The game was originally developed and to be published by Capcom, borrowing elements from their 1985 title Gun.Smoke. The project was put into limbo when Angel Studios was purchased by Rockstar Games in November 2002 and became Rockstar San Diego.Rockstar Games purchased the rights from Capcom and expanded on it. Changing the style from Weird West to a Spaghetti Westernallowed the developers to add more violence and over-the-top characters. The game reproduces a "grainy film" effect and uses music from various Spaghetti Western films, including film scores composed by Ennio Morricone.
This game takes place in the 1880s Wild West as Nate Harlow and his partner Griff have found gold in an area called Bear Mountain. To celebrate the find, they commission the creation of two revolvers with a distinct iron cast scorpion on each; Nate takes one and Griff takes the other.
Griff is later captured by the Mexican army and sentenced to be executed. However, he offers General Diego half the gold in Bear Mountain if he were to spare his life. Diego complies but later sends his right-hand man, Colonel Daren, to kill Nate. Daren arrives with his men to the Harlow farm and shoots Nate and his wife, Falling Star. However, Nate's son Red retrieves his father's gun and shoots off Daren's left arm before he escapes.
Years after his parents' passing, Red becomes a ruthless bounty hunter. He begins by battling a gang led by an outlaw of the name "Bloody Tom". Hoping to claim the bounty on the gang, he takes them prisoner in the town of Widows Patch where he is attacked by a rival gang and its leader "Ugly Chris". Red and Sheriff O'Grady beat the gang and survive the attack but the sheriff is badly wounded and must travel into town to see a practitioner.
After Red drops O'Grady off, Brimstone's Sheriff Bartlett asks him to help take care of some thugs. This includes battling an evil coup led by Jack Swift along with other bounties. After all the bounties are complete, he asks for the bounty on the coupes' head. He is told by Griffon, now the city's governor, that the gold wagon carrying the head has not yet arrived and later learns that one of the townsfolk, Annie Stoakes, is in danger of losing her farm and that Governor Griffon owns part of Bear Mountain. Recalling that his family was killed over that very mine, he goes to discuss the issue with Annie. After the talk, he is led back to Sheriff Bartlett, from whom he discovers that General Diego and Colonel Daren are still alive and court bound. Finally, with the aid of his Native American cousin Shadow Wolf, Red attacks Diego's fort and kills Daren. Afterwards, Red strikes out on his own and disables the train carrying Diego's gold. In the ensuing firefight, Diego is critically wounded. He offers Red everything. However, Red declines and kills General Diego.
Later, during the quick-draw competition, which Annie Stoakes and Jack Swift both attend, Red learns that it was Governor Griffon who sold out his parents to General Diego. Governor Griffon orders Red to be killed by contestant Mr. Kelley, but Red defeats and kills him instead and pursues Griffon back to his mansion. There, Red shoots Griffon in quick-draw fashion and for killing him the Sheriff offers to pay Red the gold he is owed. Red, however, refuses and takes Griffon's revolver instead, later claiming "It never was about the money."