Vintage Ozarks

Harold Bell Wright’s erstwhile melodrama jump-starts Ozarks tourism

In his just-published “Volume 2, A History of the Ozarks, The Conflicted Ozarks,” Brooks Blevins gives credit to Harold Bell Wright’s 1907 novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, for fixing an image of the Ozarks as a homeland of dramatically primitive but appealing Americans. 

Blevins attended a performance of the Shepherd of the Hills outdoor theater near Branson in 2013: “It wasn’t Chekov; no one goes to the ‘Shepherd of the Hills’ thinking it’s going to be. But it was entertaining — and melodramatic, syrupy, platitudinous, and predictable, just like the beloved novel on which it as based.”  

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