Life is Strange Wiki
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Life is Strange

"Welcome to American Rust. My home away from hell." - "Raw and rough. It suits you..." — Conversation between Chloe Price and Max Caulfield in "Out of Time"

American Rust is Arcadia Bay's junkyard located next to the train tracks. It is considered by Chloe Price as her "home away from Hell."

Chloe and Rachel Amber spent a lot of time here, as evident from their hideout in a wrecked outhouse which is covered in their belongings and graffiti.

It is an explorable area in Episode 2 and is featured again in Episode 4. The junkyard is also featured in Before the Storm, the prequel to the events of Life is Strange.

Episode Two - "Out of Time"

Full view junkard.jpg

In this episode, Chloe and her best friend, Max Caulfield, hang out in the junkyard to practice shooting with David Madsen's stolen gun. Chloe asks Max to find empty bottles for a make-shift gun range while she sets it up and drinks.

Max has to explore the junkyard to find bottles hidden around the garbage. After bringing the bottles back to Chloe, Max assists her with aiming at the bottles using her rewind power. The two girls destroy the range and an old car. It is possible here for Chloe to accidentally shoot herself after shooting the car bumper, as the bullet will bounce back and hit her. Max rewinds to save her, and the scene continues.

Max passes out from overuse of her power and has a conversation with Chloe about Rachel before having her turn with the gun. Before she can use the weapon, the girls are interrupted by Frank Bowers, who followed the girls to the junkyard and heard the noises of breaking glass and gunshots. Max hides the gun behind her back. He threatens Chloe, asking for his money back. She gets angry with him after seeing he is wearing Rachel Amber's bracelet, and he pulls a knife on her. Max reacts instinctively and points the gun at Frank. She has the choice to shoot him or not shoot him.

Don't shoot Frank
Max decides to not shoot Frank. He slowly approaches Max and ultimately takes the gun from her and then leaves. Chloe initially complains about Max not sticking up to Frank but ultimately tells Max that she is happy things went down as peacefully as they did. She would really just rather still have the gun to protect herself from Nathan.

Shoot Frank
Max attempts to shoot Frank. The gun is already out of bullets and makes an audible click as she pulls the trigger. Frank warns Max that he will never forget her face as she almost shot him and leaves. Chloe cheers about Max being a badass.

The two girls then leave the junkyard after the encounter with Frank and head off towards the train tracks which lie parallel to the junkyard.

Episode Four - "Dark Room"

In this episode, the girls head to the junkyard after seeing pictures in the Dark Room of Rachel Amber with Nathan Prescott lying dazed and drugged among the garbage. Chloe recognizes the spot and rushes there with Max. They discover the body of Rachel Amber and retch at the foul smell of decay. The doe once again appears as Max comforts Chloe.

The girls return once more to the junkyard after a text from Nathan about him disposing of Rachel's body. They return to the spot to discover the body is still present. However, before they can act, Max is drugged with a needle in the neck which subdues her rewind power. Chloe is then shot in the forehead by Mark Jefferson, and the episode ends.

Max can explore the junkyard instead of following Chloe if players wish. The lighthouse can be seen in the distance giving off its usual light. In Chloe and Rachel's hideout, there may be a message on a wall, which is influenced by Max's decision earlier in the game of whether or not to add her name to the wall next to Rachel and Chloe's.

An owl crosses the path of Max and Chloe during their walk towards Rachel's burial site. This owl is thought by some to be symbolic of Mr. Jefferson's spirit animal and is representative of oncoming death in many instances of folklore across the world. This would make sense when considering that Jefferson's next appearance will be after Chloe's death. Interestingly, owls feature in Michel Koch's favorite TV show, Twin Peaks,[1] where they are believed to be vessels for evil spirits.[2]


There are many objects which Max can examine throughout the junkyard in Episode 2:

