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The working titles of this film were The Difference and The Persuader. Prior to the opening credits, the following written statement appears onscreen: "This is the true story of a man and a gun and a car. The gun belonged to the man. The car might have been yours-or that young couple across the aisle. What you will see in the next seventy minutes could have happened to you. For the facts are actual." Although the story was not based on a specific event, reviewers commented on the timeliness of the film's subject matter. The opening credits are superimposed over footage depicting the murder of the newlyweds by the hitchhiker. According to a June 19, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, exterior shooting took place in Big Pine, CA.
The following actors were announced as cast members in Hollywood Reporter: Elizabeth Fraser, Gordon Armitage, Ben Bancroft, Louis Hart, Robert Forrest, Beverly Thompson and Judy Connard. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter production charts list Virginia Huston in the cast, but she did not appear in the final film. According to an April 1953 Daily Variety news item, an editorial in the Hobo News condemned the picture as a threat to the existence of "highway nomads" and urged its readers to stop the film's release. Another April 1953 Daily Variety item reported that RKO had received protest letters from hitchhikers complaining about the picture's ad campaign, which included such lines as "Have you ever picked up a hitch-hiker-We guarantee you won't ever after seeing this picture." Despite the protest, RKO did not change its advertisements.