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The film's title card reads: "Will James' Sand." A written acknowledgment at the end of the film reads: "Grateful acknowledgement is made to the Forest Service and the State of Colorado for assistance in photographing this picture in the beautiful location in San Juan National Forest and in the State of Colorado." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, after the great success of Fox's 1946 film Smoky, producer Robert Bassler persuaded studio head Darryl F. Zanuck to acquire another Will James story. In September 1947, the studio bought rights to Sand from Will James's literary heirs for the sum of $8,500, but the film bears little resemblance to the novel.
Exterior filming for Sand was done on a ranch leased from J. R. Stevens of Pagoda Springs CO., and on the R. E. Hutchenson ranch near Durango. Jubilee was played by Sun's Red Shadow but various doubles were used for fighting, jumping, bucking, etc. The horses were supplied by the Clarence Y. "Fat" Jones livery stable. A studio publicity release dated February 1949 includes Jay Silverheels and Harry Cheshire in the cast, but neither actor was spotted in the print viewed. Sand was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Color Cinematography.