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The working titles of this film were The Human Side and Pioneer Woman. The film opens with the following written foreword: "Meeting Hannah Hoyt, the great man's lady, would not be so important if there were only one Hannah Hoyt; but, fortunately, the miracle of a Hannah Hoyt happens again and again, from generation to generation, of American womanhood. Not only behind great men, but behind the ordinary guy-you will meet a Hannah Hoyt. In her own small way, she will be helping, pointing the road ahead, encouraging her man to reach his own pinnacle of success." The original story idea was titled "The Modern Pioneer." Victor Young's score was based on Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Actress Katherine Stevens's name was misspelled as "Katharine" in the onscreen credits. Stevens, the daughter of director Sam Wood, went by the name "K. T. Stevens" later in her career, and had made her motion picture debut as an infant in Wood's 1921 film Peck's Bad Boy (see below). At that time, she was billed as Baby Gloria Wood. Hollywood Reporter production charts included Clarence Kolb in the cast, but his appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Although this film was completed by the summer of 1941, its release was postponed. A news item in Hollywood Reporter noted that the film's opening was postponed again in early 1942 so that Paramount could release The Fleet's In, a more timely film having to do with World War II.
According to copyright records and Paramount press releases, some scenes were filmed at Joel McCrea's ranch in Moorpark, CA, and the 1880 house was filmed in Sierra Madre, CA. Modern sources note that makeup artist Charles Gemora worked with Wally Westmore on the age makeup for Barbara Stanwyck. Hollywood Reporter claimed that Stanwyck's aging was the most extensive of any female character to date in screen history. According to director William Wellman's autobiography, both he and actress Barbara Stanwyck felt that this was their best work together, and were disappointed by the poor response to the film. Actress Katharine Stevens, who made her feature film debut in RKO's 1940 film Kitty Foyle, was the daughter of director Sam Wood, and was later known as K. T. Stevens. Barbara Stanwyck reprised her role in a June 28, 1943 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Joseph Cotten.