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The working title of this film was The Pioneers. Although this was Columbia's first Technicolor production, the viewed print was in black and white and the Technicolor credits were blacked out. The film's opening credits are presented in the form of a book titled The Desperadoes. Each page of the book features the picture and name of an actor in the film, similiar to a style popular in the early 1930's. The opening also contains the following prologue: "1863-the newest frontier was Utah. Utah's gold was its wild horses, which the Union Army was seeking to buy. Men rushed to the new frontier-some to break these horses, others to break the law."
According to a news item in New York Times and an unidentified contemporary source in the AMPAS Library Production Files, the film introduced several technological innovations. To circumvent the government prohibition on outdoor night filming, photographer George Meehan experimented with new filters, special makeup and lighting backgrounds to simulate night scenes. The picture's tracking shots were filmed by a vehicle that carried six cameras and eighteen men and could attain speeds of eighty miles an hour. A Hollywood Reporter news item adds that scenes were shot in Kanab, Utah. Claire Trevor and Glenn Ford had previously starred together in the 1941 Columbia western Texas (see below).