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SEASON 4, 1975-1976


Cast List
John-Boy Walton: Richard Thomas
John Walton: Ralph Waite
Olivia Walton: Michael Learned
Esther Walton (Grandma): Ellen Corby
Zebulon Tyler Walton (Grandpa): Will Geer
Mary Ellen Walton: Judy Norton
Jason Walton: Jon Walmsley
Ben Walton: Eric Scott
Erin Walton: Mary Elizabeth McDonough
Jim-Bob Walton: David W. Harper
Elizabeth Walton: Kami Cotler

Production Staff
Executive Producers: Lee Rich and Andy White
Producer: Robert L. Jacks
Story Editors: Andy White and Paul West
Executive Story Consultant: Earl Hamner
Associate Producer/Production Manager: Neil T. Maffeo
Music: Alexander Courage
Theme Song by Jerry Goldsmith
Created by Earl Hamner

“The Sermon”
Original airdate: 09/11/1975
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harry Harris
Miss Hunter and Reverend Fordwick are to be married soon, so Olivia agrees to teach school while John-Boy is recruited by Reverend Fordwick to preach the Sunday sermon. He is nervous about the chore and it doesn’t help when everyone else is either eagerly looking forward to the event or thinks he can’d do it. Already apprehensive about teaching school, Olivia is embarrassed when Mary Ellen fights with Martha Rose over the latter’s treatment of her mother and when Jim-Bob doesn’t have his theme ready. Grandma urges John-Boy to preach a fire-and-brimstone sermon, while Grandpa and John encourage him to just say what he feels and to ignore books and advice. Olivia finally gets Jim-Bob to write his “My Favorite Person” theme and its contents inspire both Olivia and John-Boy. Her scheme to get the childrens’ minds working, taking them outside on a warm day, succeeds, but arouses neighborhood gossip about her unorthodox teaching methods. A family picnic on the mountain restores her good spirits, and the sight of his parents’ love, his family relationships, and a view that’s “a sermon in itself” inspires John-Boy: his sermon is about what he’s learned from different beliefs and different ways of being religious in his search for a topic, but most importantly is about love.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter. Rosemary Hunter: Mariclare Costello. Professor Ramey: Basil Hoffman. Martha Rose Coverdale: Cindy Eilbacher.

“The Genius”
Original airdate: 09/18/1975
Screenplay: Robert Weverka
Director: Harry Harris
The family is preparing for a church bazaar and Erin is putting together a play about the life of Joan of Arc when John-Boy brings home his physics tutor, Lyle Thomason, for the weekend at Dean Beck’s request. Lyle is a 16-year-old genius who is brilliant at every school subject, but lacks social graces, and his matter-of-fact, pedantic manner and his lack of humor alienates the family and anyone he talks to. At dinner, Lyle reveals he went to a special school from the age of five and rarely saw his illiterate family. It’s only after much soul-searching and understanding that the Waltons realize Lyle has been treated more like a laboratory animal than a person all his life. Meanwhile, Lyle develops a crush on Mary Ellen, but cannot understand her playful squirt of him with the hose when he begins droning on about scientific discoveries at the World’s Fair. He attends the church bazaar, although he cannot understand the fun element, thinking it better to just give money to the church. When Jason quits Erin’s play in disgust, Mary Ellen tries to recruit Lyle, but he refuses. John-Boy tells him off and the young man shyly does appear in the play, his performance improving and becoming more animated with each line. Afterward, he thanks the family for putting up with him, and to express it properly, he toasts them with water—and then pours it over Mary Ellen’s head!
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Lyle Thomason: Dennis Kort. Dean Beck: George D. Wallace. Little Girl: Alexis jacks. Secretary: Kim O’Brien. Student: Tim Haldeman
Robert Weverka wrote three Waltons paperback novels, actually adaptations of two different scripts per book. He did novelizations on many television and movie subjects, including Search and The Magic of Lassie.
Ralph Waite does not appear in this episode; John is “in Norfolk.”

“The Fighter”
Original airdate: 09/25/1975
Screenplay: Andy White
Director: Ivan Dixon
James Trevis Clark, an amiable black man from Richmond, trades a day’s work at the sawmill for room and board-and some privacy. In his off hours he is always exercising, and when the children catch him jumping rope, John-Boy guesses that he’s a prizefighter in training and thinks he’d make a good story for the paper. Grandma and Olivia don’t like the idea of him training on their property, as they are against prizefighting. James admits he’s preparing for the biggest fight of his career in Richmond, his home town, where fighting got him out of the slums. His presence excites the children so much that Olivia wants him to leave, until she finds out he wants to win the fight to use the money to build a church in the slums and preach the gospel. Verdie Foster, however, doesn’t take even that news well and forbids Jody to see the man. John-Boy takes James in town to find him a manager, but when the fight arranger wants to fix the fight, John-Boy takes on the job instead. In case of trouble, John, Grandpa, Zack Roswell, and Ike accompany James and John-Boy to the fight. The opposition puts in a ringer, but James agrees to fight him nevertheless and starts well, but his opponent’s blows soon tire him and he loses. His loss throws him into despair. When he recovers, he discovers that all the members of the local black community have given him the money to start to build a church. That Sunday he preaches a sermon using John-Boy’s Bible stories for children as a basis, and soon returns to Richmond to start his dream church and help children.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Zack Roswell: James Gammon. Verdie Foster: Lynn Hamilton. James Trevis Clark: Cleavon Little. Ben Rafferty: Zachary A. Charles. Jody Foster: Erin Blunt. Iron Mike: Jim Nickerson. Sam Mumford: Dave Shelley. Ring Announcer: Russ Grieve. Sparring Partner: Charles Picerni. Church Elder: Martin St. Judge. The Comet Kid: Gary McLarey. Radio Announcer: Brett Hadley.
Cleavon Little played the Reverend Hawthorne Dooley in The Homecoming. Earl Hamner also wrote another story about an African-American preacher and his family, A Dream for Christmas in 1973, starring Hari Rhodes and Beah Richards: a black Southern minister is transferred to a dying parish in California. The movie was favorably reviewed, but unlike The Homecoming, a series was not forthcoming.

