small unit tactics, create their own explosives, and to strike at their weakest enemies first: divide et impera - divide and conquer. He quickly impressed them enough to the point where he was made their leader and took the name "Caesar." Joshua Graham remained with Caesar as a translator, but soon enough, translation became giving orders, and giving orders became leading in battle, training, and terrorizing. Calhoun, for his part, was sent back to the Followers to inform them of Caesar's actions. Eventually, all seven tribes were either destroyed or incorporated into Caesar's army, and at this time, Caesar, together with Graham, formed Caesar's Legion out of the tribes that had either been conquered or had chosen to capitulate to avoid extermination, and Graham became Caesar's first Legate.
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. His death at the hands of 1st Recon sharpshooters was reported no less than five times. Such was Caesar's trust in him that he was tasked with leading The Legion at the First Battle of Hoover Dam, so that they could use it as a power source and a staging point from where they could eventually take the city of New Vegas. The Legion was initially successful, and the NCR initiated a tactical retreat to Boulder City, laying explosives and sniping Legion officers as they approached. Graham, unable to adapt his tactics, and intoxicated with his own victory, did not know of the C4 until it was too late, and the Legion were dealt a crushing blow, as the city exploded around them. Caesar, infuriated with this loss, held Graham personally responsible and ordered his execution. The Legate was coated in pitch, set on fire and thrown into the Grand Canyon by the praetorian guard as an example to the rest of the Legion that Caesar wouldn't accept failure from even the highest-ranked members.
“After the Legion lost the Battle of Hoover Dam, Caesar had his legate, Joshua Graham, covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon. Superstitious legionaries and tribals believe he lives on as the Burned Man.”— Fallout: New Vegas loading screen
Even years after what is generally assumed to be his death, Caesar's Legion still does not speak of him by his true name under penalty of death, on the orders of Caesar. Any rumors of his survival are played down by the higher ranks of the Legion, but lower ranking legionaries, tribals and slaves speak of the Burned Man as if he was a vengeful spirit, waiting to return. Caesar is very much aware of his survival, sending scouts and assassins to patrol the territory east of the Colorado River for any sign of him, fearing that the Burned Man may seek revenge.
His second baptism at the hands of the Legion and subsequent survival transformed him, rekindled his faith and removed his pride and vanity. After an agonizing three-month journey, he returned to New Canaan, where he was welcomed as if he had never done anything to shame them. His return would inevitably mean doom for the Mormon city, as Caesar desperately wished to see him dead. In 2281, the White Legs, on orders from Caesar, wiped out the majority of the city's residents. The remaining thirty or so refugees scattered, and Daniel, a Mormon missionary, and Graham made their way towards Zion Canyon, where they settled together with the native tribes. Still pursued by the tribe, Graham invested his efforts defending the valley, becoming the War Chief of the Dead Horses and attempting to rally them against the White Legs as Caesar had rallied the Blackfoots against their enemies years ago. In the hopes of breaking the spine of the enemy tribe and taking vengeance for New Canaan, as well as finding redemption for his past crimes.
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 perpetrating 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.
Joshua Graham (then referred to as the "Hanged Man") was to be a CNPC in Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios. He was to be the first, and statistically best, CNPC that the player character encountered, but was also very evil and in some ways made the game extremely difficult for a character with poor negotiating skills. He was intended to be a "jinxed" non-player character, like the pariah dog.
The Prisoner was to encounter somebody hanged by the neck from a pole at Fort Abandon, obviously still alive and enraged. If cut down, the Hanged Man would tag along with the Prisoner. He was wrapped from head to toe in bandages as he had been burned all over his entire body. Save for the fact that he had a connection to Caesar's Legion and was particularly ticked off at them, he would not provide many details about himself.
Rescuing the Hanged Man would cause all the tribals in the region to be angry with the Prisoner as the tribals would blame him for future crimes committed by the Hanged Man. In addition, the Hanged Man may anger any tribals he encounters and try to butcher any Twin Mothers tribals he could find. Having him in the party would make dealing with tribals and some towns extremely difficult.
The Hanged Man would not enter New Canaan. Upon arrival, he would initiate dialogue with the Prisoner and tell him/her that he had something to take care of, offering to meet at Burham Springs later on. Bishop Mordecai would be able to reveal some details about him.
Upon entering Burham Springs, the Hanged Man might quote 2 Chronicles 28. The Hanged Man would laughingly refuse to drop his weapons if commanded to by Phil, possibly even inciting Phil to open fire on the party. It would be very difficult for the Prisoner to defuse the situation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He is also a master with melee weapons and uses the butt end of his unique .45 Auto pistol as a powerful melee weapon.
In-game, Joshua's bandages cover most of his face, and despite being horrifically burned, the flesh around his eyes appears slightly grey and his eyebrows appear to have been able to regrow fine.
When first entering 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.
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 has killed Caesar, they will have a dialogue option to tell Graham that Caesar is dead. He does not give much of a reaction, but notes his surprise that Caesar died before he did and gives his opinion about the future of the Legion. He believes that Legate Lanius is not capable in leading the Legion in the long run and states it has died alongside with Caesar.
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. He mentions the pain he feels when removing the bandages, saying it feels the same as when he was set on fire and tossed into the Grand Canyon. He does this because "it is better to be clean than comfortable," implying that he replaces his bandages daily to avoid infection.
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 more gray around his eyes.
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.
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.
If the Courier throws frag mines around Graham when he is following them, he will tell them not to throw mines all over Zion.
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.
Joshua Graham is one of the few named non-player characters in the game to be affected by the Sneering Imperialist perk.
"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."
"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 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!"
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).
His first name is a reference to the Book of Joshua which tells the campaigns of the Israelites in Canaan.
Within the G.E.C.K. there exist references to a map above the western 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. Notably, a reference for Benny is found there, should he survive the events that took place at the Fort.
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" which is the conferring of the Holy Ghost.
The following is based on unverified behind the scenes information and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
Joshua Graham states he and the Dead Horses use 45. Auto Pistols because he actually descends from its creator's tribe, implied to be the Mormons. 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 close to where New Canaan would be in the Fallout universe.
End of information based on unverified behind the scenes information.
“It's not as simple as being "set on fire". After suffering a terrible failure, he was humiliated by his superior and the people he commanded. He was cast out and left for dead. His entire reason for living was gone. When your entire way of life is completely destroyed, it has a profound impact on how you view yourself and your place in the world. Because all momentum is lost, the experience causes you to evaluate and re-evaluate how you have reached this point -- and how to move forward.
There are thousands, if not millions, of examples of soldiers in history who engaged in ruthless -- often cruel -- behavior in times of war only to either return to an "ordinary" civilized life later. Some of them have no problem with what they did, others repress their memories as much as they can, and still others suffer strong crises of conscience that force profound changes in them. As Graham describes, his path to becoming the Malpais Legate was made up of many small compromises that turned increasingly sinister and brutal. At first he thought he was making the best of a bad situation and doing what needed to be done, but in the end he and Caesar had built a society on a foundation of fear and brutality. Caesar had a more grand vision for where the Legion was going, but Joshua Graham was caught up in the day to day maintenance of a tribal army engaged in bleak and often monstrous behavior. It was not until he was removed from that environment that he was able to reflect on his past. He could have chosen to blame Caesar, but in the end he blamed himself. The only people he knew in the world who could possibly accept him were the New Canaanites, so that's where he headed.”— J. E. Sawyer