Ep.14 - The Minstrel

  Original Airdate: December 21, 1972
Writer: John Furia Jr.
Director: Philip Leacock


  "When I was growing up back in those distant Depression years I always seemed to be a year or two younger than I wanted to be, and a year or two older than my parents thought I was. It tried my patience for a long time, until one day something happened to my sister Mary Ellen that helped me understand those feelings in myself."




Mary Ellen is late for dinner and in her dash to get home she literally runs into Jaime, a travelling minstrel and his mule. They meet and then she off headed for home but not before claiming that she is going to travel to Virginia Beach herself. John comes home with 2 bag fulls of apples. He has made a deal with Mr. Picket to pick his orchard. They don't have much time and it's a potentially risky deal but John is confident that with all hands on deck the family can make the deadline.

Mary Ellen asks her parents for permission to go with some friends on a trip to Virginia Beach. Her parents think that she is too young to go off on her own. She uses some harsh words to express her frustration.


That night Jamie stops on their porch looking for people he can meet to learn old songs. John-Boy suggests Maude Gormley and John reluctantly agrees to let Mary Ellen go to introduce Jaime to Maude. Later after Jaime has earned some new songs Jaime draws a sketch of Mary Ellen while the two are resting. Mary Ellen world is beginning to broaden with the arrival of the minstrel on her mountain.

The family begins to pick apples at the orchard. While reaching for an apple John-Boy breaks his wrist falling from a ladder.

Mary Ellen comes home late from her day with Jaime. She talks to her Momma on the porch but Mary Ellen's words break Olivia's heart. She doesn't want to lose her little girl but her little girl has also admitted that her Daddy and Momma's life isn't good enough for her. The next day as the family picks apples Mary Ellen sneaks off to be with Jaime. She asks Jaime if he will take her to Virginia Beach but he's not willing to make her any promises she is shattered by his cold response and she runs back home. She runs into John-Boy on the way who has been out looking for her and he offers her broken heart some comfort. Despite the challenges the family managed to pick the orchard and win a bonus of $2.90 per person. John divides it's it evenly with each member of the family but some of the children question whether Mary Ellen had worked equally to earn her share. John sees it as an opportunity to learn a lesson but John-Boy makes a different suggestion and when Mary Ellen is asked to come down from her bedroom she learns that the whole family has decided to give a portion of their earning to help send Mary Ellen on a trip for a week to Washington D.C.


  "My sister Mary Ellen went to Washington DC and she saw enough new things to satisfy her craving for adventure for a long time. I looked at her with new eyes after that night because I realised she was no longer a child. I grew up too of course and left Waltons Mountain, but the love and warmth I knew in that special family was like a pebble dropped in water that ripples through my life to this day."

Episode Notes and Interesting Facts:

  • The is Maude Gormley's first appearance on the show.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Peter Hooten (Jamie) with: Merie Earle (Maud Gormley), Regis J. Cordic (Mr. Pickett)


Music from this episode:

  Jamie, a travelling minstrel sings "(Won't Be) Tomorrow's Child"
  Maude Gormley sings "East Virgina Blues"
  The Walton's Theme with Autoharp heard while the family picks apples
  Jamie sings "The Johnson Boys"
  Jamie sings "East Virgina Blues"


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