“The Prophecy”
Original airdate: 10/02/1975
Screenplay: Marion Hargrove
Director: Harry Harris
John-Boy is discouraged when one of his professors, who also writes, asks him what he is going to do for a living when he leaves college, since he cannot live on his writing. John is also feeling a big discouraged-and old-when he develops rheumatism in his fingers. Then a former classmate asks him to be the committee chairman for his high-school reunion, and talk of successful former classmates makes him feel as if he’s accomplished nothing. John’s disposition improves, however, when former classmate Cleveland Cathcart, who now lives in Washington, DC, arrives, while John-Boy is frustratedly kept busy trying to think of writers who make a living by it. Zack Roswell and Martin Renshaw are both a bit down about the upcoming reunion, but everyone else is enthused until Martin’s mother breaks her hip and the reunion can’t be held at his house. Oliva volunteers their own house to John’s chagrin, and the party goes well. John-Boy, placated by an interview of Sinclair Lewis that says that although he may not be rich, his writing satisfies him, and he reads it to his father, who understands. Later, Cathcart admits that although some of them have better jobs and homes and fancy possession-including himself-he’s always been envious of John, who has become a success with a loving family, good home, and a beautiful place to live, thus fulfilling the class prophecy which stated John would be “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Eula Mae: Lynn Carlin. Rachel Stickleback: Sandra Deel. Zack Roswell: James Gammon. Mrs. Graddy: Deanna Lund. Dr. Porter: Beaumont Breustle. B.C. Graddy: Noble Willingham. B.C. Graddy Jr: Jeff Cotler. Grover Cleveland Cathcart: James Ray. John Martin Renshaw: William Phipps. Ernestine Graddy: Nicole Henzel. Melvin Graddy: Brian Part.

“The Boondoggle”
Original airdate: 10/09/1975
Screenplay: Rod Petersen and Claire Whitaker
Director: Ralph Waite
John-Boy, expecting a tough, no-nonsense newspaperman, arrives in Rockfish to fetch writer Porter Sims, who’s working on the WPA Virginia guidebook, and discovers the mild-mannered man pitching pennies. Grandma thinks the guidebooks are just a “boondoggle” and useless, but John-Boy volunteers to take Sims to the Baldwin home when the writer says he is looking for unknown stories of genuine Virginia history. Grandpa is reluctant for him to do so. The sisters are impressed with Sims and entrust him with their late father’s, the Judge, papers. While Sims researches at the Baldwin home, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth start their own project, keeping fish in a holding pond to sell fresh, but Elizabeth starts treating the inventory as pets. Grandpa’s worst fears are realized when Sims finds a choice piece of Virginia history in the papers: Judge Baldwin was accused of treason by the Confederacy for harboring Union soldiers in the house! Miss Mamie collapses from the shock and John-Boy is alarmed when they refuse to have visitors. Miss Emily declares that they shall become hermits. Unable to find out the results of the trial, Sims is torn between his resolve to tell the truth and John-Boy’s insistence that he not tell what happened, to spare the Baldwin ladies shame. The fish business collapses when Elizabeth lets the stock free, but the sisters are relieved when Sims’ piece for the guidebook tells the truth, but in a way that the Judge will not be dishonored.
Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Porter Sims: Richard McKenzie. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Buck: Kevin Lee. Abel Bingley: David Clarke. Benny: Derek Triplett.

“The Breakdown”
Original airdate: 10/16/1975
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Ivan Dixon
Olivia catches Jason leaving early yet again for a radio show and she berates him for his unceasing routine of work and study with no rest in between, and wonders to John if Jason isn’t getting more than practical experience playing with Bobby Bigelow’s Haystack Gang. While Jason smarts under the load of responsibility placed on him by Bobby, like answering all the band’s fan mail, John-Boy applies for a library job under Professor Hoadley, who encourages him to change his major to library science, but gives him the job nevertheless. Olivia begs Jason to slow down, and he is warned by his professor about spreading himself too thin, but, as John-Boy later regretfully discovers, Jason thinks he must keep up with his older brother. During a barn dance, Jason strikes Betsy Morgan’s drunken boyfriend when the latter starts abusing her; a “frightened” Betsy persuades him to sleep on her porch that night lest the drunkard return. When Jason finally gets home, he finds Olivia disturbed not only by his staying out all night, but of the news of the brawl, and she forbids him to play more night engagements. Fortunately she doesn’t know where he spent the night. Betsy then begins thinking of him as a permanent fixture in her life, and he eventually blows up to John-Boy, who has discovered that Hoadley expects him to now major in library science-and that Jason resents him. Jason finally collapses in exhaustion and while he recovers Olivia makes him understand that he has to live up to no one’s expectations, while John-Boy makes Hoadley understand he cannot change his major. Jason finally tells both Bobby and Betsy he cannot give them one hundred percent of his time.
Betsy Morgan: Doney Oatman. Bobby Bigelow: Mayf Nutter. Professor Hoadley: Ivor Francis. Ralph Sorly: Harry Moses. Professor Thaxton: Jay Robinson. Deputy: Dave Cass.

