James Stewart wasn't impressed with the script, but accepted the role of Grant McLaine because he believed the part would allow him to show off his skills as an accordion player. However, all of his accordion playing was re-recorded by a professional prior to the movie's release.
This was originally intended to be the sixth Western combining the talents of actorJames Stewart and director Anthony Mann (they had also done three non-Westerns together), but Mann pulled out of the project because he wasn't impressed with war hero-turned-actor Audie Murphy. Stewart and the director would never make another picture together.
Anthony Mann refused to direct the film, saying nobody would understand it. He also said he believed the script was bad and that Audie Murphy - who was 5'5" - would not be believable as the brother of James Stewart, who was 6'3". After the film opened to poor reviews and business, Stewart never spoke to Mann again.