Triumph was a tiny planet in orbit around Heinlein, a protostar near the edges of the system. With little to offer other than small areas suitable for farming, the planet became a refuge for folk who wanted nothing to do with modern life. The Triumph settlers lived like the Amish of Earth-That-Was, using little in the way of advanced technology (though they did have the ability to contact the outside world if they were in need of aid).
These people followed their own customs. For example, in one town, young girls were raised in a convent called the Maiden House. Trained to be subservient and to respond to a man's needs, girls were married off in trade—a form of currency for settlers who had little else to offer.
Thugs and bandits found the settlements easy pickings, since the people were pacifists. The thieves stole goods and roughed up the locals. When pressured by these bandits, the people of Triumph would often make arrangements with bands of mercenaries for protection.
The Triumph township where Elder Gommen lived was harried by a troublesome group of bandits, which led the elder to hire Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity as mercenaries. In the gunfight which ensued, the bandit leader and his three accomplices were killed, and the poor Triumph residents paid the crew in foodstuffs and other goods.