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In 1939, Branson was described as “the paradise of the Ozarks—the playground of America.” Originally home to the Osage, the harsh rocky terrain made homesteading difficult. The Ozarks’s wilderness became a hideout for bushwhackers following the Civil War. The masked “Bald Knobbers” developed as vigilantes to defend mountain families. Today, the “Baldknobbers” are known as Branson’s first musical show. In 1894, tours began in Marble Cave, one of 8,000 Ozarks caves. Now known as Marvel Cave, it boasts the largest cave entrance room in the United States and remains a main attraction at Silver Dollar City’s theme park. Many visitors are lured by the natural beauty, healthful atmosphere, and recreational activities offered in the Ozarks. Harold Bell Wright penned The Shepherd of the Hills while recuperating here at the beginning of the 20th century. A wave of tourism to the Branson area followed its 1907 publication. Today, the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” welcomes more than eight million visitors yearly.