Ep.8 - The Cloudburst

  Original Airdate: November 11, 1976
Writer: Paul Cooper
Director: Harry Harris



In a desperate attempt to make a loan payment on his printing press John-Boy sells his 10 acre meadow that Grandpa gave him on Waltons Mountain.

Mary Ellen experiences her first challenges as a nurse.


  "The mountain had been our home ever since the first Walton put his axe to a pine tree and built his cabin on a plateau near the summit. Since then, each Walton child had been instilled with a regard for the traditions of the land on which we lived. Ironically, it was I, who violated those traditions and exposed our mountain to a danger unforseen and literally unknown in our sheltered community."



John-Boy arrives at the Charlottesville Bank and Trust Company to talk to Mr. Carter about his arrears payment on the press his has bought from Mr. Johnson. Mr. Carter says that unless he can come up with the collateral to cover his loan then the Bank will have to repossess the printing press on Wednesday. John-Boy suggests that he has 10 acres of land that he could put up. Mr. Carter refers John- Boy to the Interstate Land Company which has been buying land in the area.

John-Boy goes to see Mr. Shelby at the land company. He is surprised to hear that he could get $4 an acre when it usually goes for about $1 an acre. He believes that their must be some sort of catch but in the end sells his 10 acres of meadow for $40. Grandpa is beside himself that John-Boy has sold the land to save his press.

Mr. Shelby stops by Ike Godsey's store. Through a series of half truths he reveals that his company is looking to mine gold. Using manipulative tactics he convinces the Godsey's to put a $5 hold of their 12 acres of land. He wants to buy up 80 acres from the other neighbors.

John-Boy investigates what the Interstate Land Company is doing in another part of the county. He sees the devastating effects that their hydralic mining methods has on the land.

The family prepares the farm for a storm that is beginning to brew. John-Boy finds Grandpa up on the meadow saving wild flowers that will be lost now that the land has been sold. He is still at odds with his grandson.

Esther tries to get Zeb to see reason about John-Boy’s decision to save his press but Zeb wins her over by talking about the importance of the preserving the varieties of wild flowers from John-Boy’s meadow before they are lost to the mining company.

John-Boy asks the Reverend if they can hold the Sunday service up on his meadow. Mr. Shelby arrives with hopes of convincing the land owners to sell their property but John-Boy and Grandpa make impassioned pleas to prevent the mountain from becoming a mining company town. The neighbors decide to preserve the land and not make a quick buck. Mr. Shelby decides to keep the meadow instead of selling it back to John-Boy.

Secondary Story:


John drops Olivia off at the Walton’s Mountain School. She is teaching classes for Rosemary Fordwich who is expecting her first child.

Curt and Mary Ellen finish up an appointment with Mrs. Brimmer. Russell Travis runs in and asks for the doctor’s help after his wife Martha Rose fell off a ladder while trying to get squirrels out of their chimney. She has broken a good few ribs and needs to go into Charlottesville for some X-Rays. Mary Ellen stays with her while the Doctor makes another house call.

Olivia visits with Rosemary Fordwich while Matthew assembles a crib for their baby.

Martha Rose begins to have trouble breathing. By the time Doc Willard returns he has to preform an immediate tracheotomy. Mary Ellen passes out at the thought of the procedure.

Mary Ellen talks to her Mama about how she had let Curt down when he needed her the most. Olivia suggest that she go down to the church to seek solace to lighten her burden.

As Mary Ellen makes her way to the church she is waved down by Rosemary Fordwich who is having contractions. By the time everyone arrives Mary Ellen has already helped Rosemary give birth to her baby girl Margaret. In honor of Mary Ellen's efforts Rosemary decides to change the baby’s name to Mary-Margaret.


  "Although it had been spared, that piece of land was never again to belong to us. Mr Shelby has never returned, but the flower lovers and bird watchers are waiting."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • John-Boy points to the north-west of Charlottesville when asked to show the location of Walton’s Mountain. In reality Schuyler ( the town that show creator Earl Hamner grew up ) is 26 miles south-west of Charlottesville.
  • There is a 6 mile radius between Ike's Mercantile and the next General Store
  • This story contains significant anti-sentiment towards company towns and row houses that the show creator Earl Hamner grew up in.
  • Actor Ron Hajek who plays Martha Rose’s husband died of the same disease (aortic dissection) as John Ritter who both appeared in this episode.
  • Telegraph poles are visible in Charlottesville that were put up for John-Wayne’s final movie The Shootist. You can see what that looked like HERE on the Locations page.

Additional Cast:



Guest Star: John Carter (Mr. Shelby) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Tom Bower (Curtis Willard), John Ritter (Reverend Fordwick), Mariclaire Costello (Rosemary Fordwick), Cindy Eilbacher (Martha Rose), Ron Hajek (Russell Travis), William Bryant (Mr. Lyle Carter), Shirley Slater (Woman in Congregation), Dennis Cross (Man in Congregation)


Music from this episode:

Instrumental theme when John-Boy discovers the hydralic mining operation
The church congregation sings "Call Of Yonder" on top of the mountain


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