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According to a November 29, 1955 Los Angeles Examiner article, producer Alan Ladd first considered Van Heflin for the role of "Monty" in the film, which at the time had a working title of Shasta. Although an August 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item states that David Dortort would write the screenplay, he is not included in the writing credits and his contribution to the completed film is unknown. A August 10, 1956 Los Angeles Examiner article noted that Ladd was then considering Edward O'Brien for a role. On September 23, 1957, Los Angeles Times reported that Ladd was considering Tony Martin for a role.
Although Alan Ladd's Jaguar Productions was prepping the film for production in 1957, and a June 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item reported it would start on 1 Sep, the picture did not begin until April 1959. A April 9, 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Verna Felton replaced Charlotte Greenwood as the character "Aunt Sarah."
May 1959 Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the cast; however, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed: Rudy Friml, Dan Borzage and Steve Pendleton. A modern source adds George J. Lewis to the cast. Ladd's sixteen-year-old daughter Alana made her screen debut in Guns of the Timberland. Popular singer Frankie Avalon also made his acting debut in the film, although he first appeared onscreen as himself in the 1957 film Jamboree! (see below). Portions of the film were shot in Quincy, which is located in Northern California and, according to a May 1959 LA Mirror News article, in Reno, NV.
Guns of the Timberland was the first feature film produced by former actor Aaron Spelling (1923-2006). At the time of Spelling's death, he was acknowledged by many sources as the most successful producer in television history, having produced such popular television series as Love Boat, Dynasty and Beverly Hills 90210.