Episode 7 - The Move

(15 January 1981)
Writer: Kathleen Hite.
Director: Harvey Laidman.
(no music credit)


"It was a time when our family world seemed to be in constant motion. The movement of people to and from the mountain contrasted sharply with the serenity we had known there for so many years. Perhaps because we were so close to it we didn't recognise the certain signs that an old era was ending and a new day we couldn't even envision, was in its dawning".


Ben sails into the eastern shore of the U.S. after months in a prisoner-of-war camp. He reminisces with a buddy about the war and wonders if his new plans will be accepted once he returns to Walton’s Mountain. As Erin prepares to leave for a much-needed weeklong vacation in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Elizabeth answers the telephone, not telling Cindy its Ben. Ben is in Norfolk, Virginia, and wants Cindy to meet him there. She prepares for the trip, but remembers she does not have enough gas coupons for the trip. Erin graciously gives her the coupons reserved for her trip, so Cindy can reunite with her husband.


While packing for the trip Cindy tells John that she is worried about seeing Ben after all this time. John relates when he was away from Olivia during World War I, and reassures her that all they need is to spend some time together in order to reacquaint themselves with each other.


After Elizabeth washes her car, Cindy drives off to see Ben. Erin decides to spend her vacation reading the novel War and Peace, after already reading the first five pages. Jason helps his father unload Ben’s new desk off the truck. John has expanded the office and has decided to make Ben a partner at the mill. He is confident Ben will want to join him in the family business. Ben departs the ship, finally locating Cindy among the crowd. They run to each other, then kiss and hug. That night, as they lay in bed, Ben announces he wants to become an engineer, attend college, and move away from the Mountain. He says it will be ‘a whole new life for us’. Cindy just wants to be with him.


Ben and Cindy drive up to the house to find Virginia on the porch. The family soon swarms around Ben to welcome him back. He then walks to the mill where John is working. After hugging John shows Ben the new sign he is making, “Walton’s Mill – John & Ben Walton, Prop.” Ben smiles but is obviously uncomfortable at his father’s idea. After supper, Cindy and Ben walk into the mill in order to tell John their plans. However, John first shows them the plans he has drawn to expand the shed. Ben interrupts his father, telling him that he has plans to become an engineer and attend college through the G.I. Bill. John is disappointed but tries not to show it, saying he is surprised at the decision but won’t stand in their way.


Erin is reading a book when J.D. Pickett knocks on the front door. He insists she meet an Army Procurement Officer on Friday because she knows all the details. Erin refuses. Rose assertively leads him out of the house. John drives to Ike’s in time to see Miss Mamie and Miss Emily also driving to the store. They heard the good news about Ben’s return and ask John to welcome him home. Ike fills up the gasoline tank to John’s vehicle while John, in confidence, tells how he really feels about Ben’s decision. John was confident that Ben would be satisfied to stay home and join the business. Just then a man drives up looking for Cindy. It’s her father.


Back at the house Col. Henry Brunson talks with John and Ben after greeting his daughter. He then walks to meet his granddaughter. Brunson talks with Ben about how difficult it will be in engineering school. With friends at California Tech, he hopes to be able to enroll Ben at the school.


John is dressed in his suit, ready to visit Olivia for the weekend. Ben and Cindy wonder if he is worried about them or Olivia. Late that night, Ben walks into the mill, to find an order that he decides to finish. Jason and Jim Bob find him there, thinking he still has ‘sawdust in his veins’.


On Friday, Elizabeth tells Erin that J.D. and another man are waiting for her downstairs. Capt. Bennett, the procurement officer, wonders what he will do until she returns to work on Monday. He asks her to dinner, promising not to talk business, and she accepts. Later, the Colonel calls Ben to tell him that he has been accepted at Cal Tech. Just then John returns to inform the family that Olivia has had a relapse. He is taking her to Arizona for her recovery. Ben tells his father he will postpone college in order to run the mill while he is gone. John refuses the offer, telling Ben that he must follow his dream. John has decided to sell the mill.


John is packing clothes when Elizabeth enters with Grandpa’s old straw hat. She helps her father organize his clothes into his suitcase. She hugs him, upset that her momma is sick and her daddy is leaving.


Corabeth approaches Ben with a prospective buyer. Mr. Gentry wants to expand the business to produce low-quality, high-quantity products. Ben dislikes the approach, saying their business has a reputation for ‘top-grade’ products made with ‘honest dealings and good workmanship’.


John reluctantly agrees to let the rest of the family join him when he drives to Olivia. The Baldwin sisters visit with a going-away present of the Recipe so he will be reminded of home. Soon Corabeth walks up anxious for John to see another possible buyer. Walking to the mill John finds Ben putting up the newly made sign. He says selling the mill would be like selling a part of Grandpa, John, and the family.


"It was not the end of a dream for Ben, the world was out there if he ever decided to go and find it, but he had discovered another world just as important, and it consisted of Cindy and Virginia and hard work done with love and pride. It was a vast and fulfilling world, right there on the mountain, and nobody understood that better than our father".


Erin: Goodnight Elizabeth. Goodnight Jason.
Jason: 'Night Erin. Goodnight Jim Bob.
Jim Bob: Goodnight Mary Ellen. Goodnight Erin.
Erin: Goodnight John Curtis.
Mary Ellen: He's asleep!
Erin: I'll tell him in the morning then.
John: Goodnight everybody.



Olivia is working at the Red Cross in Washington, D.C.

Ben graduated third in a class of six students.

An inn is located at Monticello Mountain.

This is the last episode where Ralph Waite appears on the television series.

In the closing months of World War II, Congress passed the GI Bill that changed American society forever. The program guaranteed education, housing and business loans to 15 million veterans. The GI Bill helped create the largest middle class in the world, whose achievements helped turn America into an economic superpower.

Information about the book War and Peace is found: http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/war_and_peace/.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards), Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston), Rose Burton (Peggy Rea), Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson), Virginia Walton (Clare and Elizabeth Schoene), Col. Henry Brunson (Dan Frazer), J.D. Pickett (Lewis Arquette), Capt. Bennett (Ed Couppee), Mr. Gentry (Len Wayland), The Sailor (Jerold Pearson).