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The working title of this film was Petticoat Brigade. C. William Harrison's novel The Guns of Fort Petticoat first appeared in Collier's under the title of "Petticoat Brigade" (25 November-9 December 1955). According to a October 7, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, writer Walter Doniger was originally scheduled to direct the film. The Guns of Fort Petticoat marked the first production of Brown-Murphy Pictures, Inc., an independent production company owned by Harry Joe Brown and Audie Murphy.
Historical sources note that in 1861, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians were forced onto the desolate Sand Creek Reservation in southeastern Colorado when gold prospectors poured into the state. In retaliation, these tribes launched attacks on the stagecoach lines to Denver. However, it was a band of peaceful Cheyenne, led by Black Kettle, who were attacked without warning on November 29, 1864, when Col. John M. Chivington led volunteer Colorado militiamen in what is now known as the Sand Creek Massacre. As many as two hundred Cheyenne, many of them women and children, were killed during the massacre. Chivington was later investigated by Congress and forced to resign.