Before Nicolas Cage had been cast, Dennis Hopper suggested that John Dahl should consider Kris Kristofferson, a good friend of Hopper from The Last Movie (1971), for the leading role. Kristofferson was at a low point in his career at the time, mainly appearing as the lead in made for TV-movies. He had a packed schedule and declined without reading the script.
Dwight Yoakam brought his own pistol for his role as the Truck Driver. His hit single, A Thousand Miles From Nowhere, is used during the film's closing credits - the version used is a studio demo recording unlike the one from his This Time album.
The late William Olvis (he passed away May 6, 2014) wrote the musical score that added so much to its suspense of this movie. He's famous for his beautiful soundtrack for the TV series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and has scored 18 other movies.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When Wayne is revealed to be the town Sheriff in the hospital emergency room, it was J.T. Walsh's idea that he reveal himself by slowly raising his head up with the brim of his cowboy hat and looking directly into the camera.
Dennis Hopper was originally considered for the role of the Sheriff, which eventually went to J.T. Walsh. However, Hopper fought John Dahl hard for the meatier role of hit man-with-low-self-esteem Lyle, which the director initially refused because of the similarities of Dennis Hopper's character to Frank Booth in Blue Velvet (1986). After much pleading, Hopper won the role.