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The working titles of this film were Rachel and Tall, Dark Stranger. Although modern sources claim that the picture was based on Howard Fast's short story "Good Neighbor Sam" as well as his story "Rachel," only "Rachel" is credited in contemporary sources. Waldo Salt's two writing credits were not included in the viewed print, but were listed in the copyright cutting continuity. Salt was blacklisted in 1951 as a result of his testimony before the HUAC, and it is possible that Howard Hughes, who controlled RKO at that time, May have ordered Salt's credits removed from later prints of the film. For additional information on HUAC and the Blacklist, for Crossfire.
Hollywood Reporter news items and the RKO Production Files contained in the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library add the following information about the production: Just prior to directing this film, Norman Foster had worked extensively as a director in Mexico. Tested for roles were Bobby Driscoll, Dick Tyler and Kirk Douglas. Joel McCrea was offered one of the male leads in the picture. At an RKO sales meeting, production head Dore Schary took an impromptu vote for casting the role of "Jim," and Robert Mitchum won by an overwhelming majority. RKO borrowed William Holden from Paramount for the film.
Some exterior scenes were shot in and around Eugene, OR, including Fox Hollow and the MacKenzie River Stockade. Hollywood Reporter announced that Arizona was being scouted as a location as well, but it is not known if any shooting was actually done there. In one pre-production news item, Walter Daniels and Harold Barry were reported to have accompanied producer Richard Berger and art director Albert D'Agostino on location, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources note that RKO rushed the picture into release to take advantage of the publicity surrounding Mitchum's September 1948 arrest for marijuana possession. (See entry above for The Big Steal for more information about Mitchum's arrest and trial.) According to modern sources, the film earned $395,000 at the box office and was one of RKO's top grossers of 1948.