Footage from the original 1939 production was used when Frank and Jesse go over a cliff on horseback into a river and when they crashed, on horseback, through a store window during the "Northfield Minnesota Raid."
Although Jesse indicates the award for him has reached $30,000, in fact the arrangement with Robert Ford made by Missouri Gov. Crittenden included a pardon for a previous murder and payment of $10,000. Only part of that $10,000 was received by the Ford brothers.
As originally conceived by Walter Bernstein and Nicholas Ray, the film had a non-linear plot with flashbacks, but studio boss Buddy Adler couldn't understand it and forced Ray to recut it with the scenes in chronological order. Bernstein said the recut rendered the film "pointless."
Although Nicholas Ray was initially reluctant to remake the 1939 film, he became intrigued by the idea of casting Elvis Presley--whom he thought had the potential to be "a new James Dean"--as Jesse James. After he had signed his contract, it became quickly clear that the studio had always intended to cast Robert Wagner, who was under contract and being built by the studio into a star. However, Ray did have his way in casting Hope Lange as James's wife; the studio had wanted Joanne Woodward.