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According to Hollywood Reporter pre-production news items, screenwriter Albert Hackett was originally scheduled to direct and write this film, but was later replaced. Hackett remained a screenwriter and never did direct a feature film. In June and July 1945, Alan Ladd and Betty Hutton were scheduled to star in the film. By September 1945, Hutton had declined the role in order to go on her honeymoon. Ladd was suspended by Paramount as of August 22, 1945 for refusing to report for preparatory work on the film after studio heads refused him more money. By early November 1945, Ladd and the studio settled their dispute, but Ray Milland had already been put into the film. Hollywood Reporter also reported that Victor McLaglen was slated for a role as a "heavy" in this film.
Portions of California were shot in Flagstaff and Cameron, AZ, at the Iverson Ranch near Chatsworth, CA, and in Calabasas, CA. As reported in Hollywood Reporter on March 1, 1946, scenic California locations were shot in early March 1946 for scenes illustrating the lyrics of introductory music for montages in the film. Among the montage locations were: the Monterey coastline, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, highway scenes of California redwood forests, the San Juan Capistrano Mission, orange groves at San Bernardino, wild flowers near Bakersfield, the snow-capped mountains of Mount Whitney, San Jacinto and Mount Baldy, peach and apple orchards at Santa Clara and Santa Rosa, and vegetable fields at Bakersfield and in the Imperial Valley. According to an article in the New York Times on January 13, 1946, Paramount recreated a vineyard at Brent's Crags, CA. According to New York Times, vintage Conestoga wagons were used in the film. According to Par News, at the advice of Dr. John Walton Caughey, UCLA history professor, no white-faced Hereford cattle were used in the film because they were not bred in the United States until after the 1840s. The amethyst tiara and necklace worn by Barbara Stanwyck in the film were heirlooms of director John Farrow.
According to a March 22, 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item, because 1946 marked the centennial of the United States' seizure of California from Mexico, Farrow arranged an advance showing of this film in Sacramento for California Governor Earl Warren, heads of the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, and other state leaders. The date of the actual preview was not found, but on January 27, 1947, Daily Variety reported that California historical societies were angered that Paramount had held the film's premiere in New York (on 14 January 1947), particularly because California was preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Northern California and its adoption into statehood. Paramount reportedly held a special premiere in Monterey, CA two weeks after the New York premiere in response to the protest. Ray Milland and Lizabeth Scott appeared in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of California on January 30, 1950.