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The working titles of this film were Stage Station and Desert Station. According to a contemporary, but unidentified news item in the AMPAS Library file on the film, Ernest Haycox's story was originally sold to Samuel Goldwyn studios. On August 1, 1941, Goldwyn sold the rights to the story, for which Haycox had written a brief treatment, to M-G-M. At that time, Donald Hough and Houston Branch worked on a sixty-five page treatment. A August 20, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Cyril Hume was "scripting" the picture, which was to co-star John Carroll and Hedy Lamarr. Neither Hume, Hough nor Houston is credited onscreen, the SAB or in reviews, and the extent of their contribution to the final film has not been determined. An Hollywood Reporter news item on December 29, 1941 notes that Robert Taylor and Wallace Beery were to star in the film.
According to Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts, director Richard Rosson worked on the picture from the pre-production stage in late December 1941 through early April 1942, when thirty-one days of shooting had been completed. A Hollywood Reporter news item on April 6, 1942 noted that Rosson was ill and was being replaced by Richard Thorpe, who would finish the picture. Only Thorpe is given onscreen credit for direction of the film, which was completed by mid-April 1942. Other news items reveal the following information: exteriors for the film were shot on location in and around Tucson, AZ, where a "stage station" set was built especially for the production; following location shooting, production resumed at the studio on March 27, 1942; actors Eddie Dunn, and Aubrey Mather were cast in the film, but neither was in the released film; and, David Snell was at one time set to score the film.
According to information in the file on the film in the PCA/MPAA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA advised M-G-M that the nationality of Rosalia and Seora Martinez should be changed to Spanish instead of Mexican, as they were in Ernest Haycox's short story. Correspondence in the file indicates that Addison Durland, the PCA's expert in Latin American matters, was concerned that certain aspects of the characterizations of the two women might be offensive to the Mexican people. A December 18, 1941 letter from Durland to M-G-M studio head Louis B. Mayer advised that, despite the change in Seora Martinez and Rosalia's nationality, the film should not "present them in such a manner that might make them appear grotesque, inferior or servile, in order to avoid the possibility of offending the great number of Latin American people of Spanish extraction." Additional information in the file indicates that the film contained stock shots originally shot for Walter Wanger's 1939 film Stagecoach (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4284). M-G-M also adapted Haycox's story for the 1952 film entitled Apache War Smoke, directed by Howard Kress, and starring Gilbert Roland and Robert Horton. That film used some footage from the 1942 film.