Courtesy of Shepherd of the Hills
Inspiration TowerInspiration Tower at Shepherd of the Hills offers a 230-foot view of the hills to the northwest of Branson.
Literary Landmarks: Harold Bell Wright, 1872-1944
Harold Bell Wright wrote nineteen novels— one of the first American authors to reach such a figure—but just one book made his reputation in Missouri. The Shepherd of the Hills has become part of the literary canon for generations of schoolchildren in the Ozarks.
“This, my story, is a very old story,” begins the 1907 book, which portrays the author’s ideals of love and responsibility through the woven lives of Ozarks country folk. Wright’s storytelling—with its clear, Christian understanding of truth, good, and evil—inspires millions of readers today, some of them descendants of the rural audience that vaulted Wright toward millionaire wealth.
In Branson, the Shepherd of the Hills park offers visitors a direct experience of that storytelling. At the park’s outdoor Old Mill Theatre, hundreds of actors have dramatized the novel onstage in 50 seasons of performances. Along with the play, visitors should swing by Old Matt’s Homestead, which preserves the cabin of homesteaders John and Anna Ross, models for the beloved Old Matt and Aunt Molly in Wright’s novel. Wright pitched his tent on the Rosses’ land when he came to the Ozarks around the turn of the century, seeking respite from tuberculosis.
5586 West Highway 76, Branson, Missouri 65616 View Map