A Day of Thanks on Walton’s Mountain

(22 November, 1982)

(number 3, post-season movie)


Starring:  Ralph Waite, Jon Walmsley, Judy Norton-Tayler, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott, David W. Harper, Kami Cotler, Joe Conley, Ronnie Clair Edwards.


Special Guest Star:  Ellen Corby


Executive Producers: Earl Hamner & Lee Rich; Producer: Claylene Jones; Creator: Earl Hamner


Written by: Kathleen Hite, Directed by: Harry Harris


Setting: Autumn 1947 (a few days before Thanksgiving)


Ben greets Cindy with a big hug and kiss as she brings home the groceries. Virginia comes running, but Elizabeth can’t find John Curtis who has run off again. Cindy believes there is more troubling Elizabeth than just finding John Curtis. Elizabeth repeats that she doesn’t think it’s really Thanksgiving unless everybody is home. John Curtis runs into the woods, to the spot where he meets a new friend. Jim Bob is working at the garage when Yancy walks up with Isabella the turkey. He needs a truck inner tube but has no cash. Yancy agrees to swap his precious bird for the inner tube. As Yancy walks away two men (Sweeney and Al Peterson) drive up saying they are closing their Rockfish garage and have thousands of dollars of parts for sale, at five hundred dollars cash. Yancy thinks it’s a chance of a lifetime, convincing Jim Bob to take him on as a partner.


Ben calls his father in Arizona, learning that his mother’s recovery is a long process. Ben wishes his father could return for Thanksgiving. After hanging up John gazes upon the family pictures, homesick for them. In New York City John-Boy is unsuccessfully typing a radio article when his boss (Van) tells him to start fresh in the morning. John-Boy’s girlfriend (Jane Schuller) appears after being stood up for dinner. John-Boy tells her that he has writer’s block. At his apartment, Jane suggests he stop writing and recharge his batteries. John-Boy doesn’t understand why he needs time off, never needing it before.


Elizabeth is disappointed when John-Boy writes that he won’t be home for Thanksgiving. Erin and Cindy console Elizabeth when Paul says there will be many at dinner in “the land of a thousand Waltons”. Ben thinks Paul is overworked; but Erin says it is more, realizing their marriage has problems. Mary Ellen greets everybody, but finds that her son has run off again. Later, Mary Ellen suggests that he play with his friend closer to the house. Erin informs the family that she and Paul may not attend Thanksgiving dinner.


At the Dew Drop Inn Jason plays the piano as Ike and Jim Bob look on. When Jason takes a break, Ike takes a try at the piano. Jason attempts a joke saying “no credit to relatives” but Jim Bob takes it wrong, feeling like he is “running in place”. Jason understands, wondering if he should return to music school. But Jim Bob thinks he is lecturing him and walks away mad. Later Jason explains to Jim Bob that he was talking about himself. Jim Bob decides not to ask the family for money to fund his venture.


At the Baldwin house the sisters receive a letter from Cousin Octavius, demanding their usual presence at her Thanksgiving dinner. Miss Emily sneezes, hoping it will develop into pneumonia, so they won’t have to go. Jim Bob tries to catch his newly bought turkey, as Jason and Jonesy laugh at the antics. Ike joins them, and wonders who is winning. Jonesy leaves to help Jim Bob, as Jason asks Ike if he is happy on the Mountain. Ike tells him that he has Corabeth, the business, and Aimee, and is happy with his life. Inside the store Corabeth and Ike plan their trip to Colonial Williamsburg, since Aimee is spending the holidays with a friend. Corabeth is dressed up in a colonial costume talking to the Baldwin sisters, when Ike walks out in colonial garb saying he looks like a jackass. Miss Emily agrees with him.


Erin confronts Paul, wondering what is wrong. Paul explains that the family crowds him, never having time alone. Erin suggests they leave for Thanksgiving, possibly to his father’s house. At a New York City bar, Belle Becker suggests that John-Boy set aside his writings to find out if he really is a writer.


Jonesy explains to John Curtis and Virginia that Isabella is their main course for Thanksgiving, not a pet. At the same time, Jason is packing to leave for New York City when Elizabeth tries to convince him to stay. Jason says to toughen up, not promising he will be back for the special dinner. Jim Bob drives up to Ike’s store with Yancy on their way to the Baldwin sisters. Yancy holds yellow flowers while Jim Bob walks inside to buy chocolates, hoping the sisters will fund their project. In the forest, Mary Ellen searches again for her son, finding him at his favorite spot. John Curtis wants his mother to meet his friend, but he has suddenly disappeared.


John-Boy hears a knock on his apartment door, finding his brother Jason outside. Over beers, Jason talks about making a move, tired of the old routine at the Dew Drop. Wanting to compose, but unsure of his abilities, Jason asks John-Boy for advice. John-Boy quotes a Thomas Wolfe passage, implying a person must unlock his own potentials. Back home, John returns in a taxi finding Elizabeth putting up wash. She is excited to see him, as the rest of the family realizes he has returned. They follow him into the house, except Paul. Erin comes out to find him. He knows that Erin will now want to stay home, and reluctantly agrees.


John does repairs around the house when Elizabeth tells her father that having him home makes Thanksgiving special. When Elizabeth says that she has been feeling sorry for herself, John reminds her that she must count her blessings.


Jason meets John-Boy at a restaurant where he exclaims that Dr. Milton Langer, a well-known concert pianist, heard him play one of his compositions. When Jane meets Jason, she recommends that he take John-Boy home. When John-Boy says he wishes to see Grandpa, Grandma, Daddy, and Momma laughing and full of life; and feels that he left his talent on the Mountain, Jason tells his brother, “Let’s go home.”


