The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead Tour gives guests an up-close-and-personal look at Branson’s most historic production and the legendary homestead it calls home! The tour is taken on Jeep-drawn trams and visits the theater, Inspiration Point, Old Matt’s Cabin, and the Morgan Community Church. Shepherd of the Hills is the only outdoor live theater production in the area; it tells the story from the best-selling book of the same name. The Shepherd of the Hills tale is based on visits to the Branson area in the late 1800’s by author and minister, Harold Bell Wright. The book was first published in 1907 and saw several reprints and more than one movie made about the story of the hardscrabble life of the Ozarks’ hillfolk; the most popular version being one that starred John Wayne as Young Matt. The day-time tour of the Homestead makes seeing the live night-time show in the outdoor theater all the more enjoyable!
Old Matt’s Cabin is the actual home of the book’s main character and it still stands at the original site; it’s been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inspiration Point is the beautiful spot with stunning views where author, Wright, chose to camp during a visit to the Ozarks. This site also includes a monument to Wright and statues of his story’s key characters; Old Matt, The Shepherd, Aunt Mollie, Sammy Lane, Young Matt, and Little Pete. The Old Morgan Community Church was saved from demolition in another part of the Branson area and brought to Shepherd of the Hills. It was chosen because of its similarity to the church’s Wright ministered in during his travels throughout Southern Missouri. The visit to the theater includes a stop at the site of Old Matt’s grist mill where the Old Mill Theatre was created in the wooded setting more than 50 years ago. Guests can actually step onto the stage for a true behind-the-scenes experience that includes stories about the legendary production, and a firsthand look at the magic behind the show’s special effects. Your visit also includes a peek into the life of one of the Branson area’s oldest professions...at the Jennings moonshine still!
Helpful Hints/Additional Information
- The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead is located at 5586 West Highway 76 on the outskirts of Branson just a couple of miles before you reach Silver Dollar City.
- Tours are taken every hour from 10:00AM to 4:00PM, with the last tour beginning at 4:00PM.
- The tour includes Inspiration Point, Old Matt’s Cabin, the Morgan Community Church, the outdoor theater and stage, and Jennings Still.
- In addition to the live theater production, the property is home to Inspiration Tower, the Vigilante Extreme ZipRider, and the Trail of Lights Christmas display during November and December.
- There is a gift shop and concession in the ground level of Inspiration Tower.
- The tour is taken in a covered tram, but always check the weather in advance and dress accordingly.
- The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead Tour is family-friendly and suitable for all ages.
This professionally guided tour is the most enjoyable way to learn about the culture of the Ozarks and its people in much the same way Harold Bell Wright saw them more than 100 years ago. There’s only one like it...only one famous and historic Ozarks homestead. So gather family and friends and enjoy something that’s both entertaining and educational, the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead Tour! Do something legendary in Branson!