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The following statement is included in the film's opening credits: "For certain descriptive passages in Cimarron Miss Ferber makes acknowledgement to Hands Up by Fred E. Sutton and A. B. MacDonald." Sutton and MacDonald's novel was published in New York in 1927. According to an October 1932 Los Angeles Examiner news item, the studio bid $125,000 for the rights to Ferber's novel. That amount, which was also paid by Universal for the rights to Strictly Dishonorable, also produced in 1931 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4369), was the highest ever paid by motion picture companies for rights to literary properties, according to the news item. The picture's famous land rush scene, which required a week to film, was shot at Jasmin Quinn Ranch near Bakersfield, CA, according to studio production files. Publicity for the picture notes that 5,000 extras participated in that scene and forty-seven cameras were used to shoot it. An International Photographer articles states that the land rush scene was shot by twenty-eight cameramen, six stillmen and twenty-seven assistants, to make a total camera crew of sixty-one, one of the largest group of cameramen ever assembled for one sequence. According to publicity, the Native Americans who appeared in the film were "made up white to appear coppery on the screen." Production files indicate that the film cost $1,434,800 to produce and went over budget by $354,114. Modern sources state that the picture lost $565,000 at the box office in its initial release. Some of this loss was recouped in a 1935 re-issue. The film had its premiere at the Globe Theater in New York, where the top ticket price was $2.00. Cimarron won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adaptation and Best Art Direction. It was nominated for Best Direction, Best Actor (Richard Dix), Best Actress (Irene Dunne) and Best Cinematography. Film Daily Year Book included the film in its "one of the year's ten best pictures" list.
Modern sources add the following cast credits: Clara Hunt (Indian girl), Bob Kortman (Killer) and Dennis O'Keefe (who at that time was known as Bud Flanagan). William Janney is identified in the role of a "worker" by modern sources. In 1960 Anthony Mann directed Glenn Ford and Maria Schell in an M-G-M version of Ferber's novel (see below).