Players take on the role of a Gunslinger in pursuit of his family's killer. Doing so requires collecting clues based on the murderer's appearance, which is randomly generated with each new game. After receiving one clue as a starting point, the player can explore the world while running errands to earn more clues from the townsfolk.
Controls are relegated exclusively to the keyboard. WASD are used to move around the environment. J and K are used to draw and cock/shoot your gun respectively. While you can move in all four directions, you can only shoot left or right. Reloading your pistol requires a single press of the R key per bullet.
Westerado's most remarkable gameplay feature is your ability to draw your gun at any time, even during conversations. Drawing or cocking your gun while talking to an NPC changes the way that they react to you, sometimes causing them to provide additional information, flee, or become hostile. Similarly, any NPC can be killed, no matter their role in the game's plot and world.