A hundred years ago Branson, Missouri was just a patch of wilderness in the quilt of the Ozarks. Then along came the railroad, a book and a dam and now Branson is known as “Little Las Vegas.”1903 brought the railroad to Branson. This allowed easy access for tourists looking for some quiet time away from the busy city life.Harold Bell Wright’s best selling book, Shepherd of the Hills, brought national attention to the natural resources found in Branson. It didn’t hurt when John Wayne was in a 1941 movie version of the book either. Since 1959, The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theater has performed this Ozark story and is considered the most performed outdoor drama in the U.S.Congress gave its permission in 1911 for the Powersite Dam. When they built the dam it, in turn, created Lake Taneycomo and a lake resort town was born. When we visited the area, we were struck by the beauty of the mountains as you roll closer and closer to town and by the many things to do once you get there.A visit to Branson is a treat for all ages and tastes. Outdoor addicts can find fantastic fishing and more. For the shopper, there is a great outlet mall, which was my personal favorite. If you want to be entertained it has everything from theaters to country music legends. For the kids, there are a couple of theme parks. And it only took a railroad, a book and a dam. Oh, and maybe a hundred years of progress helped, too.