Shepherd of the hills will close after 54 seasons
It has been a long and great run for the Shepherd of the Hills show in Branson, MO. The theater owner released a statement that cited rising insurance and production costs, declining crowds, and personal health as the primary reasons for closing the show after 54 seasons. “It came as a shock for sure,” said Lynn Berry, director of communications for the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We all thought they would always be one of those Branson touchstones.”
The Shepherd of the Hills Drama began in 1960. The play was one of the earliest attractions that built Branson to what it is today. During the shows biggest peak in the 1970’s and 1980’s it would bring in crowds in excess of 2000 guests per night. Often selling out and being the talk of Branson. The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead will continue to host guests and provide all the attractions it currently holds.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we make this difficult announcement.” Said Gary and Pat Snadon, owners of the Shepherd of the Hills theater. “We have had an incredible run.” The outdoor drama is based on the book named “Shepherd of the Hills”, by Harold Bell Wright. His visit to the Branson area became the basis for the novel, which is said to have become the first book in the United States to sell ore than 1 million copies. The story was brought to life beginning in the 1920’s, but was not introduced to the Old Mill Theater until August of 1960. Gary Snadon actually began in the production performing the character of Wash Gibbs for three seasons. The later purchased the theater and homestead in 1985.
The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead will be preserved and maintained as a historical landmark, the company said, and tours of Old Matt’s Cabin, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will still be available during the summer months. There are also fun homestead tours that share the stories of the Baldknobbers and elaborate on the history of the homestead. The Inspiration Tower and the Vigilante ZipRider will be open all year. The Trail of Lights Christmas Light displays will be available for driving through during November and December. The Christmas on the Trail Chuckwagon Dinner Show will also still operate as normal.