powered by AFI
The film begins with the following written foreword: "In the period following the Civil War, the West knew no law except the survival of the fittest, and it took men like Wild Bill Hickok to stand up against the cattle barons and the land pirates who fought to exploit the resources of the ever expanding country." Wild Bill Hickok's (1837-1876) well-deserved reputation as a gunfighter was established in an interview with Colonel George Ward Nichols published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1867. Hickok was a good shot and probably killed at least seven men. He was a scout in the Union army during the Civil War and after the war, he became a marshal in Hays City, KS and then in Abilene, KS. He appeared in a play with Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873, and in 1876, Hickok was shot in the back by Jack McCall during a poker game in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Bruce Cabot was borrowed from Walter Wanger's company for the film and Betty Brewer was borrowed from Paramount. According to an undated contemporary press release in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, Brewer's character, "Janey Nolan," was supposed to be Calamity Jane as a child, but there is no reference to this in the film.