Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama | Cherokee, NC

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See “Unto These Hills” Outdoor Drama

Come see for yourself why the historic and heartbreaking tale of the Trail of Tears continues to leave viewers with a sense of wonder for the lives of those who lived the real story.

In just two hours, Unto These Hills traces back to the years before the heartbreak of the Trail of Tears all the way to present day, giving an artistic look at the Cherokee’s place in a world that will leave a slight chill up your spine at the very end.


Experience the Tragic and Triumphant Story of the Cherokee

 View our pricing, hours, and availability. With our online booking, you’ll receive real-time availability and instant confirmation directly to your email.

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Mountainside Theatre
688 Drama Road
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May 27, 2023 through October 19, 2023
(Monday – Saturday)

Gates open at 7pm
A pre-show musical performance starts at 7:30pm
The main show starts at 8pm

The show runs approximately 2 hours


Adult tickets start at $35
Child tickets start at $25
Children 5 and under are free

Be sure to check out our package deals to bundle and save
Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more

Visit CherokeeHistorical.org or call 828-497-2111 for more info and to book
For group sales, call 828-497-2111 x205 or email GroupsAndTouring@CherokeeAdventure.com

Please note, there are gunshots, flashing lights, and loud noises during the performance.

What is the Story of Unto These Hills?

The play opens with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistador, Hernando DeSoto in 1540. The appearance of DeSoto and his army establishes an ominous portent of what will befall the Cherokee Nation during the next three-hundred years. Early on the famous Cherokee leader, Yonaguska deliberates the fate of all Native peoples, and yet charts a peaceful course with his white neighbors and the American government. He even joins forces with Andrew Jackson at the famous Battle of Horseshoe Bend where another famous Cherokee leader, Junaluska saves Jackson’s life. Despite this, Jackson will later develop policies as President that usurp previous promises of Cherokee sovereignty and deliberately charts a course for the removal of the Cherokee from their traditional homelands.

The discovery of gold in Cherokee County in 1835 sets the stage for tribal lands to be overrun by the whites, who illegally occupy lands, build settlements and town, and generally disregard the cultural practices and freedoms of the Native population. Also, during this time, unscrupulous land agents descend upon area, carrying out the Manifest Destiny ideology, as well as creating deep divisions among the Cherokee people. It is at this point where the heartbreaking story of Tsali and his family begins to unfold. His unrelenting mistrust of the United States Government, along with his intense love of his people and their traditional ways, gives rise to an inevitable – and ultimately deadly - clash between him and the over-powering forces of the United States Army.

Tsali’s resistance to removal leads to the untimely death of his beloved wife, Wilani, as well as him and his sons near the end of the play. They sacrifice themselves so that a small group of Cherokee will be able to remain in their homeland. But sadly, shortly following the men’s execution, the infamous Trail of Tears begins. Despite this dark and tragic episode in the lives of the Cherokee, the ending of the play is filled with beautifully sculpted imagery and effective emotional symmetry, symbolizing the re-emergence of a people whose spiritual fortitude, social complexities, and human courage will never be broken.

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