Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans

***Lite spoilers for the first act of Red Dead Redemption***

Tonight my plan was to head to Mexico.  The previous evening I had just finished Act 1 before saving my game and calling it a night. I set my waypoint for the quest NPC, jumped on my horse, and started out of  MacFarlane's Ranch intending to head south to meet the NPC for the next story mission. I take about 5 strides when a women starts shouting that someone has stolen her horse. Being an honorable cowboy, I take off after the thief and begin a long chase to the east taking me towards Thieves' Landing. I'm not that accurate with the lasso but after some time the bandit is on the ground hogtied. I leave him there and start back towards the ranch with the stolen horse - but not before noticing a question mark on my minimap.  I return the horse, get my reward and, forgetting Mexico entirely, ride back east to check out that question mark.  
A poor old man wants me to pick three different kinds of flowers for his wife. That didn't sound too hard when he said it, but It turns out these flowers are scattered all across New Austin. The first one is relatively nearby, but the other two are way to the west near Gaptooth Ridge. I am annoyed, but I'm too far in to call it quits so off I go - through the ranch, through Armadillo, on out into the wilderness. I'm almost to the ridge when I hear another woman shouting for help. I think to myself that it must be another horse thief and head towards the screaming. I get close and before I know it I'm facing a half-dozen bandits with guns drawn. What a clever little bitch. I'm given the option to pay them off but I'm pissed and they're all going to die. Unfortunately, I still have my lasso equipped and even with Dead-Eye activated, I die a pretty quick death.    
I respawn north of Gaptooth Ridge,  in Rathskeller Fork, and walk out into the hotel lobby. There is a blackjack table and, having only tried some horseshoes and five finger fillet, I figure I'll give it a try. I am quickly up 60 chips and thinking this is an insanely easy way to make some quick cash. Then I'm up 30, then 10, then I'm 20 chips underwater. Over an HOUR later I bust out of the game. I take out my frustrations on a few bandits on my way back to Gaptooth Ridge and finally collect enough of the last two flowers for the quest.  I head back across New Austin - stopping a runaway convict or two, saving some poor guy from becoming wolf kibble. I hear a woman screaming off in the distance and ... I keep right on going. Eventually, I make it back to the old man with the flowers and he's very grateful. I get invited inside for tea and  - the less said the better.   
The old man is taken care of so I head back towards MacFarlane's Ranch. I set my waypoint to the story NPC just as I had done close to three hours ago and then I realize it's 11PM and I'm out of time.  Maybe tomorrow I'll actually get to Mexico.