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The working title of this film was Moonbrand. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item and studio press materials, Warner Bros. originally bought the screenplay as a vehicle for James Dean, who was to play "Bless Keough." After Dean died, however, the studio allowed their option on the screenplay to lapse, and Universal then bought the script, borrowing Jeffrey Hunter from Twentieth Century-Fox for the role. Writer R. Wright Campbell was the brother of Universal contract actor William Campbell.