Ep.16 - John's Crossroad

  Original Airdate: January 20, 1977
Writers: Andy White and Paul West
Director: Richard Thomas


  John gets an office job in Charlottesville to help pay for Grandma's hospital bills. Grandpa spends more time with Elizabeth who shows little interest in the boy who has a crush on her.



"When I was young the thought of distant and mysterious cities would send me daydreaming for hours. But cities did not beckon to my father. He was content in the woods and fields of Waltons Mountain, until 1937. That was the year my grandmother became ill, and my father ventured away from the mountain into new and perplexing experiences."



Grandma has become ill and is recuperating in the hospital. John feels the pressure to find work and keep up with the bills. He sees a help wanted ad at Ike’s for a job with the highway department in Charlottesville. He ends up winning the job against 6 other applicants including 2 with college degrees. He buys a new hat for his job in the city. He comes home with the big news that he will work 6 days a week and make $100 per month.

Lester Morgan is his supervisor who runs a strictly controlled office. The staff secretly try to warn John about their boss and the rules he imposes. When John opens a window to let some fresh air in he learns that Mr. Morgan forbids the windows from being open as the street noise is too distracting. When he try's to leave at the end of the day the staff explain that no one leaves until Mr. Morgan leaves. It is past 6pm and John ignores the warning and heads for the door. Mr. Morgan stops John and gives him new paperwork to look over. He returns home too late for dinner and misses visitng hours to see Grandma at the hospital.

The other workers leave the office for their lunch break but John stays behind and eats his lunch at his desk with Mel who has worked in the office for 20 years. Mel has lost his love for the job and is just waiting now to collect his pension. Mel’s eyesight is failing and he is falling behind in his workload. John steps in to give Mel a hand but Mr. Morgan wants equal performance from all his employee’s. He is looking for an excuse to fire Mel before he can retire and collect his pension.

Mr. Morgan find's errors in Mel's reports who has arrived late to work. When John is no longer willing to put up with Mr. Morgan’s abuse. He stands up to defend Mel and the other employee's. The supervisor explains the great deal of pressure he himself is under to run the office as efficiently as possible. His own job is on the line as well. He says that he will continue to run a tight ship as long as he is still in charge and anyone who doesn't like it is welcome to leave. John storms out. Mel defiantly opens the window to the office after John’s departure.

John-Boy tells his mother that his Daddy truck is parked outside of the Dew Drop Inn. Although it would be considered immoral she borrows her son’s car to bring her husband home. John is a few beers into his visit when she arrives. He explains that he couldn't stand the abuse and longer and had to quir his job. She is glad that he will be coming home for good and agrees to drinking an Orange Squeeze when he orders one more beer for the road. Olivia and John return back home, he is through working in the city.

Secondary Story:


Elizabeth has a school boy admirer, Lucas Farnham. He offers to carry her school books home. Her brothers tease her about the new “boyfriend” she has.

With Grandma away Grandpa seeks companionship with his grandchildren. He asks Jim-Bob to walk up the mountain with him to see how the young trees are growing but he is too busy working on his car. Ben is too caught up with the newspaper. Elizabeth on the other hand is thrilled to spend time alone with her grandfather.

Grandpa teaches her how to smoke meat. When she carries a large cut of smoked meat into the house for her mother Lucas arrives and asks to walk her to school but Elizabeth shows no interest in joining him.

Grandpa takes Elizabeth to the beaver pond and they fall into the water and get all muddy. Despite the fun they had Olivia senses that Grandpa is turning Elizabeth into a Tom-boy is is worried that she won’t remain a little girl. She sets Grandpa straight and asks him to respect her wishes.

Later, Elizabeth is excited to go fishing with Grandpa but when he breaks his promise to take her she realizes that he has turned to keep her from having “boyish” fun. Lucas shows up and Grandpa takes him instead to the fishing hole. Elizabeth arrives later with flowers in her hair and a pretty dress. Both Grandpa and Lucas are impressed with her appearance. She asks Lucas if he wants to get ice cream with her at Ike Godsey’s store. He jumps to his feet and the two go off leaving Grandpa to tend both fishing poles.


  "My father never stopped looking to learn for himself and to support his family. He would be forced to go to cities from time to time to find work, but his stays there were always as short as he could make them, and his joy and ours was always his return to the mountain."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • This is the first episode to address Grandma's absense from the show. Actress Ellen Corby had suffered a stroke in real life and this would become part of her storyline when she returns to the cast in "Grandma Come Home" (s6-3p22)
  • This episode is directed by Richard Thomas.
  • Jim-Bob's car is now almost complete. It just needs an engine.

Additional Cast:



Tom Bower (Curtis Willard), Donald Moffat (Mr. Morgan), William Phipps (Mel Parsons), Christopher Gardner (Lucas Farnham), Betty Jinnette (Miss Agnes), Daniel Leveans (Kyle Jeffers), Kenneth Tigar (Clem Beal), Patch MacKenzie (Mavis Crawford), Joe Conley (Ike Godsey)


Music from this episode:

Common scene change theme
Theme when Olivia misses John at home


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