Seekers of idyllic relaxation posed beside the rustic cabins at Camp Clark, Galena. Were middle class Arcadians with automobiles contradictory? This variety of primitivism was not radically anti-technological.

Photographer George Hall began his career photographing characters and scenes relating to Harold Bell Wright’s 1907 novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills.” The book described a romantic and idealized version of life in the White River Hills, and became a huge bestseller.

Curious tourists rode the new railways to the rugged country believing its inhabitants were characters in the book. Later automobiles delivered travelers to what became known as the Shepherd of the Hills Country. Both Branson and Galena benefitted from this publicity.

The way geography influences land use and culture fascinates us. The landscape of the lower James River and its parent stream, the White River, has deep hills which have demonstrable consequences.

In our James River book we have explored these differences between the gently rolling landscape of the upper James, and the rugged lower river.

(This feature is courtesy of Leland and Crystal Payton at Lens & Pen Press, publishers of all-color books on the Ozarks. Their new book, “James Fork of the White: Transformation of an Ozark River,” 354 all-color pages, has been published and is available at ($35, postage paid) and on and Barnes & Noble. Their earlier river book, “Damming the Osage,” can be at seen