Mother’s Day on Walton’s Mountain

(May 9, 1982)

(number 2, 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 Appearance by:  Michael Learned


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


Written by: Juliet Packer, Directed by: Gwen Arner


Setting: Spring 1947 (just before Mother’s Day)


Olivia sends a telegram to Mary Ellen on the eve of her daughter’s wedding to Jonesy. Later Mary Ellen reads the message to Jonesy; who says they will travel to Arizona to see her, if Olivia is not better soon. The next day, the wedding party emerges from the church, on its way to the reception at the house. John toasts the couple, while Jonesy toasts Mary Ellen and Harry Philpot of Deadeye Gulch, Nevada (who sold him the ‘lemon’ that brought them together). Ben and Cindy talk about being two months away from the birth of their second child, while Erin and Paul discuss the possibility of a second honeymoon. Ben and Paul later talk about their heavy workload planned for the next month and the pending visit of Cindy’s mother. Elizabeth and Aimee discuss how they have changed when Ike informs Rev. and Mrs. Marshall that his daughter is an outstanding art student. Mary Ellen tells Corabeth that the honeymoon will consist of a camping trip along the James River. Before leaving, Mary Ellen says goodbye to John Curtis, then throws her bouquet that is caught by Aimee. That night Jonesy and Mary Ellen eat and talk around the campfire. Jonesy gives his new wife a necklace, and they discuss having children.


The next morning Jim Bob works at the garage, while Aimee tells Elizabeth about her art professor as they wait for Drew’s return from college. Elizabeth is telling Aimee that she is preparing for high school finals when Drew arrives on the bus. Mary Ellen drives off in the jeep to buy coffee, bread, and worms (for the fish) while Jonesy fishes for supper. But on the way through the forest a deer runs in front of Mary Ellen, forcing her off the road, and overturning the car. At the hospital Jonesy waits as John rushes in. Soon Dr. Cole tells the two that Mary Ellen will need surgery to stop internal bleeding and to remove her spleen.


Aimee enters the store after drawing pictures but Corabeth does not like her looks, especially her defensive lipstick and revealing dress. Aimee says all the college girls wear such clothes, becoming mad at her mother’s provincial outlook. After learning about her relationship with her art professor Corabeth says that Aimee will be sent to a New England college. However, Aimee prefers to stay near the Mountain. After Ike and Corabeth leave Aimee smokes a cigarette while finishing an unflattering caricature of Corabeth.


Dr. Cole returns to tell John and Jonesy that the operation was successful. Jonesy wakens Mary Ellen, telling her everything is fine. Mary Ellen wonders if the deer is okay. John enters to comfort his daughter.


Drew walks Elizabeth home from school as Aimee bicycles her way to see Maude Gormley’s new litter of Irish Setter pups. Drew agrees to go with Aimee, while Elizabeth stays behind to write a school essay.


Ben comes home to see Virginia playing and Mrs. Norris inside with Cindy. Mother and daughter decide to go to Charlottesville to buy children clothes. But Ben is uncomfortable with the way Cindy’s mother is pushing her way into their lives.


Jonesy and John Curtis go into Rockfish to have their photographs taken as a Mother’s Day gift for Mary Ellen. While at the hospital Dr. Cole tells Mary Ellen that her uterus was torn in the accident and sewn up during the operation. He reminds Mary Ellen that she will not be able to conceive children, due to risk to baby and mother. Knowing Jonesy wants children; Mary Ellen is devastated by the news. Released later from the hospital, John Curtis waits for his mother to return. As she walks in the room Jonesy, Cindy, Erin, and Elizabeth sing, “She’s a Jolly Good Fellow”. But when Cindy mentions a hospital stay for the birth of her child, Mary Ellen snaps at her, saying she should be grateful for a healthy baby.


After a busy day of shopping, Cindy and her mother, Bernadine, stop for a cup of tea. Mrs. Norris offers to help pay for expenses, when Cindy realizes it’s time, even though the baby is not due for several weeks.


At home Virginia plays while Elizabeth writes her essay. Drew walks in expecting to go fishing with Elizabeth. But Elizabeth must work on her paper, forcing Drew to leave upset. Jonesy sees Mary Ellen sitting in the sun, and suggests they take a picnic basket up to the Mountain. But Mary Ellen says she is behind in her class work, hesitant to be alone with her husband.


Aimee finds Drew skipping stones at Druscilla’s Pond. They discuss perfume and sweat socks. Aimee asks Drew to pose for her and he reluctantly agrees to show his physique.


At the mill Ben receives a call saying that Cindy is ready to deliver. Ben and John rush to the hospital in Charlottesville. Ben arrives just before Cindy is wheeled into the delivery room. The family waits for the news, except for Mary Ellen who is studying. Jonesy gives her a negligee but Mary Ellen is concerned about him being able to see her scar. While passionately kissing Jonesy mentions that twins run in his family. Suddenly Mary Ellen tells Jonesy that he must return the gift, saying it is too expensive. Jonesy asks what is wrong. Mary Ellen says he is rushing her. Jonesy is confused by her behavior.


At the hospital Mrs. Norris is anxious for a cigarette while waiting for Cindy’s delivery. Ben asks his father how he was able to wait for the birth of his children, when a nurse announces that Ben has a new baby boy.


At Ike’s store John wonders why he hasn’t received the first payment for the Maritown contract. Ike realizes the work is running John ragged. John tells Corabeth that the new baby’s name is Charles Benjamin Walton, but is called ‘Charlie’. John returns with groceries, and finds Mary Ellen building a tower of blocks with John-Curtis. Wondering why she has not seen her new nephew, Mary Ellen admits that she can’t have more children and has not told to Jonesy. She feels a strong need to talk with her Momma, knowing she went through a similar circumstance.


