Ep.1 - The Hawk

  Original Airdate: September 15, 1977
Writer: Andy White
Director: Tony Brand


  A new minister arrives on the mountain and makes waves with his good looks and unorthodox ways.


  "Early in September of 1939, shortly after Hitler invaded Poland, England delivered an ultimatum that Germany withdraw her troops. And while war clouds were bulding over Europe our family was to face a disturbing conflict over the arrival of a new and controversial figure in our community."



Mary-Ellen and Curt arrive at the Walton’s home. She is about 7 months pregnant. They listen to Neville Chamberlain on the radio as he announces England’s entrance into war against Germany.

A Chicken Hawk tries to steal some of the family’s chicken. John tries to shoot it but Grandpa and Jim-Bob make a plan to try and catch it and relocate it to a different part of the mountain. They build a trap involving a caged chicken as a decoy and a large net which Jim-Bob gets trapped in when they test it.

Olivia, Sarah Griffith and Corabeth Godsey travel to Boatwright University to meet the new candidate to replace Reverend Fordwich at the Baptist church. They meet with Dean Beck who asks Olivia how John-Boy is. She states that he is fine and working on his second novel. The Dean then asks Hank Buchanan to enter and introduce himself to the women’s committee. Corabeth is immediately smitten by the young, attractive man. Hank is serious in his interest to become the new minister. Dean Beck states that he is 26 but has been the minister of a church before. Sarah and Olivia vote yes but Corabeth votes no. She doesn’t want the temptation so close to home.

When Hank Buchanan arrive at the Waltons home in search of the parsonage, Erin is immediately interested in him as well. After the first church service she convinces her mother to invite him to dinner with the family. He accepts.

Corabeth is upset that the Waltons didn’t invite her to dinner with the Reverend. She decides to invite him to dinner as well but she won’t extend an invite to the Waltons. Ike on the other hand is interested in applying for the position of air raid warden. He is very captivated by the developments of the looming war and even suggests that the Reverend do a sermon on the concerns of war.

While the family prepares for dinner, Aimee and Elizabeth sing as they take a bubble bath together after walking in the woods. Hank arrives and gets to meet more of the family.

Grandpa tries to trap the hawk but they believe that it saw the reflection of the chicken wire on the decoy cage. John suggests that they paint it green like the grass.

John and Hank plan to do some fishing but when they stop by Yancy Tucker’s for some advice on a good fishing hole they find him in the middle of a game of poker with Horace Brimley. Hank eagerly joins in and calls the terms of the next game. He is obviously a pro at playing cards. Olivia is not impressed when she learns of this when they come back home.

Hank attends the dinner at the Godsey’s. Corabeth makes considerable effort in trying to impress the Reverend. Ike is unaware of her behavior but the Reverend is uncomfortable with the one sided attention and makes an effort to include Ike in the conversation. Hank announces that he has to leave early as he promised to pick Erin Walton up from work at the telephone office.

Hank and Erin go to the movies and then he brings her back to the parsonage afterwards. He puts on some music and invites her to dance with him. Mrs. Brimmer arrives with a hot chicken and dumpling dinner for the minister and sees the two dancing through his window. She immediately heads back home at the sight of the scandalous revelation. Meanwhile Corabeth fantasizes about the Reverend from the privacy of her bedroom.

The next day Flossie Brimmer is quick to gossip about Erin and Hank at the Godsey store. Olivia enters and is drawn into the conversation. She defends Erin by saying that they had been to the movies with permission and still feels that the Reverend has attracted lots of new interest in the church. She leaves, obviously upset by the conversation.

When Erin arrives for work at the telephone office she overhears Fanny Tatum gossiping the news over the switchboard. Embarrassed that Erin has overheard her gossip she makes a new policy that Erin must knock before entering the office.

The Reverend stops in at the Dew Drop Inn and Thelma the bar owner asks if he plans to give a sermon to her drinking customers. He states that he is just there to hear Jason play the piano.

Ike make the decision to travel to Richmond to see the Governor about securing the job as the Air Raid Siren Warden for the community. He asks Ben to watch the store while he is away.

Corabeth designs a choir robe and uses it as an excuse to meet the Reverend alone at the parsonage. She makes a pass at him just as Jason and Erin arrive and witness the inappropriate behavior.

Erin runs home to her bedroom to sulk at the disappointment and embarrassment she feels in being attracted to an older man.

Olivia goes to see Corabeth who confides her attraction to the Reverend. She states that she has become bored by the lack of culture and refinement living as the wife of a store owner. She admits that she made a pass at the Reverend. Just at that moment Ike returns from Richmond with news that he has won the appointment as Air Raid Captain. Corabeth passionately congratulates him as Olivia makes her excuses and leaves them alone.

Jim-Bob and Grandpa release the hawk in the Blue Ridge Mointains. Grandpa tells Jim-Bob about how Man has encroached on the Hawk’s natural habitat and that sometimes a hawk like this one will get smart and come close to humans and steal a chicken or two but that they belong up in the wild and natural habitat like the top of the mountain where they are free to hunt naturally.

Olivia tells John about Corabeth indiscretion which gives John a chuckle. Sarah Griffith arrives to tell Olivia that Hank has turned in a letter of resignation. Olivia still feels that he is a good choice for the community. John makes his way to the parsonage and finds the Reverend packing his belongings due to the recent developments that has caused him embarrassment. John convinces Hank to face the community and himself. He suggests that the situation would make for a good sermon. Hank does just that at the end of the next service. He speaks plainly and directly. He admits his weaknesses for the things he enjoys but also states his strong desire to continue as their Minister. A multitude of voices from the pews affirm the community’s desire for him to stay as their minister.


  "Hank Buchanan was to remain our minister for a good many years to come, and while he remained, in Corabeth Godsey's words, 'a most unorthodox young man', he was a good man, and a godly man. The hawk returned, on the day we heard over the radio that Russian bomber and strafing planes had hit Poland from the east; the world would never again be the same."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Henry 'Hank' Buchanan is 26 years old. His father, Henry Buchanan, Sr., is also a minister.
  • Rev. Buchanan is the Baptist Church's second minister since the television series began. The first minister was Rev. Matthew Fordwick.

Additional Cast:



Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Lynn Carlin (Sarah Bridges), Robert Donner (Yancy Tucker), Rachel Longaker (Aimee Godsey), Tom Bower (Curtis Willard), Peter Fox (Reverend Buchanan), Nora Marlowe (Mrs. Brimmer), Sheila Allen (Fanny Tatum), A. Wilford Brimley (Horace), George D. Wallace (Dean Beck), Dorothy Shay (Thelma), Hank Stohl (Radio Announcer), Art Gilmore (Newsreel Announcer), David Franklin (Voice of Neville Chamberlain)

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