Recursive Adaptation: The Disney books were inspired by the movie, which was inspired by the original novel.
Troubled Production: There were many troubles going on with the production. Several veteran animators either retired or died early in production, batshes of animation drawings were stolen, leaving several scenes to be rotoscoped from pencil tests, and Don Bluth led an exodus of practically half the animation team, which delayed its release by six months.
What Could Have Been: Don Bluth was assigned to co-direct the film until he and his colleagues departed from the studio in 1979. Scenes he worked on were the scenes of Widow Tweed milking the cow and her grabbing Slade's gun and accidentally shooting it.
Originally, Chief was going to die, thus making Copper's revenge against Tod much more extreme, but the idea was discarded for being too dark and was rewritten so Chief would get injured instead.