Shepherd of the Hills....from a Childs Perspective


Shepherd Of Hills
Outdoor Drama Final Performance

We had the incredible opportunity to see the FINAL performance of the Outdoor Drama at Shepherd of the Hills, when we were in Branson in October.  Have you ever read Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright?  The outdoor drama is based on the book.  It is said to be a true story from when Wright moved into the Ozark Hills and started a new life.  Only the names have been changed.  The Drama was awesome....and very accurate to the book.  I hadn't read the book first....but since we've been home, I've been reading the book to the kids at night before bedtime, and it is amazing to me how close the book and the drama are.  Very cool.  It helps in the understanding.  I am a very visual person, so it was awesome to see the drama first.

 Not only did we get to see the outdoor drama, but we also got to go to Inspiration Tower.  Here is what the website says about it:

Open Year Round 9AM to 5PM
Inspiration Tower is Branson's "landmark on the horizon" -- a massive 230' tall structure located Inspiration Toweron Inspiration Point in The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. Constructed and erected in 1989, the Tower's opening celebrated the 100th anniversary of Harold Bell Wright's first visit to the area. It weighs 3 million pounds, cost approximately $1.5 million to build, contains over 92,000 pounds of structural steel, and can withstand a constant wind of 172 mph or gusts of up to 224 mph! A convoy of 43 concrete trucks filled the Tower foundation, which contains five miles' worth of rebar weighing 34.5 tons. 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 are absolutely phenomenal, in any season. On a clear day, you can see over 90 miles. 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! The Tower is open year-round.


 YES!  I was LUCKY enough to GET TO ride these zip lines!!!!  It was IN-CRED-I-BLE!!!!!  TONS of fun!  UN-BE-LIEVE--ABLE!!!!!   If you are ever in Branson...you must go to Shepherd of the Hills and you must ride the Zipline!  So worth it!  It is THE TALLEST Zipline in the US!  Here I am in the blue!

After we went to Inspiration Tower and checked out the sites:

....we headed to our Jeep Tour!

I really wasn't sure what to expect because I didn't do my research.  I wasn't sure who Harold Bell Wright was...I hadn't read the book...I didn't know what the tour was really of....but I was excited to find out!  They had overbooked the first jeep to go out...so we weren't sure if we were going to get to go....but they decided to bring another jeep out...so we went on that one.  

 It drove us around the grounds.  The are all set up for Christmas.  They have an awesome light show.  I was sorry that we were only missing it by a couple weeks...but maybe next year!
Anyway, so here is one of the things we saw on the drive.....I'll show you more further in the post.
 This is the Mercantile where we loaded the jeep.  Lots of great things to look at and buy in there!
 Our first stop was the little church.  This church was brought here...I can't remember from where....but 2X4 by 2X4 it was brought and put together in the exact way that it was built in.  It has a great big church bell in it....MaKenna and Major both got to ring it...but it took them right off the floor it was so heavy!

The inside was beautiful.  They said they still have weddings in there.  It would make an incredible wedding location.  They said they have a horse drawn carriage there for the bride and groom...just like the good ole' days!


 MaKenna got to play the old piano that was there.  She was excited!  She loves to play piano!
 I would have liked to have gotten my hands on this one....but it was hands off!
We got back in the jeep and headed toward Inspiration Tower to check out the many statues that were there of the characters in the book.  But not before I got some great scenery pictures.  It is always prettier in person though.  These pictures don't do this Ozarks any justice at all.


 This is said to have been the actual homestead of "Dad" in the book.  Really...get the book...it is very interesting.  Takes some getting used to...but very interesting.
 Major had to hug them all.....he had no idea who they were....but he didn't care.




Then it was back in the jeep for a short jaunt to Old Matt's Cabin.  This is the original cabin....the stuff inside is the original stuff.  SO COOL!  I am a bit of a history buff...I LOVE stuff like this.  I could have stayed in THIS CABIN ALONE for the rest of the afternoon!
 What do you think this is?????  Anyone??  Photo #1 it will be labeled....tell me what you think in comments.....

 LOVE all sewing machines.  I have a couple...just waiting to be restored!
  This is Old Matt and Mollie....the main characters in the book.  Look at how the walls are built.  Isn't that incredible?
 More family photos.
 LOVE this old organ....isn't it amazing?  Okay...lower left hand corner...photo #2....what do you think THAT is???  Comment...

 This portion of the house...the bedroom is an add on later on....that is why the walls aren't the same.











 Photo #3....anyone know what this is????



Back in the jeep we went....and we headed down the "mountain" to the Outdoor Drama Auditorium.  I thought this was a neat picture to see.  We also got to get out and walk around a little bit....there was a little store just off to the side that we walked through.
 Here is only part of the auditorium as the sun was starting to head down for the day.
 Back in the jeep and back up the "mountain", here are more Christmas things we saw.