“The Wing-Walker”
Original airdate: 10/23/1975
Screenplay: Andy White
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
Elderly Maude Gormley gives her mischievous goat Myrtle to the Waltons on the same day that John-Boy is assigned to interview daring wing-walker Bobbie Strom, performer at an upcoming fair, who he discovers is a beautiful young woman. John-Boy invites her to stay in their shed and becomes infatuated with her, while Grandma disapproves of the risks the girl takes. After taking a flight with her and her partner, Rex, John-Boy kisses her, but she pulls away and confesses that she was raped at age fifteen and in trying to conquer her fear from that event she has become reckless. Jim-Bob, who idolizes the young woman because she flies, becomes jealous when he sees his older brother kiss her after telling her she is special and should learn to love herself. Bobbie confides her troubles to Olivia, including the fact that she is falling in love both with the mountain and with John-Boy, but as she does, he’s wondering if his feeling for her are honest. For love of him, she decides to not do her stunts next day, but when John-Boy tells her he only wants to be friends, she thinks it’s due to her past and flees. She also finds out the roses she’s been receiving were not from John-Boy, but from Jim-Bob. On the day of the fair, both Bobbie and Myrtle vanish; Bobbie reappears at the fair attempting to walk the top wing of Rex’s biplane, to John-Boy and Jim-Bob’s horror, succeeding, but nearly falling. Bobbie later tells John-Boy that she has finally found her direction in life and kisses both him and an understanding Jim-Bob good-bye. And Grandma herself fetches Myrtle home—the goat has simply run home to Maude’s.
Maude Gormley: Merie Earle. Bobbie Strom: Lee Purcell. Rex Barker: Tom Bower. Announcer: John Mitchum.
Bower would later return as Curt Willard.

“The Competition”
Original airdate: 10/30/1975
Screenplay: Nancy Greenwald and Paul West from a story by Nancy Greenwald
Director: Alf Kjellin
John-Boy gives a lift to forestry student Chad Marshall and suggests he talk to John and Grandpa to get first-hand information for his lumbering project. Mary Ellen and Erin both take a liking to the young college student, but it’s Erin who falls for him hard. Her mood is shared in a similar manner by Olivia, who is wistful over babies and the children getting older. She wishes to have another child, but is crushed when the doctor tells her that’s impossible. Meanwhile, the girls quarrel over Chad, who’s more than a little susceptible to Erin’s mischievous charms. When Dr. McIvers suggests they temporarily take in a baby girl, Oliva jumps at the chance, although John warns her to remember they can’t keep little Jennifer. The baby turns the household as upside down as Erin’s feelings when, after a teasing stroll in which the two of them both fall into the pond, Chad kisses her. Discovering he is falling in love with her, Chad knows it is too early for either of them to think of marriage and leaves with a sentimental farewell. Erin, who claimed she would let Chad go freely, is heartbroken and is comforted by Mary Ellen. When it finally comes time for Jenny to leave, the family reluctantly gives her up as Olivia tearfully places the baby in the hands of her new parents.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Chad Marshall: Michael O’Keefe. Joleen: Elizabeth Gill. Social Worker: Dee Ann. Dan: Gary Dantzig. Dr. McIvers: Rance Howard. Amie: Trish Soodik.

“The Emergence”
Original airdate: 11/06/1975
Screenplay: Hindi Brooks
Director: Alf Kjellin
John’s Norfolk job puts an added strain on Olivia, who is once again substitute teaching. In addition, John-Boy is aggravated by the return of Marcia Woolery. The children expect favors from Olivia because they are her children, and the visit of the assistant superintendant does nothing to help Olivia’s self-confidence. She does take an interest in big, gawky Sam Miller, whom the children call “Simple,” who is defeated by his inability to learn. Sam shows a glimmer of intelligence, although the superintendant doesn’t think he’s worth the attention, and Olivia’s sympathetic attention to him make her children jealous. John-Boy is both surprised and intrigued to find Marcia more sophisticated. She is also engaged to be married, but the family is dismayed to find her fiancee, Frank Taylor, is an obnoxious, aggressive businessman who treats Marcia like a brainless child. John-Boy discovers Marcia is marrying Frank so she won’t have to work as a stock clerk all her life. Olivia finally tells off the snippy senior superintendant and then tries to convince Sam’s father that he’s not stupid, he’s just farsighted; the man won’t believe her, so Olivia borrows John-Boy’s glasses for him. In Franks’s absence, John-Boy takes Marcia to a Boatwright dance and the flabbergasted girl gets many compliments and envious remarks; after the dance Frank shows up, strikes John-Boy, and accuses Marcia of “playing around.” He then breaks their engagement, but John-Boy discovers it’s actually because Marcia won’t get much money out of the sale of her late father’s property. John-Boy convinces Marcia that she has the brains to get a sales position, which she does, and Olivia convinces Sam’s parents to at least get him a set of dime-store glasses, which help his vision and improve his schoolwork.
Frank Taylor: Morgan Paull. Marcia Woolery: Tami Bula. Samuel Miller: Bob Marsic. Randolph: Joel Kimmel. Tom: Jackie Earle Haley. Martha Rose Coverdale: Cindy Eilbacher. Eubank: Damon Douglas. Mr. Gordon: Don Hanmer. Mr. Miller: Sam Gilman. Annie: Penelope Sudrow. Employment Manager: John Walsh. Gloria: Deborah Newman. Mrs. Miller: Jan Burrell. Ira: Rick Militi. Mrs. Merriweather: Mavis Neal Palmer. Peggy: Marsha Kramer.

