The film was shot in Arizona, Utah, and California.
Producer Clint Eastwood originally hired Philip Kaufman (THE RIGHT STUFF) to polish the script and direct the film. Kaufman's deliberate style of filmmaking grated on the ultraefficient Eastwood, and shortly after filming began, he fired Kaufman and took over. Kaufman didn't direct another film for three years, and the Director's Guild of America thereafter instituted a rule that a member could not be replaced by anyone who was already working in any capacity on the film in question.
THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1996.
Forrest Carter, who wrote the novel the film was based on and sent it to Clint Eastwood, was later discovered to be Asa Carter, a former member of the KKK and speechwriter for George Wallace. Carter also wrote the novel THE EDUCATION OF LITTLE TREE.
THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES was Eastwood's first of many collaborations with several actors, including Sondra Locke (six films), Bill McKinney (six films), and Doug McGrath (five films).
Cissy Wellman, who plays Josey's wife, is the daughter of director William Wellman.
Will Sampson, who plays Ten Bears, is best known for playing the Chief in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST.
Len Lesser (Abe) later had a recurring role as Uncle Leo on the TV series SEINFELD.
Orson Welles, in an appearance on theMERV GRIFFIN SHOW, said of THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, "When I saw that picture for the fourth time, I realized that it belongs with the great Westerns. You know, the great Westerns of Ford and Hawks and people like that."