In 2004, Michael Townley, Trevor Philips and Brad Snider rob a bank in Ludendorff. After locking several hostages in a room, Trevor wires an explosive to the vault doors, and Michael detonates them via his phone. Michael and Trevor enter the vault and steal just under $180,000. As the crew makes their escape, Michael is held at gunpoint by a security guard, who also removes the mask from his head. Michael advises the guard to forget what he saw and leave, but Trevor shoots him in the head.
The trio blow open another door and exit the bank, but are already swarmed by the local law enforcement. A massive gunfight erupts, forcing the crew to hold off the police before escaping. The crew reach their getaway vehicle and proceed to drive away, but they are pursued by more officers, and their hired getaway driver is shot in the head. Michael pushes his body out of the door and grabs the wheel, crashing one of their pursuer's car into a roadside tree. The crew continues towards the helicopter waiting for them, but are forced to divert their course after encountering a police roadblock. They then cross over the train tracks, but the rear end of the vehicle is hit by an oncoming train, causing them to lose control and spin out into a nearby tree. The three survive, and Trevor suggests an alternative route to their getaway chopper, but Michael insists that they stick to the plan.
The crew then continues on foot through the town, but realize the chopper is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, Agent Dave Norton, hiding around a corner, shoots Brad with a Sniper Rifle and kills him. Dave fires again, this time at Michael who falls to the ground. He behaves as if he is injured, though has no visible injuries. Trevor is forced to take out the attacking cops alone, refusing to leave his crew behind, but Michael convinces him to leave. After briefly taking a woman hostage, Trevor successfully escapes into the snowy fields whilst still pursued by armed police officers.
Some time later, in a local cemetery, a funeral for Michael (though it is actually Brad who is being buried) is held. Dave, the sniper who "shot" him, supervises the proceedings, whilst Michael himself watches from the distance and flicks away his cigarette.
The next mission Franklin and Lamar will automatically begin after the introductory theme.
Go to the guard.
After the beginning cutscene, Trevor kicks the door open and the player gains control of Michael. The player has to go to the guard which will trigger the next cutscene.
Aim at the hostages to make them move.
After the cutscene, Trevor leaves to plant the bomb and the player has to aim at hostages to make them walk to a locked room. Killing any hostage will fail the mission. If the player takes no action, Trevor will return commenting on the lack of action and Brad will make the hostages get up and walk to a locked room.
Use the phone to trigger the explosive charge.
When all hostages are locked away, Trevor returns and will tell Michael to detonate the bomb. The player has to take out the cellphone and dial a "Detonate" contact. After dialing "Detonate" a cutscene will show the vault door being blown open.
Collect the cash.
The player has to walk to the vault and pick up the cash when the cutscene ends. The cash is on a trolley in far corner of the room. Cash on the ground is worth $500, totaling to $2,500, and picking it up is optional.
Take out the guard.
Once the cash is collected, Michael is taken hostage by a security guard during a brief cutscene. The player has to switch to Trevor and kill the guard. If the player takes no action or shoots the guard anywhere other than the head, Michael will die, failing the mission.
Get to cover.
Once the guard is taken care of, the crew will proceed further to the exit. The player needs to take cover so that Brad will plant the explosive charges on the door.
Open the shutter door.
After the door is blown up, the next task is to open the shutter door. Walking near the switch will make the player lose control of Trevor who hits the shutter switch automatically, and as such no interaction is necessary. The player receives five wanted stars and has to fight through waves of North Yankton State Patrol officers. First wave consists of two Police Roadcruisers, one Police Rancher, and three on-foot officers. Each vehicle contains two officers.
Return to the crew.
This objective only appears if the player attempts to abandon the crew at any time from the beginning of the shootout up until entering the getaway vehicle. Mission will fail if the player does not return to the crew on time or continues to walk further away from the crew.
Escape the Cops.
Once the player clears the first wave, the player has to leave the lot and move forward. A Police Rancher pulls up with two officers. Then two more Police Roadcruisers pull up, also with two officers, and the player has to kill them.
Get to the car.
Once the second wave is cleared the player has to go to the getaway car. Yet another Police Roadcruiser pulls up with officers that the player has to kill. The player has to go to the getaway vehicle and enter it. Once the player is near the getaway car, two more Police Roadcruisers arrive, forming a roadblock, though the officers are not required to be killed by the player and usually Brad or Michael or Trevor deal with them if the player doesn't.
Wait for the crew.