“The Loss”
Original airdate: 11/13/1975
Screenplay: Joan Scott
Director: Alf Kjellin
Olivia’s godddaughter Olivia, who was married on the mountain in “The Shivaree,” returns to stay with the family under less happy circumstances: her husband Bob was killed in an accident. She seems cheerful enough, a cover that breaks at supper when she talks about him. She scolds herself for losing control, but is consumed by her grief. To get young Olivia’s mind off her loss, John suggests they give her something to do, and Elizabeth tries to inolve her in the care of her scraggly cat, Calico. John’s plan backfires after Ben makes an unwitting remark, and the despondent children decide to make young Olivia a kite to remind her of Bob. John-Boy takes her for a walk around the pond, trying to come to terms with her grief, and she confesses that sometimes she hates Bob for leaving her, but she continues to reminisce about their good times together until her grief overwhelms her and she startles John-Boy by screaming. Young Olivia has just cheered herself up a bit by baking cookies when Elizabeth, Jim-Bob and Ben present her with the kite, but it arouses her grief again. While Mary Ellen comforts her, Calico, who is too old to have kittens, begins having her litter. The elderly cat struggles with the birth and after all the kittens are safe, she dies, leaving Elizabeth in hysterics, but the helpless kittens restore young Olivia’s confidence as she comforts Elizabeth and helps to raise the orphans. She leaves with newfound strength—and a kitten.
Olivia Hill: Deborah White. Bob Hill (flashbacks): Bruce Davison. Dr. Culler: Vernon Weddle.

“The Abdication”
Original airdate: 11/20/1975
Screenplay: Matt Robinson and Paul West from a story by Matt Robinson
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
A New York movie company arrives on the mountain to film a movie and John-Boy discovers that the writer of the story is none other than “the literary man,” A.J. Covington. The girls begin daydreaming about movie careers, especially when they meet one of the crew, an Englishman named Todd Clarke, since they are absorbed in the goings-on in Great Britain over King Edward VIII and his love Wallis Simpson. A.J., commissioning lumber for sets, has a joyful reunion with the family and tells them the movie story is based on the old house he nearly bought on his last visit; he and John-Boy reminisce about that time while doing some work around the place. Todd turns Mary Ellen’s head by asking her to Ike’s for a soda and the family becomes A.J.’s guest on the set. When John-Boy corrects some unintentional “hayseed” dialogue and his lines work, he becomes the director’s “pet” and the man asks him to alter more lines, ignoring A.J. completely. A surprised but thrilled John-Boy complies, even becoming a bit egotistical about it, and is astonished when the director offers him a job in New York. He troubledly discusses this with Olivia and John, but he tells them its his decision, so he talks it over with A.J. instead and is horrified to find out A.J. was fired. John-Boy immediately abdicates from his writer’s position and A.J. gets his job back. In the meantime, Edward VIII abdicates his throne, for the woman he loves.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Todd Clarke: Stephen Collins. A.J. Covington: George Dzundza. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Gordon Farrell: Brian Avery. Martin Walters: James Karen. Sylvia Marsh: Ellin Gorky. Announcer: Walker Edmiston.
David Huddleston originally played the role of A.J. Covington.

“The Estrangement”
Original airdate: 12/04/1975
Screenplay: Michael Russnow and Tony Kayden
Director: Harry Harris
Grandpa’s great grandniece Vera Walton and her young Floyd arrive at the house, where she tells them she has left her husband Wade because he is never home; she suspects him of “playing around.” What Wade is actually doing is moonshining with his grandfather Boone and his crony Corky, and he’s surprised and angry when John and John-Boy show up to tell him Vera has left him; although he’s concerned, he tells them to “order” her back home. Meanwhile, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth, after taking a nature walk with Grandpa, discover Ben’s new project: collecting seedling pines to sell to “flatlanders.” In return for their help, Ben promises them a share of the profit. Reprimanded by his boss for recent inattention and sloppy work, Wade tells the man off and storms home, to find Vera not returned. Vera is praying at the local church that Wade will change, and confesses that since they had to move from the mountains she seems very plain next to the city women and perhaps it’s why Wade no longer comes home. Olivia tells her that’s nonsense and she should make friends in the area. Wade, in the meantime, tells John-Boy he was tired of Vera being so shy and says he is running moonshine in order to buy her pretty things. Minutes later Sheriff Bridges arrives to arrest Wade and he’s fined $50 or fifty days in jail. Ben also has his troubles: he has no license to sell and his trees are dying upon receipt because they are mountain natives and don’t survive well on flatland soil. John-Boy finagles Wade’s fine out of Boone and then brings him to see Vera, who tells him she won’t go back to him if he ever runs moonshine again. John offers Wade a mill job, which Wade resents, but after a long walk in the woods and some soul-searching, Wade apologizes, telling Vera he’ll find a piece of land on another mountain and build her the house he always promised her; like the seedling pines they will be back where they belong.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Corky: John Bellah. Wade Walton: Richard Hatch. Vera Walton: Lindsay V. Jones. J.D. Paulsen: Burton Gilliam. Worker: Tom Bush. Pete: Paul Linke.

