The first Western to win an Oscar and the first Western to win a Best Picture Oscar. It would be another 59 years before a Western would win the Academy Award for Best Picture again when Dances with Wolves (1990) took the main prize.
Arguably the only winner of the Best Picture Oscar to lose money during its initial release. The film received excellent critical reviews, but its initial financial failure was blamed on its being released during one of the darkest periods of the Great Depression.
Yancey Cravat, the character played by Richard Dix, was based on real-life lawyer and gunfighter Temple Houston - the son of Sam Houston, whom Dix played in Man of Conquest (1939) and upon whom the 1960s western TV series Temple Houston (1963) was based.
According to Anthony Holden's book "Behind the Oscar" (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), R.K.O. lost $5.5 million (approximately $58 million in 2003 dollars, when factoring in inflation) on the movie despite its winning a Best Picture Academy Award.