This objective only appears if the player does not take out the final two officers and goes directly to the getaway vehicle. The player will be able to enter the getaway car once there are no more police officers alive.
Drive to the helicopter pick up point.
After the cutscene, Michael gets control of the getaway car and has to drive forwards to the helicopter pick up point. The player is clear of any wanted level, but if the player hits oncoming Police Roadcruisers the wanted level will be reinstated. Wanted level will, either way, be reinstated at the roadblock further down the road. The player only has to follow the GPS route on the minimap. After tuning right, halfway towards the marker, a cutscene will trigger where the car gets hit by a train and Michael and Brad get shot. Turning back, going off route or getting the car stuck will fail the mission.
Get back in the car.
This objective only appears if the player decides to leave the getaway car. Regardless of the distance, the player will fail the mission after ten seconds of being outside the car.
Hold off the Cops.
When the cutscene is over the player can fight off the cops as Trevor. The player can fight off the officers up to a point there's too much of them or exit the cover and run. Regardless, the final cutscene will play and the next mission will immediately begin.
This mission will fail at any point if the player dies, abandons the crew or the car, runs out of ammo, kills hostages or the crew, makes the car undriveable or abandons the getaway route. It is not possible to get Busted during the mission.
As the car crosses the railroad, the train hits the rear. The car goes out of control and crashes in a tree.
I got it, I...
The car being broken, the crew is forced to continue on foot.
You guys alright?
Fuck! Come on. Ditch the car, alright? We can go this way to the chopper.
No, hey! Stick to the plan.
Stick to the fucking plan! Come on.
Where the fuck's the chopper?
A sniper is seen cocking his rifle hidden behind a shack.
Fuck me, fuck, fuck! I'm gonna check around back.
The sniper hits Brad, who falls to the ground. Trevor gets to cover.
Run! It's the fucking feds! Someone must have fucking talked!
Michael walks towards the wounded Brad and examines his wound.
Alright. Brad's gonna be fine, but we gotta get the fuck outta here!
The sniper hits Michael, who falls to the ground as well. The sniper runs away in the background.
Aw, fuck! I'm hit! Ah, Jesus. T., you gotta get outta here.
Ain't gonna leave you, Mikey!
Go! God, I'm not gonna make it. Fucking gonna bleed out. Aw, go...
Police cars arrive on scene.
After shooting cops, Trevor escapes. A woman passes by.
Hey, you! Hey!
The woman tries to escape, but Trevor catches her and holds her as hostage while three officers arrive.
Oh, god! Don't shoot!
Where's the chopper?
I don't know what you're talking about!
*to the officers* Fucking stay back! You come near me, she's fuckin' dead! Stay back!
Trevor releases his hostage and runs away. The woman runs towards the officers.
Oh, god! Help me, help me!
An officer takes the woman in his arms. He raises his hand.
*to the officers* Go go!
The two officers pursue Trevor as he escapes in the fog. The view then switches to the graveyard, where multiple people, including a preacher, are gathered around Michael Townley's grave. A woman is seen crying.
Michael was not always a good husband. Not always a good citizen. He did not die a hero's death. But he was a man. Our Lord was crucified with two thieves, so perhaps, we should not judge.. Michael.
Dave Norton is seen. Credits appear on-screen. Michael is seen close to the graveyard, smoking.
We are born of sin, and we die in sin...And in this, Michael...was like anybody else. Father, we do not know your infinite mysteries. But we know...that you will show mercy to our friend.
Michael tosses his cigarette and walks away. Grand Theft Auto V's wordmark appears on-screen.
This is, chronologically, the first mission in the HD Universe, taking place four years before the events of GTA IV.
This mission is set either in December or early January 2004 (for the latter, after Christmas Eve 2003, but prior to that 2004's Twelfth Night), due to a Christmas tree being visible in the window of the house to the right of the barn during the final shootout as well as Christmas decorations around the main sign in the bank's foyer. Interestingly enough, when the player returns to North Yankton in the mission Bury the Hatchet, the Christmas tree is still up. This is most likely just a developer oversight, as the North Yankton setting would have simply just been re-used with no changes made to it. This does not necessarily mean that Bury The Hatchet is also set in December nor January.
Due to the mission being set nine years before the main storyline, Michael and Trevor's appearances are considerably different. Trevor has a near full head of hair and a mullet with a mustache as opposed to his receding hair in the main storyline. He also lacks most of his facial scars. Michael has fewer wrinkles and a shorter haircut.
