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Ep.9 - The Fawn

 
  Original Airdate: November 8, 1973
Writer: John McGreevey
Director: Ralph Waite


Prologue:

 
  "As close-knit and self-sufficient as our family was, still, neighbors were very important in those days when we were growing up on Walton's Mountain. There were families like ourselves, struggling to keep the land we owned, and there were tenant farmers, at the mercy of the weather, crop prices and absentee landlords."

Synopsis:

 

Erin has a shy admirer. Harold Beasley is a school mate of hers but he is too bashful to show his affection and prefers to admire her from afar. As the Walton kids walk to school they learn that the Littleton family has been forced out of their home due to unpaid taxes. At school Erin offers Harold a gift containing a embroidered hankie and a love note. Some bullies make fun of Harold and Erin and Harold won't stand up to the bullies or acknowledge her gift.

 

  Later when the Walton children go berry picking and they ask Erin to come along instead of brooding. She finds a fawn in the forest all alone and brings it home. The family comes to see the deer that Erin has found. They have heard that a Game Warden has been looking for poachers. Erin figures the deer is hers and names him Lancelot. Mama warns Erin to not get to attached to the fawn as they will need to release it back to the wild once it gets stronger. When she begins to protest her Grandpa says that “Once you start interfering with nature you'll find yourself in a mess of trouble”. The Game Warden, Mr. Hennessey arrives and tells Erin that the deer needs to be released as it is illegal for a private person to own a wild animal. Her mother tells Erin that she needs Lance much more than the deer needs her. Jim-Bob and Elizabeth catch a bullfrog to replace Lance in his absence. Erin has a bad dream that something has happened to Lance she gets her Daddy the Game Warden to go look for him. Just as they find him he is wounded by poachers who are more interested in the meat the fawn would provide than the morals of hunting a baby deer. The Warden catches the men and takes their guns. Although Mr. Hennessey offers to take Lance to a protected game park Erin decides to set him free in the wild herself. As she walks sadly home Harold Beasley offers her some flowers and the two walk home quietly together.

Secondary Story:

 
  John-Boy learns about a job to collect rent that pays 5% of what you collect. He wants to earn money to buy an encyclopedia. He goes and meets Graham Foster an unscrupulous landlord who offers the job to John-Boy on a trial basis. When John-Boy tells his Daddy, John warns him to watch out for Graham Foster as the Waltons have been feuding with the Fosters for years. When John-Boy goes to collect the rents he is met with some issues. The renters either don't have the money to spare or are unhappy with the conditions of their homes. John-Boy struggles with the challenges of his new job but despite his desire to quit he decides that somebody needs to stand up for the tenants rights as well. He reports to Graham Foster and submits the rent that he has collected but the landlord is upset that the total is $18 short. John-Boy storms off when Foster refuses to pay his wages. John-Boy makes a plan to fix the situation. He and Jason repair the roof of one tenant and John-Boy then subtracts his wages and cost of materials for the roof from the rest of the rent owing to Graham Foster. The landlord is impressed now that John-Boy has learned the ropes and he offers to continue John-Boy's contract as rent collector but John-Boy turns him down afraid that he may hang himself with that rope.

Epilogue:

 
  "My sister Erin gave Lance his freedom and he took it gratefully. We never did see him again although two years later we did glimpse a doe and a fawn. The little one looked so much like Lance we told ourselves that this must be his son. Erin decided to give boys another chance, and if Harold Beasley wasn't exactly a "knight in shining armor", he was devoted and persistent. I never regretted my brief fling as a man of business. When I'm reminded from time to time of the lessons Graham Foster taught me, memory carries me back to that Depression time, and the voices of my family."

Episode Notes and Interesting Facts:

 
 
  • This is the first of 16 episodes that Ralph Waite (John Walton) would direct.

Additional Cast:

 
 

Charles Tyner (Graham Foster), Matt Clark (Mr. Hennessey), Jimmy Davila (Harold Beasley), Marjorie Morley Eaton (Mrs. Crofat), Todd Miller (Charlie), Mary Better (Mrs. Littlefield), Donna Sanders (Beth Ann), James Jeter (Poacher 1), Sam Javis (Poacher 2)



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