“The Nurse”
Original airdate: 12/11/1975
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Alf Kjellin
While picking up a letter for Mary Ellen from nursing school, John-Boy and Jason promise to deliver a box of medical supplies to Nora Taylor, the county nurse. The letter turns out to be an invitation to Mary Ellen to take the entrance exams and she accompanies John-Boy to Nora’s cabin to tell her the news. Nora is tending Lafe Basham, a sick mountain man, and his family. The family prepares surprises for Mary Ellen: cake and ice cream, a beautiful wooden storage chest, a made-over suitcase, and a book on Florence Nightingale and she eagerly prepares to leave (with Elizabeth and Erin already claiming ownership of her things), while John broods about her departure. She feels lost at the school and befriends another girl who feels similarly, but goes into her exams with hope—until she finds subjects on the test she never learned in Miss Hunter’s school. Crushed, she returns home with books the admissions nurse loans her, and when John-Boy has trouble tutoring her, she goes up to the Basham place with a proposition for Miss Nora: she will help her care for the family if Nora will tutor her in what she needs to know to pass the test. The work at the Bashams is not easy, but Mary Ellen throws herself into it with her typical energy. To help out, John “trades” foodstuffs for some of Lafe Basham’s rock maple trees, and is surprised and a little dismayed at how adult his “little girl” has become. Mary Ellen must face the realities of adulthood when she must break the news to young Violet that her mother has died. She emerges from the experience with a better understanding of both life and the subjects she needs to pass on the test.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Nora Taylor: Barbara Eda-Young. Lafe Basham: Jon Lormer. Joyce: Stephanie Silver. Nurse Jenny Stevens: Charlotte Moore. Nurse Collins: Ann D’Andrea. Violet Basham: Shannon Terhune. Essie Basham: Tamar Cooper. Sue Basham: Kim Durso. Nurse Smith: Elizabeth Rogers.

“The Intruders”
Original airdate: 12/18/1975
Screenplay: Seth Freeman
Director: Richard Bennett
A new lumber company has formed in the area, undercutting John’s prices and driving their lumber trucks carelessly on local roads. John is further in dutch with Olivia when he allows Ben, who is stung by his new girlfriend Courtney’s criticism that he’s immature because he still lives at home with childish siblings, to leave home to find a job. John-Boy and Grandpa discover that the new company, Murdock’s, is underselling them because they are cutting trees without replanting and not understanding the danger of erosion. Ben, unable to find a job, is horrified to discover Grandma and Olivia searching for him; so he won’t go home “disgraced” he accepts a mill job from a man who gave him a lift. It turns out he is now working for the competition. Worse, he doesn’t know is that his father’s mill and Murdock’s are competing for a railroad trestle contract, with a huge warehouse deal as the prize. However, when Ben discovers who he’s working against, he quits and returns home with John-Boy. The strain of the competition have the men quarrelling and there seems no way they can beat them until Grandpa tricks the Murdock people into believing they are going to float their lumber down the Rockfish River. What Grandpa doesn’t tell them is that there are sandbars that make navigation impossible. With an additional stall to their project provided by John-Boy, John in his “rattletrap truck” is delighted when he passes them and wins the contract.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Cobbs: Bill Lucking. Grier: Paul Harper. Horace Brimley: Wilford Brimley. Ferris: Cal Haines. Store Manager: James E. Brodhead. Parsons: Tom Howard. Willis: Hal Riddle. Workman: Don Freeman.

“The Search”
Original airdate: 01/01/1976
Screenplay: Paul West from a story by Ellen Corby
Director: Harry Harris
A wayward setting hen named Betsy is one of the gifts Olivia, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth are transporting to Olivia’s friend Frances Taylor’s home when the truck gets a blowout and goes off the road on an obscure detour. Elizabeth, chasing after an escaping Betsy, gets Olivia and Jim-Bob lost in the woods searching for her. One of the frightening things they discover as they try to get back to the road is a bear wallow. When Frances calls to say they did not arrive, Grandpa, John, and John-Boy search for the truck and find it, but do not find Olivia, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth, even though they do discover Jim-Bob’s trail markers. The lost trio follow a wisp of smoke to a moonshiner’s cabin; afraid searchers will find their still, the moonshiners bundle the trio into their truck and drop them off still deeper in the woods. Horace and his tracking dog and Ike join the search party, but they are not to be found, and they fear the worst when they find the abandoned moonshiner’s cabin, but the actual danger is coming from a developing storm. Jim-Bob manages to catch a fish, but it attracts a bear and it stalks them as they take shelter in a cave. At home Mary Ellen and Erin feel useless, but Grandma urges them to pray. Finally, Jim-Bob uses all his learned forest-lore to scare away the bear just as the search party finds them.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Horace Brimley: Wilford Brimley. Mountain Woman: Helen Craig. Older Son: Robert Sorrells. Younger Son: Red Currie. Second Flagman: Edmund E. Villa. First Flagman: Bill Smillie.
Jon Walmsley played the bear.

“The Secret”
Original airdate: 01/08/1976
Screenplay: Rod Petersen and Claire Whitaker
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
Jim-Bob is teased by the other children as he practices for a yo-yo contest and is especially hurt when they suggest he’s a foundling. John-Boy is also busy after having been roped by Jason’s mentor, Mrs. Breckenridge, into doing an essay about early Virginia settlers. Elizabeth’s dreamy thoughts about foundlings makes Jim-Bob suspicious and he begins searching for evidence of himself as a baby. To his dismay, he can’t find a lot of photos of himself. There aren’t many of Elizabeth, either, and John tells him this is because younger children in a large family aren’t photographed as much as the older ones because their parents are so busy raising them. This doesn’t mollify Jim-Bob and additionally the sight of the photos make his mother melancholy. When Jason volunteers John-Boy to do yet another paper, John-Boy puts his foot down. Seeking the reason why Olivia went to a hospital to have him rather than being born at home like the other children, Jim-Bob asks Mrs. Brimmer, who cared for the children during Olivia’s absence and is given a cagey answer. He finally confides in John-Boy, who takes him to the county courthouse, where they find to their surprise that Jim-Bob had a twin brother who died at birth. Jim-Bob is upset and when Grandma learns what is bothering him, she insists John tell him what happened: Olivia was so shattered at the baby’s death that they decided not to mention the subject ever again. Jim-Bob then understands and can enjoy the special dinner his mother makes for him. He indeed wins the yo-yo contest-and Jason convinces Mrs. Breckenridge that it would be so much more personal if she wrote her own paper.
Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Mrs. Breckenridge: Adrienne Marden. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Yo-Yo King: Eddie Reider.

