The film develops its story around the "passing" of the West, the clash between a traditional character and the politics and demands of modern society.
The film began under the direction of Robert Totten, an experienced television director (Gunsmoke, The Legend of Jesse James). After clashes with star Widmark, and almost a year of work, he was dropped and replaced by Don Siegel. After the film was finished Siegel did not want his name to replace Totten's. Widmark protested and a pseudonymous compromise was agreed with the Directors Guild of America of Allen Smithee.
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