Having beaten the story mode of Red Dead Redemption, I fel that I might be ready to jump into the multiplayer to discover it's wonder.
Man was that a mistake.
The main game delivers on telling a solid, if not formulaic story. You root for the hero, and you hope he can escape his situation. You identify with the character you play and ultimately, that attachment pays off. Multiplayer however is a different thing.
I understand that there is a such thing as a sandbox where people are able to do whatever they want, but the the general problem with a sandbox online is that people have no consequences and seem content to just shoot new players. That's fine in Deathmatch of some variation of the kind, but not so cool when you're trying to read what the game is telling you about itself and your options.
The public multiplayer in Redemption suffers very much from that problem. Anyone can shoot you at any time, and it really makes there no reason for you to go to an area that hosts Free For All, since you're already in it. Scoring a headshot gets you more points, but prepare to be annoyed should you decide to do something else, like shoot up a gang hideout.
I'm sure they'll be someone there to try to ruin your fun.