A former Powder Ganger, Oliver Swanick was captured in the Legion's "cleansing" of the town of Nipton. As the winner of Nipton's lottery, he was the only person allowed to leave the town alive and unharmed (in the pre-release version of the game the town mayor was to also survive, having also won the "lottery"). When first encountered he is excessively jubilant over this fact. He will run up to you and say he "won it" over and over again.
After first meeting the Courier, Oliver Swanick may run directly to the Scorpion Burrow's entrance and remain there forever. If panicked by nearby radscorpions, he may sometimes flee into the nest, and will most likely be killed by the radscorpion queen residing in the area. Swanick may also run to the Nipton Road pit stop, where he will almost certainly be killed by the Jackals camping there.
Swanick had previously been set as a respawning non-player character, resulting in him resurrecting every 3 days if killed. This has been corrected in the most recent patch of the game. The patch also seems to cause Swanick to simply keel over dead once he reaches his destination. The patch causes many previously permanent minor non-player characters to die or disappear from the game world once their role in the story is finished, to free up resources due to the added burden of the DLC content on the game's cache.