This movie was one of several 2004 bombs that mixed together with Roy E. Disney's second Save Disney campaign and general turmoil at the Walt Disney Company to bring CEO Michael Eisner's 21-year long reign to an end. Eisner was forced out the year after this film's release to allow president Bob Iger to keep Pixar in their family, whose staff and films would indeed help Disney recover from this flop.
It also put iron halters on Will Finn and John Sanford's (the two men who directed this movie) careers; Finn wasn't able to direct another movie until 2013, and Sanford wasn't even heard from again until 2015, when he got attached to DreamWorks Animation's second Dragons show.
End of an Age: The final traditionally animated movie to be released by Disney before they fully committed to CGI-animated productions. As such, it is often Misblamed for having killed the medium entirely at the studio, but was still considered by most fans and critics to have been a low point for their animation department. Coincidentally, this was also the last film of Disney's animated canon to receive a national release on VHS (Chicken Little was also released on VHS, but as a Disney Movie Club exclusive.)
The Working Title for this film was Sweatin' Bullets. Despite being much less conventional than a title taken from an already-famous song, Disney reportedly changed it because they did not "want children seeing a film with the word 'bullets' in the title!"
Originally, the film involved literal Ghost Riders in the Sky stealing cattle with a young calf as the protagonist.
A deleted scene features Slim's ultimate plan: to use the captured cattle to march on Washington, DC and take over the White House. Sadly, they decided the idea was too strange.
When the White House plan was scuttled, Slim's plan was changed to having the cows sold for slaughter. Disney had an eye on a McDonald's promotion, and didn't want kids making the connection, so the fate of the cows is left ambiguous: the only reference left in the film is the line "Don' wanna be late for that big round-up in the sky!"
Originally Slim and his trio of henchmen were going to be ghost rustlers after being killed in a stampede. The one legged rabbit whose leg Slim stole was going to be a protagonist.
The deleted scenes revealed an alternate opening with three singing/narrating fly creatures, an alternate meeting with Lucky Jack, a coyote chase scene, and a different goal by Slim to use his hypnotized cows to storm the White House and be president. The producers realized all these scenes worked well on their own, but not in the context of the overall film, so they cut them all out.
Working Title: Originally titled Sweating Bullets, the higher-ups at Disney decided against releasing a children's film with the word "bullets" in the title.