“The Fox”
Original airdate: 01/15/1976
Screenplay: Max Hodge
Director: Richard Thomas
John talks Ben, who wants to go into fur trapping, into using a box trap for the fox who is stalking their chicken coop. The radio isn’t working, so the children badger Grandpa into talking about charging up San Juan Hill since his Spanish-American War reunion is coming up. The high point of his story is how he planted a red bandana, a gift from Grandma, at the hill’s crest. Excited, John-Boy learns from Ike who is in charge of the reunion and proposes that they reinact the charge up San Juan Hill on the mountain. Grandpa, who for some reason was reluctant to attend the reunion, is now furious, and Grandma and Olivia accuse John-Boy of glorifying war. John-Boy, who planned to write an article about the event, can’t even persuade Grandpa to attend when he says the article will bring the school money. Ben’s box trap, after first catching a cat, traps the fox, but the other children are angry when Ben claims he’s going to kill it. Grandpa disappears on the mountain just as John-Boy finds out only four men will be attending the reunion, so the reinactment has been called off. Finally Ben decides not to kill the fox, but wants to keep it as a pet; Olivia convinces him this would be cruel to a wild creature and asks if he will free it instead. John-Boy goes after Grandpa, who confesses to him that he wasn’t a Rough Rider, only a mule tender. Meanwhile, a Bob Allerton and his wife are visiting when they return, and Grandma is much more pleased to find out that her bandana was actually used to make a tourniquet for Bob and saved his life. She likes that more than the original story. In the end, the fox is let free somewhere he won’t come after the Walton chickens.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Maude Gormley: Merie Earle. Bob Allerton: George Chandler. Allen McCreary: Frank Ferguson. Elaine Allerton: Arline Anderson.
George Chandler and Frank Ferguson were both regulars on Lassie: Chandler played Petrie Martin and Ferguson was Peter Wilson, the vet.

“The Burn-Out” (Two hours)
Original airdate: 01/22/1976
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Harry Harris
John-Boy, who has begun smoking a pipe to make him look more “literary” despite Olivia forbidding him to do so, is surprised and happy when Professor Parks tells him a friend of his, a publisher, would like to see the first fifty pages of John-Boy’s manuscript. Not everyone in the family is happy: Elizabeth is mourning the death of her pet butterfly and brooding that “everything she loves” (Calico the cat, her raccoon) leaves her. When a fire starts in the house during the night, the family escapes, but the upper story is gutted and John-Boy’s novel and Elizabeth’s favorite doll are burned up. John-Boy is consumed by guilt, believing his pipe may have caused the fire, but Grandpa left the space heater on in the bathroom, which may have also been responsible. Everyone is in shock, but Elizabeth in particular is withdrawn, and Erin sorrowfully rejects the vanity that made her go back for her new dress: in saving her, John-Boy lost the chance to save his novel. Professor Parks urges John-Boy to rewrite it, but his heart is too leaden with guilt to do so. A rainstorm and some sniffles convince Olivia that the children cannot stay in a tent, so they are reluctantly “farmed out” to neighbors until the upper story is fixed. Erin and Jim-Bob go to the Fordwicks, Jason to the Baldwins, Ben to Yancy Tucker’s, Mary Ellen to Dr. Vance’s, and Elizabeth stays with the Godseys. Grandma and Grandpa stay at Mrs. Brimmer’s boarding house, where Grandma immediately bristles at Grandpa’s attention to flirting, plump Zuleika Dunbar. Mary Ellen’s “helping” in Dr. Vance’s office becomes the bane of his existance, Elizabeth’s indifference to everything worries both Corabeth and Olivia, and Ben and Jason become spoiled by the respective freedom and doting of their foster homes. Meanwhile, John-Boy is frustrated by his guilt-ridden writer’s block and Reverend Fordwick is appalled by Jim-Bob’s hobby of “stealing” girl classmates’ hair ribbons. When he tries to return them they just give him more! Ben begins playing hooky from school under Yancy’s influence and Erin begins dressing in plain, old dresses as penance for her vanity. John-Boy and Grandpa try to exorcise their guilt by sharing it. Olivia is hurt when, after a Sunday visit with the children, it looks as if they are all growing apart and she urges John to fix the house as quickly as possible. John-Boy finally confides to his father that he cannot seem to start rewriting his book and John responds that he had the same problem starting to build the house: he was trying to make it the same as it was before and he couldn’t do it. Professor Parks suggests that perhaps John-Boy is trying too hard. When the house is finally repaired, Dr. Vance rejoices in Mary Ellen’s departure, Ben discovers he likes some rules and regulations after all, and Jason finds he likes a happy noisy home rather than one that’s too quiet. Olivia tells Erin that her studied humbleness is just another way of calling attention to herself and Grandpa has gotten more than a little tired of Zuleika’s “sugar.” Everything is back to normal-except Elizabeth refuses to come home. After John forcibly brings her back, John-Boy finds her in the tree house, where she confesses her fright: she doesn’t want to love anyone anymore because everything she loves “goes away” and she doesn’t want anything to happen to her family. John-Boy convinces her that the fire wasn’t due to her loving anyone and the family is finally together again. Now that John-Boy can relax, the words of his novel begin to flow again.
Dr. Vance: Victor Izay. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter. Rosemary Fordwick: Mariclare Costello. Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Professor Parks: Paul Jenkins. Zuleika Dunbar: Pearl Shear. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Mady Vance: Dee Carroll. Man from Wilkes Barre: Loutz H. Gage.

