Ep.24 - The Collision

  Original Airdate: March 4, 1976
Teleplay: John McGreevey
Director: Richard Thomas



John-Boy resparks his relationship with Selina Linville who is bent adventure and the romance of war with a passion to join the Spanish Rebellion. Elizabeth has become friends with a new schoolgirl who she feels she can't compete with.


  "Though the early years of the Depression were difficult on Walton's Mountain we still felt a sense of security in our isolation from a troubled world. The building turmoil of the times it seemed lay beyond the mountains and across a distant ocean. Then in 1936 we became aware of Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy. A war was being fought in Spain. Historic events yet all of them were overshadowed by my acquisition of an old printing press and the prospect of publishing my own small-town newspaper."



John-Boy writes his journal in a quiet outdoor spot, sitting on a large tree trunk. He is accosted by a woman on horseback who jumps over him and the large log he was sitting on. He is surprised to discover that is is his old friend Selina Linville who has come home from her studies at Vasser. She thinks he has been hiding away in the back woods and wonders if he’s married one of his back wood beauties yet. He rebuts that maybe he was waiting for her. Selina laughs at his plans to be a writer exclaiming that real writers like Hemingway are in Spain covering the war. After their initial skirmish of words she invites him to dinner.

John-Boy serves at the Linville home and is greeted by Vesper the maid. They catch up on things and she takes him to greet the Colonel. Selina startles them when she arrives dressed in a Lincoln Brigade uniform that is being worn in Spain. She has also brought lobster home for the dinner. She takes pleasure in seeing John-Boy try to awkwardly cut into the lobster. During the meal they debate the the merits of the war in Spain. She announces her plans to fight in Spain. She is passionate about the romance of war, travel and expanding her horizons. Selina’s Grandfather retires for the evening and the two young adults continue their debate. This eventually leads to them falling into each other's arms in multiple passionate kisses. Selina continues to play hot and cold but invites him to go horse riding the following day.

The next day John-Boy saddles up Blue the mule and meets up with Selina. She jumps fences and seeks exciting ways to be reckless. When John-Boy finally catches up with her at a rest area by a lake she reports that they can be on a steam freighter the following Thursday headed for Spain for $200. He is not ready to make such a move with his commitments to school and his new printing press and soon to be published newspaper. She rides off leaving John-Boy to chase his spooked mule.

Back at her house she learns that her Grandfather has lost his fortune and their house and belongings are to be auctioned off. John-Boy arrives to find her in tears but is sent away before he learns her fate. At home he blows off steam to his parents about his war of wits with Selina but still fails to learn that her way of life has come to an end. John and Olivia have a great exchange about her attempts to save his soul and his attempts to just win her heart when they first met.

In his bedroom he writes that she is spoiled and selfish but he still cares about her. He goes and talks to his Daddy and Grandpa about it. He doesn't see himself as a coward just because he won't join her to pursue a war. The men say that the Waltons have never foolhardily entered a war unless the reasons were just.

John-Boy talks with the maid, Vesper at the Linville home. The front yard is covered in furnishings that are being prepped for auction. Vesper says that despite no longer being paid she will stay with the Colonel stating that he is the only family that she has had. John-Boy asks if she can convince Selina to talk with him and that he will park himself in her front yard until she comes out. Selina escapes on her horse and John-Boy chases after her on Blue. He catches up to her and states that there is a battle at home to fight called the Depression. He says that people are fighting to survive, to eat, to have shelter. They don't have to save $200 and travel 3000 miles to volunteer. He tells her to stay home, transfer to Boatwright and help Vesper take care of her grandfather.


Secondary Story:


On the way home from school Elizabeth waits for her new friend Ariel. When she catches up Elizabeth shows her the aprons she has made for her Momma and Grandma in a school sewing project. Ariel however states that she has made prettier one with lace. At home she gives them to her Grandma and her Mama. They love the work she has done but Elizabeth has begun to compare her abilities and her parents to the stories her friend Ariel has told her. She doesn't feel that she measures up to Ariel.

Ben gives Elizabeth a plain pencil box that he received and no longer requires but when she excitedly shows it to her friend Ariel her friend one ups her by saying that she has one like it that came from Switzerland with pretty flowers on it. Elizabeth leaves discouraged believing that she will never have anything as good as what Ariel had told her.

Elizabeth makes her way to Ariel’s house and discovers that it is a ramshackle shack. Inside she meets Ariel’s aunt and learns that her friend’s parents have both died and that she is now in the care of her relative. Ariel has been living in a world of make believe and many of her stories came from the catalogs that she looks at.At first Ariel is embarrassed by her situation claiming that she doesn't actually live there and is just visiting. Elizabeth doesn’t care about such things and gives Ariel her prized fairy stone and for the first time Ariel is impressed. She invites Elizabeth to join her pretend tea party.



"Selena did stay with her grandfather, did transfer to Boatwright, and as she predicted, there were times I regretted it. But mostly after the collisions when we had picked ourselves up, got our bearings, we found ourselves headed in the same direction, and grateful to have each other's company."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Selena and her Father previoulsy appeared in "The Thoroughbred" (s3-ep3)
  • Frank Janson previously portrayed Col. Linville in "The Thoroughbred" (s3-ep3)
  • Actor Eduard Franz previously appeared as Cody Nelson in "The Courtship" (s1-ep18)
  • Actress Doreen Lang returns as a character actor after having last appeared in "The Braggart" (s2ep8)
  • Chris Collins from his site The Retro Rocket writes: "Odd episode, has some good, sparky dialogue between Selena and John-Boy (a la an old screwball comedy from the 30s), but not much dramatic tension or cohesion. Kathleen Quinlan reprises her role from last season’s “The Thoroughbred,” but it’s an almost completely different character; her glee for the adventure of covering a foreign war is so over the top it’s almost cartoonish, and John Boy’s fascination with it seems unlikely as well."

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Kathleen Quinlan (Selena Linville), Eduard Franz (Colonel Linville) with: Doreen Lang (Meg Phillips), Karen Teitelman (Ariel "Effie" Robins), Virginia Capers (Vesper Oakes)

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