The movie traded on Gene Wilder's western-comedy screen persona from the earlier spoof western hit movie Blazing Saddles (1974) which had been made and released about five years earlier. It also did this a year later in Stir Crazy (1980) by making Wilder a hero at riding a rodeo mechanical bull even labeling Wilder at one point an "Urban Cowboy".
Some viewers have complained that the name Darryl is anachronistic. One etymology source says that, as a first name, it was not used by English speakers until the late 19th century. However, the name comes from Old French "d'Airelle," meaning someone from the town of Airelle in France; Airelle itself means "open space," from the Latin, so it might be quite old.
In his autobiography, Gene Wilder says that John Wayne was offered the part that was eventually played by Harrison Ford. Wayne loved the role and was eager to work with Wilder. However, an agent tried to offer Wayne less than his usual fee and the legendary actor turned the film down. This may be true, but it is actually unlikely. By 1979 Wayne was too ill with stomach cancer to consider film work, and in fact he died later that year from the disease.
Noticeable in the trailer for this Warner Brothers movie was the use of footage of Gene Wilder from Wilder's earlier films such as Warner Bros' Blazing Saddles (1974) but also ones from Wilder's other studio pictures from 20th Century Fox, Silver Streak (1976) and Young Frankenstein (1974).
The horses which Tommy and Avram ride into San Francisco are different from the horses in earlier scenes, which were smaller and used for galloping for long distances. The horses in this later scene are of the breed called American Quarter Horses. You can tell this because their heads and faces are smaller, while their bodies are larger and more muscular, and their rumps (which Avram would call the tuchas) are much rounder than the rumps of long-distance-running horses. The Quarter Horse is very swift for a short distance; the earlier horses, perhaps of a mixed breed, were used for their stamina and placidness.
When Gene Wilder tells Harrison Ford that he is from Poland, he adds that it is near Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia did not exist as a country until 1918. At the time of the movie, the 1850s, these lands were part of Bohemia and Austria-Hungary.