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The working titles of the film were Buffalo Grass and Stampeded. After the opening credits, an off-screen narrator explains that bitterness remained between Southerners and Northerners after the Civil War, and that Confederate Army veterans drove their herds to the railheads in Missouri so that the growing population of Eastern cities would have enough beef. According to Hollywood Reporter production charts, portions of the film were shot around Sonora, CA. A July 1956 New York Times article reported that the ten-wheeled railroad engine, named "Three Spot," used in the film hauled gold from the Chinese camp mines and Twain Hart, CA in the 1890s and, in 1956, was still operating near Sonora on a fifty-seven track owned by Sierra Railroad.
Alana and David Ladd, 13 and 9 years old, respectively, were the children of actor-producer Alan Ladd. Although David's onscreen credit in the 1958 Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. production, The Proud Rebel (see below) reads "and introducing," The Big Land marked both children's film debuts. According to a March 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, comic books based on The Big Land, which featured photos and production credits from the film, were published by Dell.