Shirley Temple disclosed in her autobiography that this was the only film she made in which she received an onscreen spanking, much to the chagrin of June Lang who played the spanker and feared that her career would suffer as a result of the audience seeing the popular Shirley being treated in this fashion. The scene was shot but cut from the final film.

The original story by Rudyard Kipling was about a boy, Percival Williams, but this was changed to a girl, Priscilla Williams, in order for Shirley Temple to play the role.

Director John Ford hated working with child actors, but took this film because of its large budget and because his friend Victor McLaglen was in it. Ford was initially cold to Shirley Temple, but she won him over with her professionalism and with her strong performance during Sgt. MacDuff's death scene. Ford cast her in Fort Apache (1948), again with McLaglen, and later became godfather to her oldest daughter.