When men settled the planet "Missouri", they determined to recreate the social system of the Old West: frontiersmen ride robotic horses through the desert, ready to shoot at anything just to prove their manhood. One man, from off-world, dares to express disgust at this violent, anti-intellectual, booze-guzzling manufactured society. Therefore, he attracts the attention of the planet's most dangerous outlaw gunslinger, the worst of the worst, who won't waste time asking for an apology.
Missouri is a sad, savage world, but in a contrived way. Who would choose to live this way? I felt for the protagonist at first, but more and more I just urged him to get the hell out of there and not look back. The premise is provocative, the conclusion startling. John Jakes is better known for his bestselling American sagas: the Kents, North & South...but he also wrote some great science fiction and fantasy.