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The film begins with the following written foreword: "During the war between Maximilian and Juarez in 1865, there was a small territory on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River known as Zona Libre-'Free Zone.' It was dominated by a man who called himself General Eduardo Calleja and he made it a haven for any man outside the law. This is the story of Zona Libre." According to press materials, the film was shot on location in Moab, Utah, by the Colorado River. Joel McCrea's son Jody made his feature film debut in Border River.