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Ep.10 - The Pony Cart

 
  Original Airdate: December 2, 1976
Writer: Jack Miller
Director: Ralph Senensky

Description:

  Martha Corrine comes to visit the Waltons and overstays her welcome.

Prologue:

  "In the summer of 1937, it seemed as if Walton's Mountain was reborn. The blue misted mountains, the tall stands of evergreens and the wild flowers that grew everywhere gave a fragrance to the air and a spirit to the soul. It was also the summer that Martha Corinne Walton came to visit, and that made it a summer to remember."

Synopsis:

 

Martha Corinne Walton arrives by horse and buggy. The family is excited for her visit. She says that she will stay until they tire of her. She brings presents for all the children; arrowheads for the boys, a handmade quilt for Mary Ellen, her husband Henry's shaving cup, a crocheted blanket she made for Esther, pickled peaches with lots of cloves for John, her Mother’s crocheted shawl for Olivia, old tintype photos of her family for John-Boy.

Ben has bought a old pony cart from Mr. Monroe, a neighbor for $2 that he intends to fix up. He figures that he can sell it $15 for once he's done repairing it. Martha Corrine makes her way around sharing her unwanted opinions with all the members of the family. She adds pepper and sage to Grandma’s sausage saying that it should make your eyes water. John-Boy takes a bite out of a sausage sandwich. He immediately chokes from the spice, gulps down a glass of milk and states that it’s the best sausage he’s ever had. When Erin’s date honks his car horn to let her know that he has arrived Martha Corrine takes control of the situation sending Erin upstairs to wait for her date to come inside and pay his respects.
Martha talks to Olivia in the garden and shares a heart felt perpective on the cost of grwing old and losing your loved ones.

The family has grown agitated by her meddling and wonder how much longer she will be staying for. When John-Boy drives her back to her home Brightwood she asks to take a detour to see her old homestead in Little Rock Creek. They stand where her house once stood. She remembers where her husband Henry and her used to sit in the evening on the veranda. They continue along and visit the old family graveyard. She pull-ups weeds and does her best to do some tending of the ground around the stones while telling John-boy about her father-in-law and the family history. As they are about to go she is struck with a minor hearth attack. John-Boy races at her request to get water from the creek. When he suggests that he will take her to see Doc Willard she admits that she has already seen the doctor and at 90 years of age she is worn out. He then states that he will take her back to his home. She wants nothing to do with that as she has already said her goodbyes and doesn't want to be humiliated. She agrees to go if he doesn't tell them of her heart condition. Martha Corinne also makes John-Boy promise to see that she is buried beside her husband Henry on her old homestead.

Olivia pulls the reason for Martha Corrine’s return out of John-Boy. Now that the family knows Martha detects their change in behaviour towards her. She knows that John-Boy has broken his promise to her and told her secret. Despite her anger towards him she gives John-Boy a family tree and some history of the Walton and Tyler going back to England. Martha Corrine wants to return home but not before she completes her promise to Ben and paint the pony cart.

Ben is not sure about the colors but soon he begins to admire her work and how she has decorated the “shay” as she calls it to look like they did when she was a girl.

Finally the cart is finished and revealed for the family to admire. Elizabeth wants to go for the first ride but Ben makes her pick the first one to ride and she picks Martha Corrine. Ben and Martha ride off together and she asks him to stop and let her off to pick some daisies. As elated as she seems to be in the bed of flowers she is struck again with a heart attack. Martha Corrine smiles looking up to the sky knowing that she will be reunited with her husband Henry and all of her departed family and friends.

Epilogue:

 
  "The summer of 1937 was a summer to remember, because it was the summer that Martha Corinne came to visit. She was buried on the mountain next to Henry, and the graves were never again overgrown with weeds because as she said, neglected graves are a shameful thing. Ben never sold the pony cart; he kept it as a sort of legacy for Martha Corinne. But perhaps the most important legacy of all was the one Martha Corinne gave to me."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

 
 
  • Martha Corrine previously appeared in The Conflict (s3-01)
  • Beulah Bondi won an Emmy for this performance.
  • Read the director Ralph Senensky's recollections about the making of this episode HERE.
  • The pony cart reappears on The Ordeal (s6-19) to help Elizabeth with her mobility after breaking both her legs in a fall.
  • Martha Corrine’s maiden name was Tyler.

Additional Cast:

 
 

 


Guest Stars: Beulah Bondi (Martha Corinne), Patrick Skelton (Tom Wheeler)
 

Music from this episode:

   
Jason practises the piano while the family cleans the living room
Instrumental theme as Martha Corrine paints the pony cart

 


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