Ep.18 - The Hero

  Original Airdate: February 3, 1977
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Tony Brand


  John-Boy researches information for the Blue Ridge Chronicle for a story about Honor Day which commemmorates the end of World War 1. He learns quite a bit more about Sherrif Bridges' past in the process. The Sheriff is reaquainted with a love interest from the war


  "It had been my grandmother's idea to bring out the first commemorative issue of The Blue Ridge Chronicle, but she was still in the hospital, and the job of organising the event came to rest on my shoulders. If I had expected wholehearted support from the community and my family, how wrong I was!"



John-Boy asks his Mama and Grandpa to help out with the Jefferson County Honor Day. Grandpa gets emotional remembering the soldiers who didn't return from the war. He make an excuse about needing to feed the chickens and quickly leaves the kitchen. John-Boy knows that he is thinking about his son Ben, John’s brother and Ben’s uncle and namesake.

John-Boy makes a call to the Hall of Records for names of the returning Veterans but they no longer have any files on hand. He pays a visit to Sheriff Bridges to look at his records. In the process he asks Ep what role he played during the war but the Sheriff isn't too interested to talk about it.

Jim-Bob and Grandpa help Flossie Brimmer to open her swollen windows at her boarding house. Patsy Brimmer admires Jim-Bob as he works at unsticking the windows.

That evening the family looks at the medals and memorabilia from the war that belonged to John and Uncle Ben.

John-Boy and Olivia make a trip to the Red Cross in Richmond to look at their records. They discover that the Sheriff “Marmaduke“ Ep Bridges is a decorated war hero. The lady at the desk seems to be interested in the news they uncovered.

John-Boy visits Ep who is still reluctant to share his memories from the war. He lets John-Boy look through his memory box of medals. Ep tells him about some of the horrors he experienced and how he feels he shouldn't have been seeded medals and called a hero for killing other men.

While out riding Blue the mule Jim-Bob comes across a car with a lady lying under the engine. She asks if he has a 5/8” wrench. Jim-Bob is impressed that she knows so much about cars. She tells him that she drove an ambulance during the war.

Ben talks to his Daddy about his Uncle Ben. His Daddy tells him some stories and explains that they named him after his uncle to keep his name alive.

John-Boy and Ep meet Sarah Griffith on the Walton porch who is waiting for Jim-Bob to help her with her car. She immediately targets Ep and reminds him of their first and last encounter while she worked as a nurse and ambulance driver during the war.

Sarah asks if he ever married. He says yes but that she is now gone but he has 2 grown sons.

Jim-Bob needs to go into Charlottesville to get a new part for Sarah’s car. John-Boy offers to drive them so that he can interview her for his article for Honor Day. When Olivia comes out with food for the company the boy’s get stiffed in spending time with Sarah.

Ben has made a bench as a memorial for his Uncle Ben.

Zeb stops by Ike’s to get some more turpentine. Ike asks him if he is is planning to take his Oder of turpentine with him or if he plans to drink it there. They both laugh hysterically as Grandpa had once mistaken turpentine for the Baldwin recipe.

Jim-Bob repairs Sarah’s car. Patsy Brimmer is jealous of the attention he is giving to Sarah.

The Honor Day takes place as planned. Ep and Sarah spend more time together and keep the relationship open for further time together. Ben shows grandpa the bench that he made as a memorial to his Uncle and the other soldiers that didn't return from the war.


  "We were all grateful for the success of Honor Day, and to Grandma for suggesting that first commemorative issue of the Chronicle. But my brother Ben, and his memorial bench will always be best remembered. The bench is still there, for all the Waltons and all the others who came to remember those who gave the best they had. And for Ep and Sarah Griffith, there was a rekindling and a new beginning, that Jim Bob didn't grow up first."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Included among the names on the crosses in the soldier's cemetary are 1st asst. director Ralph Ferrin, directors Lawrence Dobkin, Harry Harris, Producer Robert Jacks, and series creator Earl Hamner.

Additional Cast:



John Crawford (Sheriff Bridges), Lynn Carlin (Sarah Griffith), Nora Marlowe (Mrs. Brimmer), Eileen McDonough (Patsy Brimmer), Joe Conley (Ike Godsey)


Music from this episode:

Quiet theme while John-Boy looks at the Sheriff's memory box
A variation on a common scene change theme
The "Thing's aren't going your way" theme
Jason and friend sing war songs at the Honor Day event including; "Mademoiselle from Armentières", "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", "There's a Long Long Trail A-Winding"


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