In Chisholm Trail, players are trying to defend their cattle from rustlers, along with trying to keep their cattle with the rest of the heard.
The game takes place on a square field with a grid. Players move about this grid trying to shoot the rustlers while keeping their cattle near the rest of the herd. Rustlers constantly appear from the sides, coming out after another rustler is killed. A player must survive these waves of rustler until the end of the day, when night falls.
Players and the rustlers can shoot each other, with the rustlers also able to shoot the cattle running around the field.