 We stopped here to see the meeting place of the Baldknobbers.  The Baldknobbers actually started out as good guys.  Vigilantes basically...but they took their power a tad too far and ended up being very naughty.  On top of that white hill is where they used to meet back in the day.
 Then we passed by this little cave.
 This is the actual house of one of the characters in the book who sold Moonshine.
 And here is the Moonshine distiller...or whatever it is called!
 More Christmas things we went by.....it would be SO neat to see it all in lights and interactive on the Trail of Lights!  I can't wait to go back and see it sometime!





By the time we were back it was time to start getting in line for the Outdoor Drama.  We had assigned seats, but we wanted to get down there and have a bit to eat before the show started.  It was dinner time and the kids were starving.  We had a PRIME parking spot and didn't want to leave and give it up!  I know that is shallow...but it was a bit chilly out and we weren't well prepared.  We had pants on and most of us had long sleeved shirts on as well as jackets....but this happened to be the coldest day that we were there....and it was in the upper 40's...which isn't THAT bad.  Luckily I always have blankets in the van....why?  Because I AM A HOCKEY MOM!  Always be prepared for the Ice Rinks...you never know when it will be an extra cold rink.  So we grabbed the blankets and went to stand in line.  

They had the jeeps take us down.  We could have walked....but we didn't realize that at the time.  First of course...just like everywhere else though, they had to take our picture.  Later on during the shows intermission, they put all of the pictures up for us to see....and it was THE BEST family picture we had taken YET....at least on this trip.  I TOTALLY would have bought it except we were short a kid who was sick at the hotel.  I didn't feel it was right to display a picture minus a child.  Oh well!  Such is life....
 Once we got down to the Outdoor Drama area, Jeff and Jake stood in line to get us snacks and drinks and MaKenna, Major and I went to check out some more Trail of Lights things.  They were so excited to see this with the Jesus Camels as they called them!
 And Baby Jesus....
 After we had a little bite to eat, they invited everyone to go to the "stage" and meet the actors, take pictures, etc.  Major saw these logs and wanted a picture there.  Major is SUCH a ham.  I was going to only post one of these pictures....but doesn't he just make you want to smile?  I couldn't resist....




 Old Matt is a BIG guy....Major was a little apprehensive at first....but...
 He warmed up to him really quick!  Look at the size of his hands!!!!
 Major enjoyed playing with this sharpening tool too.

 As ALL PERFORMANCES SHOULD....they started with patriotism.
 Soon, the show started......

 These are Baldknobbers.....see their funny face coverings?

 Here is "Dad" and his friend from back east....you really have to read the book to get it...
 I just love the old attire.  I am not sure I would have liked wearing it....but, some of them were so pretty....and simple....for a simpler time I guess.
 So, it was SUPER cold.  I am not sure of the temperature...but I do know after being out in the elements for several hours, it was incredibly cold.  The day was long and the Outdoor Drama was a bit long also...and MaKenna was just getting over Strep that she was diagnosed with two days before...so it wasn't long before she was zonked.

 This old car made its appearance too.  It was so neat.  I wish I knew what it was.  Can anyone comment and tell me what it was?  Not a trick question...I really don't know what it is!  :-)


The Baldknobbers were super mad at "Dad", so they were going to "teach him a lesson" and burn his house down.

 And that is just what they TRIED to do....
 Our jeep tour guide told us that this house has been burnt so many times!  I forget the exact number....but we could feel the heat from the burst from where we were sitting.  It was really neat.  While we were busy during intermission, some of the actors and stage hands were busy dousing the house with accelerant so that there would be a big explosion.  It worked!  Then they put out the fire the old fashioned way....the bucket assembly line.  Very cool.  The tour guide had told us that one time some years ago, they hadn't gotten every spark out and over night it slowly burnt to the ground, so they took the whole day and rebuilt it so that it would be ready for the show that night!  They were speedy!


The show was really neat....but we were super cold.  Part of me wishes I had read the book first...but given that the book is using period language (the hills slang and accents), I am not sure I would have understood the book first.  Now...having watched the Outdoor Drama and hearing from the tour guide, the book makes much more sense to me.  Or at least more than I think it would have had I not watched the Outdoor Drama first.  Remember....I am a visual learner.  :-)

I really think this is a must stop location if you ever are visiting Branson.  You can learn so much about Branson's history and the Ozarks there....and experience the beauty of the Ozarks and Branson.  I am truly sad to see the Outdoor Drama go....however, everything else is still going...the tours...the zipline...the Trail of Lights...Inspiration Tower....everything else is still an active part of Shepherd of the Hills....and MUST STOP location.  And....affordable.  When you go...tell me what you think!

Hi!  My name is Jake!  I am 12 and this was my absolute favorite thing on the Branson trip!  When mom asked me when I got home what my favorite thing was...I told her Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama!  She acted surprised...but it really was!!!  I thought it was so neat!  I really like the 1800's time and guns...and fire...and fighting....and stuff like that.  Mom says it is because I am a boy....but I really did like it.  I don't know why she was surprised that it was my favorite thing!  I can't wait until mom and Major and MaKenna are done reading the book so that I can read it.  Mom told you everything that we did, so I won't say it again, but other than the fact that it was SUPER cold, it was like watching a real live movie!  I LOVED IT!

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