BRANSON, Mo. -- Over pancakes and syrup at the Bob Evans restaurant here, banker Smith W. Brookhart 3d can barely contain his excitement.

"We are making a bunch of millionaires in Branson," said Mr. Brookhart, as a country music singer belted out a song in the background. "We are seeing a lot more Lexuses in the driveways then we used to. it used to be all pickups and jeeps."

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