John Wayne on the set of "The Alamo," 1960. The movie set, later known as Alamo Village, was constructed near Brackettville, Texas, on the ranch of James T. "Happy" Shahan. Chatto Rodriquez, the general contractor of the set, built 14 miles of tarred roads for access to the set from Brackettville. His men sank six wells to provide 12,000 gallons of water each day and laid miles of sewage and water lines. They also built 5,000 acres of horse corrals.
Rodriquez worked with art designer Alfred Ybarra to create the set. Historians Randy Roberts and James Olson describe it as "the most authentic set in the history of the movies". More than 1.25 million adobe bricks were formed by hand to create the walls of the former Alamo Mission. The set was an extensive three quarter-scale replica of the mission, and has been used in 100 other westerns, including other depictions of the battle. It took more than two years to construct.
John Wayne was to have portrayed Sam Houston, a bit part that would have let him focus on his first major directing effort, but investors insisted he play a leading character. He took on the role of Davy Crockett, handing the part of Houston to Richard Boone.