Bernadine suggests that Cindy stay with her at the hotel while her premature son stays at the hospital for an additional week. But when Ben sees the suite he announces that Cindy needs to move to another room, being unable to afford such luxury. Bernadine says the room is her gift. Eventually Ben gives in, but is visibly uncomfortable. Bernadine and Cindy realize that Ben is a very prideful man.


In the middle of the night Jonesy finds Mary Ellen standing on the porch. Jonesy wonders what is going on. Mary Ellen tells him that they will not be able to have children, that all their dreams won’t be fulfilled. Jonesy hugs Mary Ellen, telling her adoption is possible and that he loves her. Mary Ellen states that she will not hold him if he decides to leave. Jonesy can’t believe what she said.


Aimee leaves to paint, but behind the store changes into a more revealing outfit and puts on lipstick. Drew drives up, as Jim Bob watches from across the road. Elizabeth is playing with Virginia when Mrs. Norris arrives, saying Ben knows she is taking Ginny to be with her mother. Corabeth knocks on the door, asking Mary Ellen if she knows where Aimee is. Mary Ellen doesn’t, but invites Corabeth in for a cup of tea. She asks Corabeth about the procedure for adoption. Corabeth tells Mary Ellen that it is doubtful she could adopt since she has been divorced. The disappointment in Mary Ellen’s face is obvious.


Aimee is drawing Drew’s male torso when he develops a crick in his neck. She gives him a massage, when Corabeth walks up, embarrassed by the actions of her daughter. While Erin and Elizabeth set the supper table, Rev. Marshall stops by to ask Elizabeth if she would read her essay at church on Mother’s Day. Elizabeth hesitates, but eventually agrees.


John, Jason, and Ben unload lumber when Elizabeth tells Ben that Virginia is with Mrs. Norris. Ben knows nothing about her visit, and is upset that she took his daughter without first asking him. John doesn’t think it’s a good idea to confront Mrs. Norris. Inside the house Jonesy finds Mary Ellen packing, preparing to visit Olivia. Mary Ellen says she needs time to be by herself. Jonesy says he will not help her run away.


John drives into Charlottesville to pick up a combination blade, and to visit Mrs. Norris. Ike and Corabeth discuss what to do with their daughter. Corabeth wants to send her to Aunt Matilda while they search for a conservative school. Jonesy and John Curtis treat a calf at the clinic, while John Curtis wonders why his mother went away. John explains to Mrs. Norris that he thinks she was ‘high-handed’ for taking Ginny without Ben’s knowledge. Bernadine responds by saying he has been involved in their lives more than she has been. John remarks that he has never tried to stand between Ben and Cindy. As they argue Virginia enters the room, wondering about her Daddy.


In Arizona, Mary Ellen tells her mother what has happened. Olivia says she felt cheated when she no longer was able to bear children. Mary Ellen confesses that she feels damaged. Even though the burden is great for her, Olivia knows that her daughter must share her grief and burden with her husband.


Jim Bob confronts Aimee, telling her that he doesn’t like the way she is treating her friends. He also says she flirts too much and looks cheap. Aimee runs into her room, upset at Jim Bob’s comments. Corabeth runs after her. Aimee tells her that everybody hates her. Aimee confesses that her art professor is a middle-aged man who is married and that she was only babysitting their children. Thinking she is not very talented at painting, Aimee only wants to stop feeling like an orphan. She wants to feel part of a home.


Mrs. Norris brings Cindy home to be with Ben and Virginia. John thanks Bernadine, each knowing they are learning to be grandparents. That night Jonesy reads John Curtis a bedtime story about a scary lion. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and they decide to call Mary Ellen.


The family eats breakfast before church service, talking about where to sit twelve people around the table. Drew calls on Elizabeth, telling her that he loves her. He walks her to church, while Jim Bob walks Aimee. As John Curtis walks downstairs a horn is heard outside. He finds his mother has returned home. The family welcomes Mary Ellen, but then leave so she and Jonesy can have time alone. Jonesy gives his wife the portrait, saying their current family is enough for him. They hug as Mary Ellen asks for a smaller picture for her necklace. She explains that she should have shared her pain with him. Knowing his wife has really returned, Jonesy welcomes home Mary Ellen.


Elizabeth reads her essay at church about her mother’s love, constant goodness, and ability to feel love. At dinner John gives thanks for the food, and blesses the family, both those at the table and those not with them today. The phone rings during the meal. It’s Olivia, who couldn’t wait to talk with the family. John explains all is well, and the two exchange feelings of love. With the family crowding around, Olivia listens to their voices on the telephone.



Olivia is recuperating at the Sunny Hill Sanatorium in Arizona. John will return to Arizona after finishing a lumber contract.

Jonesy bought his car at Harry’s Used Cars in Deadeye Gulch, Nevada. (Actually, in The Whirlwind (s9/e8) Jonesy says he bought the car in San Francisco, California.)

Aimee Godsey attends Wallace Preparatory School.

John-Boy is at his job in New York City.

The bus company is called the White Arrow Bus Line.

Charles Benjamin Walton was named after Cindy’s father, Charles, and Ben.

Mrs. Radnor is Elizabeth’s teacher.

Corabeth’s spinster Aunt Mitilda lives in Doe Hill.


Also appearing:

Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston), Jonesy (Richard Gilliland), Paul Mathews Northridge (Morgan Stevens), John Curtis (David Friedman), Virginia (Angela Rhodes), Charles Benjamin Walton (unknown), Aimee Godsey (unknown), Bernadine Norris (Penelope Windust), Rev. Tom Marshall (Kip Niven), Doris Thurwell Marshall (Joanna Kerns), Drew Cutler (Tony Becker), Dr. Cole (unknown).



(John Considine, DeAnne Robbins, Given Van Dam).