Ep.17 - The Heritage

  Original Airdate: January 17, 1974
Writer: Dale Eunson
Director: Harry Harris



  "When we were children we never thought of the house we were born in as beautiful, or plain, or anything special, except that it was our home, and was there. But there came a day when we were faced with giving it up. It crept up on us, as so many crises do, through the normal routine of living."


  While doing some work in the mill Grandpa complains about his back giving him problems. He asks John for the rest of the day off with John-Boy to go soak up in the hot springs. Zeb tells John-Boy that he is looking forward to his 50th anniversat with Esther. He says that Esther will wear her wedding dress and he will be doing a clog dance. While still soaking in the hot spring they are approached by two men who claim to be surveyors for the county. The men are amazed by how pure the water is from the Walton's spring. A few days later one of the men Charles Harmon stops by the Walton's home and offers John $5000 to sell his property. Olivia suggests that they enjoy their dinner outside that evening. While they eat by the pond they imagine what they would do with all that money. The consensus by most of the family is that they would never sell but Olivia is not so sure about John who seems lured by the freedom that the money could offer.

  Charles Harmon comes back to talk with John again and finds him fishing in the Rockfish river with Yancy Tucker. Mr. Harmon levels with John and tells him that he is trying to find land with a hot spring for a corporation that is looking to build a resort in Virginia. He is now offering him $25,000 for the mountain plus they can keep their home, barn and sawmill but without owning the mountain he won't have any trees to cut for lumber. He figures that they could bank the money and at 4% interest it would earn $1000 per year. John decides that he will accept the offer but when Mr. Harmon returns he announces that his company now wants to buy their house $13,000 extra and turn it the barn and the mill into a parking lot. When John enquires what he will do for work Harmon says that he can be their hunting and fishing guide for $35/week plus tips. They have even offered to build and move them into a new home. Many of the family take turns walking up on the mountain to reflect on their thoughts about the potential change. John-Boy finds Jason playing his harmonica in Brian's cave. It seems that each of the Walton men have found the cave on their own at around the age of 13 including Grandpa who carved his initials into the wall of the cave in 1875. Although they have been able to make do without much money John wants to provide more for his family but he can't see himself accepting tips.

John asks the family for help in making the decision. In a beautiful speech John-Boy says that the people he should be thinking about is the two youngest children Jim-Bob and Elizabeth. The rest of the children have had their chance to build wonderful memories of their home but what will happen to them if they move and don't get the same chance. It's the sounds of their house that he will never forget, the sounds of the family at dinner when everyone is talking but no one is listening and especially at night when they are all safe in bed and they say goodnight to each other. That is all John needed to hear to make his final decision. Zeb gets to do his clog dance at his 50th wedding anniversary with Esther.


  "Many years have gone by since that 50th anniversary. My grandparents are no longer alive, and most of us have moved to other places in the world. We go home when we can, and on those occasions our spirits are renewed by the feelings that flood back, the feelings we had as children growing up in that wonderful old house that stands in the shadow of Walton's Mountain."

Episode Notes and Interesting Facts:

  • Drucilla's Pond is past the Baptist church.
  • John was born in the very room and bed he now sleeps in.
  • During the anniversary scene Jason plays Harmonica, Ep Bridges is on the guitar and Yancy Tucker plays the fiddle.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Noah Beery (Mr. Harmon) with: Robert Donner (Yancy Tucker), John Crawford (Sheriff Bridges), Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Nora Marlowe (Mrs. Brimmer), Norman Andrews (Bill Dieter), Charles Kuenstle (Ken Lambert)


Music from this episode:

Zeb and Esther dance to Golden Slippers on their 50th wedding anniversary.



Promo Images


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