Once Ben Foster had signed onto the film, he and Debra Granik worked together to remove around 40% of the dialogue. This was to make the film have less exposition and feel more realistic.
The last third of the story was filmed at Squaw Mountain Ranch, a family oriented nudist resort outside Estacada, Oregon. SMR was chosen because it's a former logging camp. The film needed a location with old cabins and RVs. Some of the members were used as extras in the "Birthday Party" scene. Squaw Mountain Ranch is the oldest nudist club west of the Mississippi and was established in 1933. They are open year round with rooms to rent in their lodge.
The youth with rabbits in the 4-H scene are members of the Oregon 4-H Youth Development Program. The Director specifically recruited real 4-H members and adult leaders for the film. The youth were asked to demonstrate the skills they learn in their 4-H club meetings and events.
The 4-H scene was added to the script for the movie. The family on whom the film is based did not participate in the 4-H program while living on the farm. The interaction with the 4-H club is not in the book on which the movie is based.
The youth in the 4-H scene are demonstrating Rabbit Showmanship. In a showmanship contest, youth are evaluated on how well they handle the animal, the health and condition of the animal, their ability to clean and groom the animal, and their knowledge about the animal. Youth showing rabbits move and position the rabbit to show these things to the judge. With correct handling and practice, the rabbits are cooperative and enjoy the attention.
A 4-H club is featured in the film. The 4-H Youth Development Program is the oldest and largest youth organization in the United States. There are 4-H clubs in nearly every county and state coordinated by each state's Land Grant University(s). 4-H also offers camps, in-school, and after-school programs. More than 6 million youth ages 5-18 participate each year.