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The working titles of this film were Gunsmoke and Fight Town. After the opening credits, a written prologue reads: "In the tide of history there are always violent moments that spawn a new era. Such a moment began on the road to Carson City, Nevada, before the turn of the century." Although the main story of the film is fictional, heavyweight boxing champion James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett did fight challenger Bob Fitzsimmons in Carson City on March 17, 1897. Fitzsimmons won the bout after fourteen rounds.
A December 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item includes Earl Brown and Larry Mancine in the cast, but their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. A modern source includes Reed Howes in the cast. Although an October 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that the picture would be shot on location at Carson City, it is unlikely that any location shooting was done there. According to studio publicity, the film's opening sequence was shot on location at Vasquez Rocks, CA. City of Bad Men was Leonard Goldstein's first production for Twentieth Century-Fox.