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The film's pre-release title was Pioneer Women. The opening credits list Robert Taylor and Denise Darcel first, with several other cast members listed after them. The end credits show various members of the cast, with their character names, and end with Robert Taylor, followed by the words "and the women." According to International Photographer, the film was shot on location in Suprise Valley, Paria Canyon and Johnson Creek, UT, with the location camp in Kanab, UT. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that additional location shooting took place in Mojave and Death Valley, CA. Time noted that M-G-M made a short about the production's location shoot.
International Photographer also noted that actor Henry Nakamura's role was written especially for him after director William Wellman and producer Dore Schary were impressed by his performance as the lovable "Tommy" character in the 1951 M-G-M film Go for Broke!. According to various Hollywood Reporter news items, Sid Melton was cast, but he was not in the released film and John Lupton was on location with the production when he was called back to report to the army. It is unclear whether Lupton had filmed any scenes prior to leaving the production, but he is not in the released film. Another Hollywood Reporter news item included Lloyd Hanlon in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Westward the Women marked the motion picture debut of Broadway actress Marilyn Erskine. M-G-M News noted that Wellman cast Navajos, Utes and Piutes as Indians in the film. Contemporary reviews and news items variously stated that 100, 140, 200 and 400 women took part in the film, although the film itself refers to 140 women. According to his autobiography, Frank Capra had planned to direct the film himself and cast Gary Cooper in the lead, but later sold his story to his neighbor, Wellman.