At the time of production, Clayton Moore was still making personal appearances as The Lone Ranger. The Wrather Company, owner of The Lone Ranger character, sued the actor to prevent him from wearing the mask, saying an elderly man didn't represent the character the way he should. Moore continued making personal appearances in costume, wearing oversized sunglasses instead of the mask. After the film's extremely poor showing at the box office, Moore was allowed to make appearances as The Lone Ranger, mask and all.
When the foreign dignitary is first in President Grant's train car, he is introduced to "Buffalo Bill" Cody, "Wild Bill" Hickok, and Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer, sitting across the booth from Grant. Grant jokingly tells Custer to get up and let the man take his seat, or he will have Custer transferred to Montana. Custer died in eastern Montana, in the Battle of Little Big Horn, also known as Custer's Last Stand.
At the time, director William A. Fraker hadn't directed a movie for eight years. After this movie failed at the box office, Fraker moved to television, but continued to work as a Director of Photography on feature films.
According to cast and crew, Klinton Spilsbury demanded script changes because he had trouble delivering his lines. Spilsbury also demanded that the film be shot in sequential order so he could better portray his character's arc.
The movie performed so badly at the box office that American investors had to salvage ITC by purchasing its remaining stock, then reorganizing the company as part of the newly-formed Tri-Star Pictures.
Lew Grade later wrote he thought the problem was the movie took an hour and ten minutes for the Ranger to put on his mask. "The mistake was not dispensing with the legend in ten minutes and getting on with the action much earlier on," he said.
At one screening in San Diego, people showed up dressed in Lone Ranger masks and Western costumes. During the movie, when the Lone Ranger vows to avenge his brother and the "William Tell Overture" kicks in, the theater erupted. "Sid Sheinberg, [the president of Universal] who was sitting next to me, looked over to me and said, 'It's previewing better than Jaws,'" says Walter Coblenz.
Walter Coblenz said of the film's failure: "Looking back, I feel that we were trying to please everyone, from 6 to 60. It was too violent for little kids, and not sophisticated enough for an older audience. Maybe we were too intent on staying true to the Lone Ranger story."