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The working title of this film was Glory Road. The picture is loosely based on the creation of the Pony Express, a mail service established by the firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell on April 3, 1860. Horseback riders carried mail pouches between St. Joseph, MO and Sacramento, CA, with the average ride taking thirteen days. Although stories and motion pictures about the Pony Express sometimes imply that it was a long-running service, it ended after only eighteen months of operation, in October 1861, upon the completion of the transcontinental telegraph system. The legendary status of the Pony Express is often attributed to its famous riders, which included Buffalo Bill Cody.
Although most contemporary sources list the film's running time as 87 minutes, the Daily Variety preview review gave the time as 80 minutes, and the Hollywood Reporter preview review listed it as 82 minutes. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, John Wayne was originally set to star in the film. Although a Hollywood Reporter news item includes the following actors in the cast, their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed: Chief Tahachee, Chief Yowlachie, Many Treaties, Shooting Star and John War Eagle. A March 22, 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that the film would be shot on location in Phoenix, AZ, but later Hollywood Reporter news items note that the picture was shot on location in Lone Pine, CA. Other Hollywood Reporter news items noted that background footage was shot in Monument Valley, UT and Northern Arizona. In 1954, the film was re-edited and re-released as Drumbeats Over Wyoming.