Date of Graduation

Spring 1996


Master of Arts


Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Robert Bradley


Harold Bell Wright's most successful novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, was, in the 1920's, ranked behind only The Bible, The Koran, and Gone with the Wind in popularity, and has been filmed five times. The story has been dramatized by several different theatrical agencies, including The Federal Theatre Project and the Poli Players of Connecticut. The Branson, Missouri, productions have been staged by Southern Illinois State University, Central Missouri State University at Warrensburg, The Old Mill Players, Inc., and finally The Shepherd of the Hills Historical Society, Inc. This final production was partially responsible for the influx of tourism to southwest Missouri and helped create the tourist Mecca of Branson, Missouri. Though no longer the premiere attraction for the area, "The Shepherd of the Hills" play has succeeded in developing the local identity and establishing the myth of the Ozark hills. This historical report of the Branson productions illustrates the uniqueness of "The Shepherd of the Hills" in relation to the tourism trade in Branson and to Outdoor Drama in America.

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


© Michael Lewis Frizell

Open Access