We left our home-away-from-home at noon to source out the location of the outdoor drama “Shepherd of the Hills,” for which we had tickets that evening. John wanted to make sure we could avoid, as much as possible, all the lineups on Highway 76 coming into Branson and I wanted to confirm our seating as I had not received anything but a ticket purchase number when I bought them online.
On the way we stopped at a viewpoint/conservation area and walked 350 m down one of the trails to find a geocache. (In case you haven’t figured it out yet we are hoping to find at least one cache each day of our trip. Sort of a personal goal thing.). We have learned since we got here that southern Missouri has lots of rocks. Large walls of them along the highways, cliffs in the forests and many rocks and roots on the trails.
It was a good thing we stopped in at the ticket center because it took the lady a few minutes navigating their new computer system to find our assigned seats and print tickets.
Shepherd of the Hills is a drama based on the novel written in 1907 by Harold Bell Wright. The story is based on actual events and was the first book to sell 1 million copies in the US. It remains the 4th most widely read book in publishing history. The outdoor play has been produced for 58 years (it was slated to not be presented in 2017 but new owners saved the show).
At the Shepherd of the Hills complex is Inspiration Tower, a 230′ observation tower and start of the Vigilante Extreme Zipline. The zipline was not operating today due to the wind and predicted storm but we took the elevator to the top to see what we could see. Since it was a cloudy day the views of the Ozark forests were not very sharp and clear and we could not see as far off to the horizon as if it were a sunny day, but we got a pretty good idea of the area. We even saw what looked like a forest fire. Not a good thing. And it was too reminiscent of all the wildfires raging in BC right now. The ticket attendant said that it did, indeed, look like a forest fire. “That’s a biggun’,” but he was not unduly concerned. They have had rain lately so things are not severely dry. On the way back to the resort we drove into a little peninnsula park that had a geocache and found a few more on other side roads. The ticket agent at Sheperd of the Hills told us to call at 6:30 and confirm the show was going to go ahead as there was rain predicted. Everything was a go when we called so we headed out for an evening of entertainment.
There were gun fights, horses, donkeys and mules, a building fire, romance and fistfights and redemption. What more could you wish for? It was a good story. Some of the characters were a bit ‘over acted,’ but we had a good time and enjoyed the show. (John and I estimate that there is seating for about 1700 people, although it wasn’t very busy last night.) There is usually a meet and greet with the actors after the performance but last night it was cancelled due to a rapidly approaching rain storm. People park quite a distance from the theater and are brought down by trollies so they wanted to be sure everyone got back to their cars before the rain hit. And when it did; it really rained.
It wasn’t a jam-packed active day but it suited us just fine and we saw some sights, were entertained, and didn’t get wet.