“The Big Brother”
Original airdate: 01/29/1976
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Ralph Waite
When John takes Olivia with him to Newport News on a bidding job, John-Boy is left in charge, and he’s taking his responsibility to look after the others seriously—the children think too seriously. At the bus station in Rockfish, John-Boy befriends Bridget “Muffin” Maloney, who claims she and her mother are running from her mean stepfather, but her mother was not on the bus. Because of her stepfather, she is reluctant to tell the sheriff, and she talks John-Boy into taking her home. Jim-Bob immediately develops a crush on her, but Grandpa is suspicious. Unknown to the family, Muffin’s suitcase with “all her possessions” is really full of watches and jewelry, and her con-man grandfather, “Nifty,” is locked in jail. When Muffin’s “mother” doesn’t show up on next morning’s bus, John-Boy discreetly makes inquiries at the sheriff’s office about her “stepfather” while Muffin cons the Baldwin sisters out of two dollars and brings cookies to Nifty in jail, conspiring to raise the $25 for his bail. The family sacrifices their savings to buy Muffin a bus ticket to send her to her aunt in Raleigh, although Grandpa has found out the address Muffin gave them is the city dump. She sells (and then takes back) a ring to Ike to raise more money, and is given a carved bird by Jim-Bob. The Baldwin sisters give away Muffin’s game by recognizing her, a rude awakening for John-Boy, and the street-wise girl tells him she tells people what they want to hear and makes them happy, a fair trade for the money she receives. When John-Boy hauls her into town, a beguiled Jim-Bob follows and helps the girl and her grandfather escape; John-Boy later confesses to his newly-arrived parents, who had a second honeymoon and a great time, that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks!
Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Bridget “Muffin” Maloney: Vicki Schreck. Nifty Mulligan: Bert Conway.

“The Test”
Original broadcast: 02/05/1976
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
When Grandpa miscounts and makes one too many rocking chairs for a hotel order, he gives the extra one to Maude Gormley, but her happiness is the only bright spot in the order: the hotel claims the rockers are damaged and won’t pay for them, so John is short of money. When a dress Olivia has made for Elizabeth out of material the Baldwin sisters gave her garners many compliments, she gets the idea of doing seamstress work to earn money. In the meantime, Grandma and Grandpa are trying to protect Maude from her son, who wants to put her in an old folks’ home; she finally gives up and allows him to do so. The dresses Olivia makes for the Baldwins are so successful that a Westham seamstress offers her a job-if she will work in the shop. Olivia takes the position and enjoys working with Stella Lewis so much that John feels excluded from her life, and is upset that she is now the main breadwinner for the family. Stella’s life seems magical to Olivia and she’s tempted when Stella invites her on a buying trip to New York. Grandma and Grandpa, glad they are not relegated to the boredom of a rest home like Maude, urge her to go, as does John-Boy. Stella visits, eager for Olivia’s answer, the day the boys are rescuing Reckless from the tree house and Maude escapes from the rest home. Stella wants Olivia to take over the Westham shop while she opens a new branch in Richmond, but an overwhelmed Olivia doesn’t want the responsibility and misses being home. Instead she quits the job to remain with her family. Like old times, Grandma and Maude go out picking blackberries together.
Maude Gormley: Merie Earle. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Stella Lewis: Abby Dalton. Leonard Gormley: John Wheeler. Abel Bingley: David Clarke. Waitress: Nancy Gallant. Ed Knightly: James O’Connell.

“The Quilting”
Original airdate: 02/12/1976
Screenplay: Rod Petersen and Claire Whitaker
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
Mary Ellen is upset when Grandma, who has just returned from nursing Martha Corinne, insists that the girl still have a “quilting” even though she’s attending nursing school. Mary Ellen considers the event an announcement that she’s “available” for marriage and is incensed when Grandma sends out invitations without consulting her. Along with the preparations for the quilting, Grandma is also trying to win a slogan contest; she wants to use the prize money to learn to read music. John-Boy helps her by writing an entry for her. A nostalgic trip through Olivia’s hope chest, which is now hers, does little to convince Mary Ellen that the quilting is a good thing, and Olivia herself wishes Grandma hadn’t been so high-handed. Grandpa has planned an all-male party for the men whose womenfolk will be occupied at the quilting, complete with the Recipe, and he celebrates when Grandma wins the slogan contest using her own entry instead of John-Boy’s. Despite her victory, Grandma is snippy because Olivia refuses to insist that Mary Ellen attend the quilting. When G.W. comes “courting” wearing a suit and bringing flowers, an embarrassed Mary Ellen tells her grandmother off and goes into hiding the day of the quilting while the men drink, eat chili, and play pool at Ike’s store and John works in the mill. John-Boy finds Mary Ellen in the attic and explains to her that the quilt isn’t a sentence, it’s a gift from friends who love her and she’s only creating a rift between her mother and her grandmother. She comes downstairs to find Grandma has gifted her with the prize money. The men then arrive home and serenade them to end the day.
Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. G.W. Haines: David Doremus. Maude Gormley: Merie Earle. Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Radio Host: Art Gilmore.