PC users: Hover over the text to see Max's comments. See here for all interactions in the game.
  • She can look at, speak to and take an optional photo of Chloe Price. (Comment: Look #1: "That's my Chloe..."
    Look #2: "Look at her. Chloe can even chill out playing with a gun..."
    Look #3: "Chloe is waiting to go for a walk. We both need a time-out from here...")
  • She can look at and pick up five bottles at different locations in the junkyard (required). (Comment: On the refrigerator: "Look who we have here... a cute little bottle for the taking..."
    At the party pit: "Oh yes, we can use this one for a target."
    On the boat (from the ground): "I bet I could get on that boat from a higher location."
    On the boat (from the boat): "Cool! At least not everything is broken around here."
    On a junk car: "Coming this fall... Max Caulfield, Bottle Hunter."
    In the hideout: "Oh, there you are, li'l bottle... trying to play hide and seek?")
  • She can look at three different wrecked cars. (Comment: "Every car has its own tale and history..."
    "All this rusted metal makes me feel serene... Am I morbid or just goth?"
    "I wonder if Chloe thinks about her father when she looks at all these smashed up cars...")
  • She can look at a "Pacific Steve's Famous Crab" sign. (Comment: "No way... I totally remember going there when I was a kid.
    I loved the hushpuppies. Now the sign is just Arcadia Bay junk...")
  • She can look at and take an optional photo of the school bus. (Comment: "It's hard to believe that was once on the road, filled with dozens of students...")
  • She can look at a grounded boat. (Comment: "So sad to look at a grounded boat... I wonder who owned that and where they are now...")
  • She can look at a broken camera. (Comment: "Beyond repair. Rest in peace...")
  • She can look at a washing machine. (Comment: "I wonder how many generations of fashion went through that washing machine...")
  • She can look at an old doll. (Comment: "Aw, poor thing. They left you here all alone...")
  • She can look at and take an optional photo of the Doe. (Comment: "Wowser, that looks exactly like the same doe from my tornado vision..."
    "That doe is the perfect photo op..."
    "She's staring at me as if we have a connection...")
  • She can look at a torn punk shirt. (Comment: "This was an old-school punk shirt...")
  • She can look at another shirt near Chloe and Rachel's hideout. (Comment: "This is the scariest thing here...")
  • She can look at and add her name to the graffiti on the hideout wall. (Comment: Look: "I don't want to intrude, but... I was here."
    Write: "Now we're officially a trio... we just have to find Rachel.")
  • She can look at a Vortex Club party leaflet. (Comment: "So Rachel did go to a Vortex Club party... This flyer is dated right before she disappeared...")
  • She can look at a sheet of paper with "I WANT TO DIE" written on it. (Comment: "'I want to die.' Jeez. Who wrote this?")
  • She can look at a graffiti inside the hideout. (Comment: "Ouch.")
  • She can look at a CD titled "Rachel Songs". (Comment: "'Rachel songs.' I wonder if Chloe would ever make me a mixtape.")
  • She can look at a makeup case inside the hideout. (Comment: "I can't see Chloe playing with makeup...")
  • She can look at three photos of Chloe and Rachel. (Comment: "They really were besties. That could have been me instead of Rachel...")
  • She can look at a handmade bracelet inside the hideout. (Comment: "That kinda hurts...")
  • She can look at a rave flyer inside the hideout. (Comment: "They would have gone all the way to Los Angeles for a rave. Looks fun.")
  • She can look at a letter from Rachel to Chloe inside the hideout. (Comment: "Now what's up with this weird secret relationship? Sounds like Rachel was confused
    about it, maybe even ashamed... I wish she named names. I better not show this to Chloe
    or she will be seriously hurt.")
  • She can look at an "Eat shit and live" graffiti outside the hideout. (Comment: "Thanks for the tip.")
  • She can look at and move a wooden plank. (Comment: Look: "Hmmm... I could use this board as a bridge. Doesn't look too heavy..."
    Move: "Way heavier than I thought... Oof!")
  • She can look at several gun shells. (Comment: "Those shells look fresh...")
  • She can look at several old syringes. (Comment: "Oh gross! So disturbing to see old syringes on the ground...")
  • She can look at a deflated football. (Comment: "The Bigfoots were here...")
  • She can look at a campfire in the "party pit". (Comment: "I'm sure this is a popular party pit.")
  • She can sit on a chair on the grounded boat to have a Moment of Calm.
  • She can have another Moment of Calm by sitting near a stump in the far end of the junkyard.

Optional Photos

Episode Two - "Out of Time"

  • Max can take a photo of the spirit Doe, which appears to her on the grassy area to the far side of the yard.
  • The derelict bus in the junkyard can be photographed.
  • There is also the option for Max to photograph Chloe resting on the hood of one of the cars after she passes out, but before Frank arrives.



  • The junkyard's name "American Rust" might be a reference to Philipp Meyer's same-titled novel American Rust. American Rust is a novel "of the lost American dream and the desperation--as well as the acts of friendship, loyalty, and love--that arises from its loss."[3]
  • The junkyard was inspired by real locations in the Oregon area. At Michel Koch's Masterclass interview[4] some of those images that were used as a reference are shown.

    Train illustration from Max's diary.

  • The train that passes by in "Out of Time" has the number 1337. It later appears derailed on the Two Whales Diner street in "Polarized" as a consequence of the storm.
  • Near to the spot where Max first notices the doe, there is a "piece of clothing" - a punk-rock shirt similar to Rachel's style - torn and hanging near the spot. If she interacts with this clothing, she will say, "This was an old-school punk shirt..." The game asset for this shirt is named TX_Fab_JnkRachPnk_D, which suggests that it indeed belonged to Rachel Amber.
  • The number on the bus in the junkyard is "142". This is likely a reference to Bus 142, a derelict bus that once sat along the Stampede Trail near Denali, Alaska. Adventurer and hiker Chris McCandless lived out of this bus for several months while attempting to live off the land, before eventually dying of starvation. Chris's story is the subject of Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild, and a film adaptation of the same name.


  1. Michel Koch is a big fan of the Twin Peaks series, which he refers to in a 2015 Gamespot interview as his favorite series of all time, hence the great influence on Life Is Strange. See here to look at the numerous works that influenced Life Is Strange, including the Twin Peaks series.
  2. A well-known phrase from Twin Peaks is "The owls are not what they seem." The meaning of this has been widely debated by fans of the show for many years. The following Article summarizes some of the most popular owl theories in Twin Peaks.