On Walton’s Mountain John walks in to find John-Boy eating breakfast in bed. John-Boy tells his Daddy that he is fine. John Curtis runs outside to see Isabella. He wonders when his Mommy will come home, and questions why Jonesy is not his Daddy. That night John-Boy walks outside to find Mary Ellen waiting for Jonesy. They reminisce about growing up, and their lives today. John-Boy wonders if he will write again.


The next morning Jim Bob and John look through the new supplies. Later Jim Bob works on the Baldwin’s car, telling his father that he likes working on the Mountain, even though his brothers don’t understand. Jason listens to Corabeth talk to a prospective buyer, and then learns she will cancel her trip so she can show the Dew Drop to Zimmerman. Ike learns that the trip is cancelled, upset that he just put down a deposit. He decides to call Aimee, and insist she come home. When he calls, Aimee already has a bus ticket and will be home at three o’clock on Thursday afternoon.


John and John Boy observe the Baldwin sisters drive up, bringing some of the Recipe. While talking about their trip to Octavia’s, Miss Emily smells gasoline. John finds gas leaking unexpectedly from the new fuel line. Upon investigating Jim Bob finds that only the top parts are good, all the others are defective. Jim Bob doesn’t know how he will recoup his losses.


Paul tells Erin that he needs time alone, deciding to go to his father’s house. Jim Bob replaces the defective fuel filter and tells John that he’s not sure how he’ll be able to pay back the Baldwin sisters. John offers to become his partner. After helping Jim Bob, John talks with Erin, who is crying after Paul has left. John Curtis takes Virginia into the forest to visit his friend. They see him in a tree. At the lumber camp John drives up to find Paul chopping wood. John tells the young man that he thinks he is walking away from his problem. When Paul inquires what he should do, John suggests that he and Erin move to the cabin. Wondering how to do that, John places a toolbox in front of him, and walks away.


Elizabeth calls Jane Schuller, inviting her to the house for Thanksgiving. Jonesy continues to fatten Isabella, but feels bad about the bird’s ultimate consequence. John talks with John-Boy who admits he has doubts about his writings. John doesn’t agree with him, quoting from a remarkable passage he wrote about Founders’ Day. John tells him never to say he is not a writer.


Yancy visits Isabella, remembering the good times. Jonesy overhears Yancy, telling him that Isabella is fulfilling her destiny. At the Dew Drop Inn, John visits Jason who is cleaning up. Jason admits he is unsure whether he is on his right course, thinking about continuing his music. But Jason worries about the family, if he has the necessary talent, and where to begin. John believes he knows those answers.


Elizabeth knocks on the front door of the Baldwin house, asking the sisters to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them. They decide to stand up to Octavia. John-Boy and Elizabeth bring Grandma home from Buckingham County. She kisses John on the forehead as he sleeps on the porch. Jonesy is found in the kitchen with a butchered turkey. Grandma prepares to cook it when she finds a price tag inside.


Paul drives in to tell Erin to come with him. At the cabin Paul shows Erin all of his improvements. He tells Erin that he wants her to live here with her. She agrees and all is well with them. Jonesy shows John his new centrifuge when Mary Ellen tells them that she again can’t find John-Curtis. They all look for him.


Jane and Stormy arrive with Aimee on the bus. Ike and Corabeth warmly greet Aimee, as she introduces her parents to John-Boy’s girlfriend. They drive to the Walton’s house for dinner. John finds John Curtis asleep by a stream and takes him home. John helps Grandma with her apron and broach; remembering when he came to her and Pa for advice, and now his children come to him.


The family gathers for Thanksgiving. Looking at the photograph album John Curtis and Virginia gaze upon a picture for the first time. The man is their friend in the forest. The family look at Grandpa’s picture, knowing Zeb is still looking after the family. Soon the Baldwin sisters arrive after Octavia has come down with the flu. Then Ike, Corabeth, Aimee, and Jane (with Stormy) arrive. Corabeth announces to Jason that Mr. Zimmerman has bought the Dew Drop. Yancy arrives last, unsure whether he can eat his turkey. Suddenly a “gobble, gobble” is heard outside the window. Isabella’s life has been spared by Jonesy, with a store-bought turkey from Ike’s store. Elizabeth asks the blessing as everyone holds hands. Everyone feels blessed at being together.



Jim Bob’s partner in the Foster-Walton garage, Jody Foster, is away at college.

Yancy Tucker’s barbershop business isn’t doing very well since he cut off Casper Farley’s earlobe.

Aimee is attending Boatwright College (really Boatwright University), and she lives in a woman’s dormitory.

Professor Boen, from Kleinberg, introduced Jason to Dr. Langer.

Jane Schuller originally is from Iowa. She owns a black cocker spaniel puppy named Stormy.

John quotes from a passage John-Boy wrote for Founders’ Day, season seven, episode twenty-three.

Jonesy has bought the Thanksgiving turkey at Ike’s store for ten dollars, ninety-two cents.

Virginia tells Elizabeth that she wants to be a Mommy and have six children.


Also appearing:

John-Boy (Robert Wightman), Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston), Jonesy (Richard Gilliland), Paul Mathews Northridge (Morgan Stevens), John Curtis (David Friedman), Virginia (Angela Rhodes), Charles Benjamin Walton (unknown), Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson), Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner), Aimee Godsey (DeAnne Robbins), Jane Schuller (Melinda Naud), Belle Becker (Bettye Ackerman), Van, Sweeney (unknown), Al Peterson (unknown), John-Boy’s boss, Van (unknown).



Daniel Currie, Royce D. Applegate, Jerry Hoffman.