“The House”
Original airdate: 02/19/1976
Screenplay: Kirby Timmons
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
Grandma and the Baldwin sisters are horrified to discover that the historic Whitley house is about to be demolished and start a petition to save the structure. She is furious when Grandpa arrives home with the good news that he has acquired the rights to demolish the old house, and is even more irked when Jason seems to be scorning country music because of the classical leanings of his professor and the music he must play at an upcoming recital. John-Boy enters the fray when he’s assigned to write an editorial about the Whitley house. The Baldwin sisters are angered as well at Grandpa when they find out about the demolishing contract. Grandma reveals why she wants to save the house so much: wonderful memories of dances, house parties, and the most special memory of receiving her first kiss from Grandpa under the stained glass window. They quarrel and she calls Grandpa heartless, but Grandpa is more concerned that wandering children or others will get hurt in the rickety building. John-Boy inspects the house and the mood of the old place and the beautiful craftmanship of its design create a feeling in him he’s never realized before, and his editorial is so split-sided that neither grandparent is pleased. The petition is turned down, saddening Grandma, who is at least cheered when Jason and his musical partner play country music at the recital instead because their scores were misplaced and Hollis can’t play by ear. Professor Thaxton, however, is actually pleased. When Grandma arrives home, she finds Grandpa has salvaged the beautiful stained glass window from the Whitley house and installed it in their bedroom. He has not forgotten their first kiss either. Dismantled, the Whitley house supplies wood that lives on in other homes in town.
Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Professor Thaxton: Jay Robinson. Mr. Wheeler: Bill Sorrells. Clarence Johnson: Walter Brooke. Hollis: Rusty Keller. Felicia: Sherry Hursey. Secretary: Jane Lambert.

“The Fledgling”
Original airdate: 02/26/1976
Screenplay: Earl Hamner
Director: Harry Harris
John-Boy is stunned when is employer, Mr. Johnson, decides to give up publishing the Jefferson County Times. He will be taking everything with him except his first press, and John-Boy, despite the obstacles of starting a small newspaper on his own, decides to purchase it in installments. To earn the down payment, John-Boy plans to get a full time job and Professor Parks is afraid he will abandon his writing. Between his job at the bus station and his classes, John-Boy isn’t getting enough rest, so he decides to move into a Westham boarding house. Mike Paxton, whose wealthy father has slashed his allowance, talks John-Boy into sharing a room with him at Mrs. Butterworth’s boarding house. The family reluctantly sees him off, John with advice, and Grandma and Olivia with Bibles! John-Boy goes to “visit” the press and Johnson promises to throw in the type and a typesetting table for free. When his supervisor leaves on an emergency, John-Boy tends the bus station instead of going home for the weekend. Soon, John-Boy receives a visit from Ike and Corabeth and their new puppy, Clementine, who pass on a note from Elizabeth. Sadly, the employee John-Boy replaced returns and he is out of a job. He feverishly hunts for another but cannot find one, so he sadly goes to ask Johnson if he will accept a smaller deposit, only to find the office abandoned and the press gone. Broken hearted, he returns home, and since Jason has been living in his room, goes to sleep in the shed—where he finds the press. Professor Parks has paid the down-payment for him.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Mike Paxton: Dennis Redfield. Professor Parks: Paul Jenkins. Clarence Johnson: Walter Brooke. Tilly Shanks: Lucille Benson. Mrs. Cox: Billie Bird. Mrs. Butterworth: Virginia Gregg. Man #1: Norman Andrews. Juke Box Vocalist: Mayf Nutter. Rudyard Davis: Eddie Firestone. Man #2: F. William Parker. Boyd: Michael McDonough. Woman in Line: Beth Peters. Carpenter: Ted Jordan.

“The Collison”
Original airdate: 03/04/1976
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Richard Thomas
Wealthy Selena Linville, home from Vassar, nearly runs down John-Boy with her horse, then berates him for staying “tucked away” in the mountains. Despite this reception, he accepts a dinner invitation, where he has a reunion with her father, the Colonel. Selena comes to the table dressed in the uniform of the “Lincoln Brigade” and talks ceaselessly about the Spanish Civil War and the “doers” of the world while John-Boy strugges with his lobster. Selena longs for adventure and is wildly impatient as she tries to talk John-Boy into going to Spain with her, saying his present life is a “nonentity.” Elizabeth, too, is hearing a siren call after listening to the travel stories of her new friend Ariel. After a headlong, wild ride with Selena, John-Boy finds his respect for his obligations scorned by the girl. He then finds out that the Colonel has lost all his money and will have to auction off the estate. John and Grandpa tell a disgusted John-Boy that the only reason for fighting is being threatened, and Olivia assures Elizabeth that even if Ariel does have prettier things than the beautiful pencil box Ben gave Elizabeth, Elizabeth has herself. But when Elizabeth visits Ariel, the illusion is broken when she discovers the little girl's real name is Effie, and she’s an orphan who lives with her impoverished aunt. Meanwhile, an embarrassed Selena is taking poverty worse than her father, and John-Boy gives chase after she recklessly rides off. He reminds her of the speeches she gave about the Spanish Civil War and asks if she doesn’t have the strength to stay behind and fight personal battles at home. She isn’t certain, but she resolves to try.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Selena Linville: Kathleen Quinlan. Colonel Seth Linville: Eduard Franz. Effie (Ariel) Richards: Karen Teitelman. Vesper Oakes: Virginia Capers. Meg Phillips: Doreen Lang.
Eduard Franz previously played Olivia's Uncle Cody.


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