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Columbia Pictures purchased Clarence Budington Kelland's 1939 novel "Arizona," intending it as a reunion vehicle for Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, the stars of Mr. Deeds Goes To Town and The Plainsman. When Cooper became unavailable, the studio assigned the male lead to their Golden Boy sensation, William Holden. Budgeted at $2.3 million, Arizona was produced on a grand scale, complete with a full-sized recreation of the 1860's Tucson settlement, majestic location scenery, hundreds of extras, boisterous Apache raids and a spectacular cattle stampede. Opening on Christmas Day 1940, Arizona was hailed as a rip-roaring Western from a director, Wesley Ruggles, who knew how to make them (Ruggles directed the 1931 Academy Award(r)-winning Best Picture, Cimarron).