Episode 15 - The Lie


(2 January 1975) 63-3-15

Writer: Hindi Brooks.

Director: Jack Shea.

Music: Alexander Courage.


"During the time when I was growing up on Walton’s Mountain, I heard whispers and rumors about a woman named Victoria Madden. Some claimed that she was dead, others said that she had simply run away from a bad marriage, Whatever happened to Victoria she left behind a daughter, her name was Nancy, and when my brother Ben became attracted to her, he had no idea of what the consequences would be."


The schoolchildren finish for the day, and as Ben looks around three boys (Orin, Ira, and Donny) call him over. They ask if Ben would work with them after Orin found a job as a water boy in Howardsville. Ben says he will ask his father, but is distracted by Nancy as she walks by. After Ben leaves them for the girl, the boys agree that, “once a girl gets a hold of a guy, his life is over with”. Ben notices that she is upset, and asks if he can help. Nancy tells him that she wants to visit her mother in Charlottesville tonight. Ben thought that her mother was dead (as did everybody else) but Nancy indicates that her father told everybody she was dead, after she run away when Nancy was a baby. Nancy says that her mother has been living up north, but is moving to Florida to be married. In her last letter, she asked if she could meet Nancy in a Charlottesville hotel that she is staying while on her trip to Florida. Nancy says her daddy won’t let her go. Since Ben has his learner’s permit for driving, Nancy asks if he could borrow John-Boy’s car and drive her to see her mother (but not tell anybody what they are doing). After Ben says he can’t take her, Nancy says she will hitchhike if there is no other way, Ben agrees to borrow John-Boy’s car.


As the children fall off to sleep, Ben creeps out of the house, runs to the car, places it into gear, and rolls it quietly down the road. He drives to Nancy’s house, runs to the house, and whistles for her. She joins him, and while Ben drives Nancy wonders what her mother looks like. Ben says that since she doesn’t look like her father, her mother must be beautiful, like her daughter. In Charlottesville, Ben stops the car just past the hotel. Nancy decides to go inside by herself, but at the last second asks Ben to go with her. Inside, Nancy realizes she doesn’t know what her mother looks like, and her mother won’t know what she looks like either. Ben easily locates Nancy’s mother, the woman nervously waiting across the room. Victoria, Nancy’s mother, walks over to her daughter, and the two hug. They sit at a table, while Ben sits nearby. Victoria tells her daughter that she wasn’t even sixteen years old when she gave birth. She didn’t know how to properly take care of the baby, so ran away.


Outside, a drunken couple acts like Al Capone and Jenette MacDonald, and then spy John-Boy’s car with the keys in the ignition. The man, Harvey, decides to take the car for a joyride. Victoria tells her daughter that she will be marrying Howard Burns, a land developer, who is kind and nice. Later, as the drunken man returns he hits a car parked in front of the hotel. He quickly drives off, but not before the owner of the car writes down the license plate number. Ben becomes impatient at his table when the waiter leaves the bill, but Victoria pays for it. The three walk out, and mother and daughter say their good-byes. Victoria tells her daughter to “make sure you are very ready before marrying anyone, and very grownup”.


Ben can’t find his keys, but finds them in the ignition. They return home without noticing the car’s damage. Nancy thanks Ben, and makes him promise not to tell anyone. As Ben sneaks back into the house, he stubs his toe on the stairs, and awakens John-Boy. Ben doesn’t want to talk to John-Boy. In the morning, the family eats breakfast as Ben continues to sleep. John-Boy thinks Ben is “a schoolboy by day, and Dick Tracy by night”. Grandpa thinks Ben will be getting married soon (he married Esther at about that same age), but Olivia says he’s not ready for marriage. John makes Erin fill the milk pitcher after she says the wrong thing. Ben joins the family but is obviously still sleepy. John-Boy and Ben talk by themselves about his escapades during the night. Suddenly, a knock is heard from the door. John thinks it is Charlie looking for his load of lumber, but it is Pete Wallace, Sheriff Bridges’ deputy. Pete says that the sheriff is in Richmond and that his Momma was feeling poorly but is now feeling better.


