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Shoot Out was frequently listed in news items as Shootout. Shoot Out's onscreen credit for Will James's book is incorrectly listed as The Lone Cowboy. A March 1968 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that director Henry Hathaway had bought the screen rights to James's book from Universal and would be producing the film version independently. It is unclear at what point producer Hal B. Wallis became involved with the project. Shoot Out was shot on location in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, NM, according to Hollywood Reporter production charts and news items.
The film was loosely based on James's 1930 autobiography, Lone Cowboy, which was originally filmed by Paramount in 1933; that version, directed by Paul Sloane, starred Jackie Cooper as an orphan sent to live with a rancher played by Addison Richards.