Story of the Show:

"Horn in the West," the nation's oldest Revolutionary War drama, brings to life the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone and the hardy mountain settlers in their struggle to preserve their freedom during the turbulent years of the War for Independence. The drama highlights those settlers who came to the Blue Ridge Mountains seeking freedom and escape from British tyranny.


On April the 11th, 2001, Dr. Kermit Hunter passed away in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Hunter wrote the script for "Horn in the West" as well as forty other historical productions. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he wrote "Unto These Hills" as his Master's Thesis under Dr. Paul Greene.

Dr. Hunter was an eloquent spokesman for the outdoor drama art form. He was an accomplished musician who attended the Julliard School of Music and often composed the scores for his shows. He was also an accomplished indoor theatre playwright and poet. Over 1.4 million people have seen Horn in the West since it opened in 1952.


Built in 1952 in just 3 months and designed by John Lippard and 4 students from the NC State School of Design, the 2,500-seat Daniel Boone Theatre has been described as the best outdoor theatre in the East. These students took 35 acres of rugged Watauga County terrain, including a tree-covered ravine and molded a beautiful outdoor theatre into the natural surroundings. Keeping in mind the heritage and traditions of the people of Western North Carolina, Lippard and the students designed their stage to fit author Hunter's play. The theatre's background also was fashioned to fit the staging directions of the drama, and blend in with the mountain landscape. Construction is of frame (painted a soft gray) while a native stone is used as a retaining wall around the seating area and stage.

While working their plans, the designers attempted not to disturb the existing vegetation and used native plants in the landscape scheme. Giant rhododendrons, located in the seating area, were moved up the hill to help screen the theatre from the parking lots.

Community Collaboration:

The Daniel Boone Theatre and Horn in the West grounds continue to serve the High Country in various ways. The Southern Appalachian Historical Association, Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, Watauga County Farmers Market, and a Halloween event "Haunted Horn" now call "Horn in the West" home.

Details & Schedule:

Horn in the West is 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from mid-June through mid-August.

Website is: and phone is: (828) 264-2120.

Daniel Boone Native Gardens:

The Daniel Boone Native Gardens are adjacent to the "Horn in the West" Grounds. The gardens are an impressive display of native flora of the Appalachian region and provide a must-see collection of mature regional plants and landscaping.

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum:

The museum is open 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from mid-June through mid-August, and 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturdays from May through October. Visit