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The working title of this film was Slade. The film opens with the following written quotation from Mark Twain's 1872 novel Roughing It: "There was such magic in that name, SLADE!...A high and efficient servant of the Overland, an outlaw among outlaws and yet their relentless scourge, Slade was at once the most bloody, the most dangerous, and the most valuable citizen that inhabited the savage fastnesses of the mountains." Hollywood Reporter production charts include the following actors in the cast: Tom Carter, Harry Cheshire, Drake Smith, Paul Brinegar, Timothy Carey and Roy Engle, but their appearances in the completed picture have not been confirmed.
Jack Slade, whose full name was Joseph Alfred Slade, worked for a stretch of the Overland Stage originally based in Julesburg, CO. According to modern sources, Slade developed a reputation as a notorious gunfighter during his tenure as division manager and was involved in a feud with Jules Beni, a station manager for whom the town of Julesburg was named. Slade eventually murdered Beni, and named a stage station after his wife, [Maria] Virginia Dale, which continues to be the name of a town in Colorado. Modern sources confirm many of the events depicted in this film, including Slade's youthful murder of a man with a rock, his feud with and murder of Beni, his adoption of a boy orphaned as a result of his shooting a gang of rustlers, his marriage, his reckless drinking and the resulting execution as ordered by a citizens' committee. In 1864, Slade was hanged to death by a vigilante posse in Virginia City, MT.
In 1955, Allied Artists released a sequel to Jack Slade titled The Return of Jack Slade. The sequel was directed by Harold Schuster and starred John Ericson as the title character (see below).