Immediately the game grabs hold of you and pulls you in. There is a series of events in the beginning of the game that serve to drop you in to the old west and set up the story. After initial events settle down the world opens up. You can choose to pursue the next story related objective, or work on dozens of other side objectives such as sharp shooting, cattle herding, helping out strangers, killing and skinning the wildlife, dueling, foraging for herbs, hunting for treasure, shooting outlaws or just run around lost in the desert. In fact, there are so many side-quests that after spending hours watching me play this game my wife still had no idea what the whole point of the game was.
The game has shortcomings but I enjoyed playing it so much they were pretty easy to look past. There are bugs a plenty in this game that pop up in oddball spots. The controls can also be frustrating at times. In one memorable example I was chasing down an outlaw and due to a control snafu I found myself leaping off a cliff onto the roof of a house. After landing the horse and I fell to the ground so I pulled out my gun to shoot the outlaw but when I fired the horse jumped in front of me and I shot him in the head. Without a horse the outlaw easily outran me and I was forced to replay the mission. Most of the accidents ended up being quite comical and would made excellent stories at work the next day.
* Tons of extra content.