Also, Michael and Trevor's character icons in the selection wheel show their 2004 appearances rather than their 2013 appearance. Trevor's icon shows him wearing the ski goggles and the balaclava until the shootout with the police when he takes his mask off, then his icon changes to show his 2004 face.
This is technically the first heist in the game; however, it is not counted as one.
During the mission Friends Reunited, Trevor will mention that after Michael and Amanda got married and had kids, Michael became "soft" and was less interested in crime and violence. This can be seen here as, while Trevor shouts and attacks the hostages, Michael will instead talk to them calmly to get them to the other room.
The aiming in this mission is set to "Traditional GTA" by default.
Michael and Trevor cannot use their special abilities in this mission.
If Michael is taking too long in moving the hostages inside the room, Brad will come and do that for him.
In the original version of the game, Dave wears sunglasses whilst observing "Michael"'s funeral. In the enhanced version, he wears a beanie hat instead.
If Michael or Trevor are killed at any time during the mission, the mission will fail and the text displayed will say "M died" or "T died" due to both characters not being properly introduced by name until the next mission.
The early version of this mission can be seen in the second trailer. In it, the team wore slightly different outfits.
Michael and Trevor's outfits from the Prologue can be worn after GTA V is complete (however, the player must choose the Deathwish ending if they want both characters to wear their outfits).
The jacket Michael wears during the funeral can only be worn if one was to have the Special/Collector's edition, or the enhanced version (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Some police officers in the mission have the same character model as Dave Norton in this mission.
A dead security guard with a gunshot wound in his head can be found outside the bank.
There are five small wads of money on the floor after entering the depository. They add $500 each ($2500 total) to this heist's reward and also to Michael's “Money picked up” statistic.
Foreshadowing later revelations about the background of this mission, Michael does not bleed out at all when he is shot, as compared to Brad, who bleeds after he is shot. It is explained later in the game that Michael was wearing a bulletproof vest and the entire mission was a setup to get Trevor and Brad both killed/arrested so that Michael could end his criminal life and live in peace in Los Santos. Another piece of foreshadowing seen in this mission is after the security guard is shot by Trevor, and Michael tells Trevor that he didn't have to do that; Trevor replies with "There will be time for grieving later" to which Michael says, "You've got that right". This is a reference to the plan that Michael and Dave had set up already before the heist.
Despite that, Michael does not have any body armor in the mission, most likely to not reveal too much of the plot before the player is able to find out themselves.
During the cutscene when Michael tells Trevor to run and he is going to bleed out, Brad can be seen finally succumbing to his wounds, and his body will not move after this, indicating that he has died.
As with all the other missions (with the exception of Dead Man Walking), if the player chooses to replay this level anytime during the main storyline, the character's weapon wheel will have the weapons already collected in-game.
If Trevor's Carbine Rifle has a Suppressor, when shooting at the police from the getaway vehicle, the muzzle flash will appear as if the suppressor wasn't there; also, the gun's sound will not be suppressed.
Similarly, if Michael's Carbine Rifle has a Suppressor, once he proceeds to take the money in the cutscene, the weapon is placed near the wall and the suppressor will trespass through it.
The left headlight and some windows of the getaway vehicle will be broken before the player gains control of it. However, if the player fails this sequence (either by abandoning car or changing route) and repeats it, the car will be in almost perfect condition with only the windshield broken.
After Trevor kills the guard, he can return to the area with the hostages, but there is nothing to interact with.
It is possible to crash into the oncoming police car with the getaway vehicle, though it changes nothing.
During the final shootout Brad's shotgun cannot be picked up (even though it flashes like any other dropped weapon), since leaving the cover will automatically skip the shootout and end the mission.
Trevor and Brad's balaclava designs are unique to this mission, Brad wears a striped balaclava and ski goggles, while Trevor wears a stripped balaclava and a ski mask/face guard combo. These are not obtainable and only appear in this mission, they are possibly exclusive to Ludendorff ski shops, as it snows a lot there.
The wanted level in this mission does not add time to the wanted level-focused stats (Last Wanted Level duration, Longest Wanted Level duration, and Time spent with a 5 star Wanted Level) for Michael and Trevor.
When directing the hostages inside the room, a Windows Vista background can be seen on the computer on the desk to the right. However, Windows Vista wasn't released until 2006, two years after this mission is set.
If the player drives the getaway vehicle off the road and onto the frozen river underneath the bridge near the train tracks, they can see an alien frozen in the ice.