Pete is here to talk with John-Boy, whose car was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Charlottesville last night at about 10:30. John-Boy says he wasn’t in Charlottesville, and Olivia says he was home all night. Pete wants to see John-Boy’s car, and when they walk to the passenger front fender find it has been damaged. John-Boy is perplexed, and continues to say that he doesn’t know anything about it. Ben then announces that he took John-Boy’s car to Charlottesville. John takes him inside where Ben insists he’s done nothing wrong. The rest of the children are sent to school. Pete tells John that he’ll need a signed statement from them later. With Pete gone, John gets angry with Ben, but Ben stands up to his father. John sends him to school, and tells him to go straight to his room after school until he is ready to talk. John and John-Boy don’t understand, and Grandpa thinks Ben’s full of mischief but couldn’t get into much trouble. John-Boy suggests that he might be covering up for someone.


At school, Nancy and Ben talk. He wants to tell his daddy and John-Boy what happened but Nancy convinces him not to tell because her father will never let her out of the house if he knows what happened. After school, Ben talks with John-Boy in his room as the other children play outside. John-Boy asks Ben if he was with a girl that night? The brothers confront each other, and John-Boy walks out after feeling he is wasting his time. John-Boy asks Mary Ellen and Erin about Ben’s friends. When John-Boy says that Ben could go to reform school, Erin tells him about Nancy Madden. John-Boy drives to the Madden house where he asks Nancy if she knows anything about Ben’s problem. At first she says she knows nothing, but is about to say something when her father drives up. She suddenly becomes silent. As John-Boy leaves, Mr. Madden begins to yell at his daughter for talking with a boy while he was gone. John-Boy tries to explain, but Madden tells him to leave.


Back at the house, John-Boy tells John and Zeb what happened. Grandpa says Eustace Madden is very protective of his women. John-Boy still can’t believe his damaged car fender. He goes to his car for some car wax, but finds a book of matches from the Virginia Manor Hotel in Charlottesville. Thinking it might have something to do with Ben, John-Boy drives to the hotel. From the waiter, John-Boy learns that a redheaded boy sat eating ice cream and playing with matches while a woman and girl talked nearby. The woman was a guest of the hotel, staying in room 201. At the house, John and John-Boy tell Ben that they know all about that happened at the hotel. Ben says he promised not to tell anyone, but John insists he tell the story. Ben feels terrible, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Later, Ben returns from the Madden house, unable to talk with them.


John takes his son back, where they confront Mr. Madden. Madden refuses to talk with them until Nancy admits that Ben took her to Charlottesville that night to see her mother. After saying that she likes her mother, Madden becomes angry and tries to grab his daughter. John stops him. Madden admits being scared that his daughter will leave him like his wife. John tells the father that Nancy lives with him because she feels that this is her home. John suggests he allow Nancy live a more normal life. Nancy approaches her father and they hug. John and Ben leave. Later, after the hearing is complete John-Boy is relieved that his fender will be fixed. Mr. Madden offers to help with the cost, but John says Ben will take care of it.


"Nancy Madden remained in Walton’s Mountain with her father. She was graduated from Miss Hunter's school and was courted by several young men including my brother Ben, but she never married. As her father grew old, he came to depend on Nancy totally, and she nursed him until he died. She still lives in the old Madden home, is active in missionary work, and on Sundays she sings in the choir."


Elizabeth: Daddy?

John: What d'you want, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: When I grow up, can I marry you?

John: 'Fraid I'm already taken, honey!

Olivia: Goodnight, Elizabeth.



The license plate number for John-Boy’s car is 63-982 Virginia.

John’s car is black with red spokes.

Deputy Sheriff Pete Wallace’s mother was feeling poorly, but is feeling better.


Also appearing:

Nancy Madden (Cindy Fisher); Mr. Eustace Madden (Warren Kemmerling); Victoria Madden (Hersha Parady); Deputy Sheriff Pete Wallace (Don Barry); Waiter (John Pearce); Harvey (Tom Henschel); Girl (Susan Blu); Ira (Ric Militi); Orin (Stuart Lee); Donny (Peter Neilson); Man in Car (Tim Wade).