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Shepherd of the Hills

Visitors may have read the book or seen the John Wayne version of the film but here's the chance to see the play in the setting in which it was written. Harold Bell Wright's 1907 semi-biographical tale of Ozark life, The Shepherd of the Hills, is played out in this outdoor evening production.

The amphitheatre is built on the actual setting where Wright lived as he wrote this Ozark epic of triumph, tragedy and love. The book is brought to life with over 80 actors, 40 horses, a flock of sheep, guns and rifles, a burning log cabin and a vintage 1908 DeWitt automobile.

During the day, guests can tour the log house where Wright first experienced Ozark hospitality, ride in wagons pulled by huge Clydesdale horses, watch artisans at work and explore the Ozark village, which after dark becomes the stage for the show.

The play first opened in 1959 and has become the longest running outdoor drama ever performed. Performances run from early spring to the end of October.

Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama. Harold Bell Wright's epic story of love, loss, power, hardship, and the true meaning of life is immortalized every night on a set the size of a football field. It takes more than 90 actors and actresses, 40 horses, a flock of sheep, several guns and rifles, an actual burning log cabin, bluegrass music, dancing at the hoe-down and a vintage 1908 DeWitt automobile to make the live action performance what it is—a legend.
Since the first season in 1959-60, the outdoor drama has entertained millions of Branson visitors. People who came to see the show as children come back to bring their own families. The cast members exhibit the loyalty and affection they have for the story itself. Several of them have been in the drama since its inception. The Shepherd of the Hills is not just another Ozarks show--it is the story of the Ozarks.
The adventure begins with a pre-show at 8 p.m., followed by the performance at 8:30 p.m. During intermission, the entire audience is welcome to join the cast for a square dance hoedown. Once guests take their seats, it is a thrill-ride of entertainment, and the audience is on the edge of their chairs by the end.

Homestead Tour. Hop on a Jeep-drawn tram to enjoy a 60-minute tour of The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. The first stop will be the original structure of Old Matt's Cabin, which served as the Ross family home for approximately 30 years before it was established in history through Harold Bell Wright's famous novel (and on the National Registry of Historic Places). Inside the cabin there are numerous antiques and historical items, including clothing worn by John and Anna Ross, some of their furniture, photographs, tools, cooking utensils and much more.

InspirationTower, the 230-ft lookout tower was built in 1989 to commemorate the 100 th anniversary of Harold Bell Wright's first visit to the Ozark Mountains. (Don’t worry there are elevators!) Inspiration Tower is Branson's "landmark on the horizon" located on Inspiration Point in the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. It weighs 3 million pounds and cost approximately $1.5 million to build. The Tower also contains over 4,400 square feet of glass - enough to cover a third of a football field!
Two glass elevators transport visitors to the spacious, enclosed observation deck. The panoramic views available from both decks are absolutely phenomenal, in any season. There's also a specialty gift shop, snack bar and restrooms on the ground level.
During November and December, Inspiration Tower is transformed into the Ozarks' largest Christmas tree for the Trail of Lights!

1901 MorganCountyChurch. The following stop will be at a quaint church relocated to the homestead from Morgan County, Missouri. The church was constructed in 1901 and resembles one that Harold Bell Wright preached in during his time in Kansas. In fact, while touring the church, Mr. Wright pays each tram group a visit and tells a little about his life.

Behind-the-scenes look at The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama during the next phase of the tour. The tour guide will take guests down on the set, where they will be up close with Old Matt's steam engine and grist mill. Here tourists will learn all that it takes to put on the production every night.

Little Pete’s Cave. Peer into Little Pete's Cave and see a real, working moonshine still. Also visit the horses at the stables. After the tour is completed guests can stroll through the gift shops and the kids will want to check out the City Kids and Country Cousins' Playground. There's always something happening at the Homestead!

The Pavilion Theatre and Chuckwagon Shows offer brunch and dinner menus while watching a show. Sons of the Pioneers are the dinner show performers. Ricky Boen and Texas Mud lead the entertainment at the brunch show.

Horseback Riding. Come on down to Shepherd of the Hills and take a trail ride through history. This 30-minute ride on horses used in the action packed drama, The Shepherd of the Hills, runs through the historic homestead and will takes riders on some of the same trails the Baldknobbers rode. See the majestic Ozark hills, The Trail Nobody Knows How Old. Ride down in the Holler, all in the beautiful shade of the Ozark woods. This is an opportunity to ride a real show horse.
Clydesdale Wagon Rides are also available. Visitors take a leisurely ride by wagon drawn by the Shepherd of the Hills beautiful Clydesdales, through the historic homestead.

Cowboy Chapel, Ridin’ for His brand. Sunday mornings.

Christmas Trail of Lights . The Trail of Lights is a drive-through animation display that carries tourists into the very heart of Christmas. The Trail winds its way through the historic 160-acre homestead, and leads down the famous "Trail that Nobody Knows How Old" into a holiday wonderland. Favorites include A Victorian Village, North Pole Village, The Elves General Store, The Animals Knelt, Reindeer Care, The Reason for the Season and Land of Sugar and Spice, just to name a few. Guests travel through a variety of different lands, each with their own theme, from fantasy to religious to patriotic. Life-size (and some larger than life) three-dimensional characters have their own housing so guests can "peek" in on the fun happening inside. Festive holiday music is themed to each scene, and visitors are sure to find themselves singing along. As the grand finale to the journey, visitors are invited to stop by Inspiration Tower where they can ride glass elevators up 230-ft. for a Santa’s eye view of the lights from above.

Shepherd of the Hills, 5586 W. Highway 76, Branson, phone 800-653-6288 or 417-334-4191 or

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