Ep.7 - The Wing-Walker

  Original Airdate: October 23, 1975
Writer: Andy White
Director: Harry S. Laidman


  A female wing-walker arrives on Walton's Mountain which causes stirings of romance for both John-Boy and Jim-Bob but is she ready for all the attention? The family welcomes a new animal to their farm, Myrtle the goat.


  "While we were walking the green meadows of Walton's Mountain, daring flyers were conquering the beckoning blue skies. We had come to know an airmail pilot who would fly slightly off course just to say "Hello" to us, and especially to Jim Bob. Jim Bob's head was in the clouds back in those days, dreaming of machines which he hoped one day to fly."


  A fair is taking place in Westham which will feature wing-walker Bobby Strom and stunt pilot Rex Barker. John-Boy is assigned to write an article about them for the Jefferson County Times. John-Boy is surprised to learn that Bobby is a woman. He offers her a place to stay at his family’s home. It takes some convincing but she admits that she would prefer a view of a mountain over another city hotel room. He brings her back to his family who are excited to hear her stories but Grandma of course disapproves of her vocation. Jim-Bob on the other hand is quite smitten by her daredevil exploits as he hopes to take to the skies someday as a pilot himself. After dinner she admits that she would like to fly soldiers to the war zones if a war were to happen with Germany.

John-Boy is obviously captivated by her strong personality and striking Scandinavian beauty. He tries his best to catch her attention but she seems somewhat cold to his advances. The next day he arranges to ride in the cock pit while she walks the wing during a practice flight. Back in the privacy of the shed he gives her a kiss. She is bothered by the intimacy he makes the choice to share with him about how she was raped at the age of 15 by a stranger in the woods. As a result she chose to shut down her feelings and it has affected her relationships ever since. John-boy tells her that an experience like that doesn't have to affect her for the rest of her life. She finds a red rose each day in her room. This gesture helps to soften her wall but John-Boy may not be the one behind the romantic gesture. When he sees her back to her room the next evening she makes her own move with a passionate kiss. Jim-Bob happens upon them and is broken-hearted by what he sees.

The next morning Bobby asks to Olivia to go for a walk. She tells John-Boy’s mother about how she had closed off her feelings in the past due to being hurt but now for the first time she has grown very strong feelings for John-Boy. She feels that she has never been so tenderly courted before. Bobby is now having thoughts of having a family of her own and leaving her dangerous career behind. John-Boy on the other hand has grown more reserved in his feelings as he believes that his advances may have affected her in a negative way. When she tries to express her feelings to him he admits that his feelings have changed. She becomes distraught and angry that she may never find love. She runs back to the garden shed where Jim-Bon confesses to have given her the roses. The next mormning Bobby makes her way back to the fairgrounds with plans to attempt a very dangerous stunt. John-Boy finds the note she leaves behind and races to the air field with his mother in an attempt to stop her from getting hurt or worse. They arrive too late, she is already in the air and successfully walks on the top wing of the bi-plane with no safety equipment. When they land back on the ground both John-Boy and Jim-Bob share a final moment with her before she goes off in search of a new life that will fulfill her new found zest for life and personal relationships.

Secondary Story:

  Maude Gormley gives her goat Myrtle to the Walton family. Grandma isn't too keen on the idea but reconsiders when she learns that Myrtle can earn her keep by providing milk. Myrtle finds her way up on top of the Garden shed and Ben shows Elizabeth how to milk her. As the family prepares to leave for the fair Elizabeth discovers that Myrtle has gone missing. The family helps to find the goat. Grandma finds her back at Maude Gormley’s. Grandma feelings have warmed towards Myrtle and she claims that the goat is sensitive and needs more attention.


  "We were never to see or hear from the wingwalker again. To this day I think of Bobby Strom whenever I see a white dove in flight, and within Jim Bob's heart I'm sure there's a bitter-sweet memory."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Actor Tom Bower became a regular cast member in season 5 when he returned as the new town doctor, Curt Willard who would become Mary Ellen Walton's husband.
  • Actor John Mitchum appears as an announcer at the fair. He is the younger brother of Robert Mitchum and a successful character actor known for the Dirty Harry movies.
  • Westham is 26 miles from Walton’s Mountain.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Lee Purcell (Bobby Strom), Tom Bower (Rex Barker) with: John Mitchum (The Announcer), Merie Earle (Maude Gormley)


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