Shepherd of the Hills: A Dose of Branson’s History

When Harold Bell Wright went to Missouri, he was inspired by the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. He wrote a book entitled “Shepherd of the Hills” and this was what put Missouri on the map. Today, Shepherd of the Hills does not only pertain to the book written by Wright but also to the place in Branson, Missouri. Shepherd of the Hills has gathered its fame through the years.

The Shepherd of the Hills did not start as how most people think; its history started with an ill minister, great flooding of the White River, a beautiful homestead, and a book – all wrapped by the culture of the Ozark Mountains.

In 1986, Harold Bell Wright, an ill minister suffering from consumption from Kansas, arrived in the area of the Ozark Mountains seeking a better climate condition for his health. He was amazed by the beauty of the place. But due to the great flooding of the White River, he temporarily transferred to the homestead of the couple, John and Anna Ross, which was bought during the 1800’s. He set up a campsite and through the years was immersed in the people and the rich culture of the Ozarks, which inspired his book, Shepherd of the Hills. The book was published in 1907 and became a hit. This drew dozens of visitor’s to the Ross’s Ozarks homestead and started the fame of the place.

In 1910, the Ross’s sold their homestead to and M.R. Driver, who then turned the homestead into an inn where tourists could stay and dine. It gathered more attention and made the place more famous. Because of this, the area started to change and was transformed into a tourist destination. The tourist destination had theaters as one of its biggest draws as a Ms McDaniel began re-enacting plays of the Shepherd of the Hills book in the 1920’s. And during the 1960’s, the theater business was already booming. More shows and attractions were added in the 1970’s. In 1989, a 230-foot tower on the exact site of Harold Bell Wright’s first campground to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the writer’s first visit. The tower is known as the Inspiration Tower and its location is known as the Inspiration Point. The place was getting more and more famous each year, attracting thousands of tourists to the area.

Today, the Shepherd of the Hills still is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Branson, Missouri. One of the most popular features it has is the nightly show Outdoor Drama, which is an epic story of love, tragedy, and redemption in the Ozarks. The Inspiration Towers still continues to inspire people with the view it comes with. People in search for good food and good music go to The Sons of the Pioneers Chuckwagon Dinner Show, which features Grammy Hall of Fame performers and an authentic chuckwagon meal. And for some adventure, there is a horseback trail ride through the 160-acre homestead that started it all and the Vigilante Extreme Ziprider. During the holidays, the Shepherd of the Hills invite tourists to drive through the trail of lights, which is one of the longest and most festive Christmas light displays in the Ozarks.

Whatever time of the year it is, the Shepherd of the Hills never fail to give tourists a great experience! For more information about the Shepherd of the Hills, please visit

Get Your 2017 Vacation Guide CTA

Return to Branson Blog Home

Add comment