powered by AFI
The working titles of this film were Last Train from Harper's Junction, Last Train from Laredo, One Angry Day and Showdown at Gun Hill. The original motion picture story by Les Crutchfield, a television writer, was entitled Showdown, which was also an early working title for the film. According to a Daily Variety news item, the story was purchased by producer Hal Wallis in March 1954 as a possible starring vehicle for Burt Lancaster or Charlton Heston. Studio publicity noted that the film was patterned in some ways after Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a 1957 Western which also was produced by Wallis, directed by John Sturges, photographed by Charles Lang, Jr. and starred Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.
Although a April 4, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item included newspaper columnist Lucius Beebe in the cast, his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. According to information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library, one week of location shooting took place near Tucson, AZ. The town of "Gun Hill" was created on the Paramount backlot, and additional shooting was done at the Monogram Ranch in Placerita Canyon, Newhall, CA.
Studio records indicate that a title song was written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster, and sung by Kitty White, but was ultimately dropped from the film. An April 18, 1958 item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column stated that for the "European version" of the film, Ziva Rodann, who played "Catherine Morgan," would be "nude from the navel." In the assault scene, Catherine's bare back is exposed, but the front of her body is not visible. "Rambling Reporter" also noted in January 1958 that Douglas was to receive a salary of $325,000 against ten percent of the gross.
Variety praised the cinematography of Lang, commenting, "Lang has one technique, opening on a background with a medium shot and then pulling back to bring in the scene's central character, that seems fresh and effective...None of this is conspicuously 'arty', but acts as an imperceptible aid in heightening tension and involvement." The film was reissued by Paramount in 1963.