powered by AFI
According to pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter, Stuart Heisler was initially slated to direct this picture, but after an illness forced him to withdraw from the project, Charles Vidor was assigned to direct. After Vidor refused the assignment, George Marshall was hired. Evelyn Keyes was considered for the role of "Mike King," according to a Hollywood Reporter news item. Another pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter adds that in December 1940, Glenn Ford was assigned to replace William Holden in the lead role when Holden was suspended by Paramount (which shared his contract with Columbia) over a financial disagreement. The news item does not specify which part Ford was assigned, however, and both actors star in the completed picture.
Other news items in Hollywood Reporter furnish the following information about the film's production: The studio imported 500 Longhorn steers from Texas to appear in the film. Exteriors were shot at the Balkins Ranch near Calabasas, CA. The engine used in the sequence depicting the completion of the railroad was built in 1861 and was used to haul gold out of Virginia City during the Civil War. Four cameras were employed to shoot the sequence. According to the Variety review, the preview prints of the film were sepia toned. Edgar Buchanan, who played dentist "Doc Thorpe" in the film, had practiced dentistry before turning to acting. Modern sources add Lyle Lytell, George Lloyd and Richard Fiske to the cast.