Ep.8 - The First Casualty

  Original Airdate: November 10, 1977
Writer: Andy White
Director: Harry Harris


  G.W. is killed in a training accident. Yancy marries Cissy and tries to enlist.


  "In the fall of 1939 the people on Walton's Mountain were becoming increasingly affected by the spreading war in Europe. In our family and others, despite our rural isolation it was to cause immediate and profound change."


Written by Janet Lange

Ike blazes past the Walton house on his motorcycle and daddy comments that it’s not like Ike to go by without saying hi.

Ike gets to Curt and Mary Ellen’s where he gives Curt a letter from the war department. Curt has been called up to active duty and Mary Ellen does not handle the news well at all. Thankfully he will be at Camp Lee which is only about 140 miles away. He has to report in on Monday.

The Walton family discusses the situation with Curt and Mary Ellen. He is given the rank of First Lieutenant. The boys talk about whether or not they want to join the war. Curt was in the ROTC in medical school. Mama tells Curt that she vowed never to see another Walton man go off to war so she would not be going with the family to the bus stop.

At the bus stop Curt says his goodbyes. The bus unloads and GW is on board!! Erin uses the John-Boy’s old car to drive him to his house. His parents didn’t know he was coming home on leave as he wanted to surprise them. On the drive Erin and GW talk about the beauty around them and talk about writing and sending letters and how GW is glad to be away from Camp Lee. When they get to his parents house he hugs and talks to his parents and then spends some time with his animals getting reacquainted with the farm.

At the Willard house Mary Ellen talks to John Curtis about the war and how they are going to be okay. Mama and daddy come in and say that they are bringing Mary Ellen and John Curtis “home” until Curt comes back. This makes Mary Ellen very happy.

At the Dew Drop Inn Cissy and Yancy discuss their engagement and how it’s been on and off for a while. G.W. and another service man come in and sit with Yancy and Horace. The radio announces that German U-boats are winning the Atlantic and that the 1000 year isolation of Iceland is over. Yancy decides to sign up for the army and officially marry Cissy as well. He wants to immediately drive to Rockfish but Cissy wants to be married in the Baptist church.

The next morning Yancy is passed out in his bed with a hangover. Ben arrives to congratulate him and agrees to watch his animals while he is away in service but Yancy wants to pack them all up and take them to the Walton’s house.

In the Walton’s kitchen Olivia teaches Elizabeth how to change the baby’s diaper and Mary Ellen comes in with a letter from Curt.

Ben and Yancy show up with the animals which John is against but he is unable to turn Yancy and the animals away and allows them to stay in the barn with Chance.

Daddy and Grandpa go to the wedding leaving Olivia and Mary Ellen to stay at the house with the baby. G.W. walks Erin to the wedding and Cora Beth sings before the service. Hank Buchanan officiates the wedding, Ben stands up as the best man and Thelma as the maid of honor.

G.W. and Erin walk the land that his parents gave him. They talk about his return to Camp Lee. G.W. doesn’t believe in war but wants to do what’s right because he loves his county.

Erin and her Mama talk in the girls’ room. Erin feels that G.W. signed up because of her. Jim Bob impatiently waits for Erin in the car. He plans on driving Erin and G.W. to the bus “so they can talk”.

Ben wants to see Yancy off as he is going to enlist and convinces his Mama to feed Yancy’s pigs. Elizabeth asks to go as well leaving Mama to feed the pigletts.

G.W. and his parents talk by the horses. He was 9 years old when they first gave him the horse he was saying goodbye to. He tells his parents he will be home on his next furlough.

During the drive instead of letting Erin and G.W. talk Jim Bob tries to talk to GW about the planes. G.W. answer is always the same that “men in the service aren’t supposed to talk about such things”.

Yancy’s friends hold a parade to march Yancy to the bus stop in Rockfish. He is going to Richmond to enlist and swigs back some of Horace’s hooch for courage. he says its 84 miles away. The crowd sings “Till We Meet Again” while waiting for the bus. The crowd walks to the back of the bus still waving and talking to Yancy who hangs out the back window while G.W. and Erin say their goodbyes. G.W. tells her that he loves her.

Yancy sleeps on the bus while G.W. writes a letter to Erin. At Drucilla’s pond Erin writes a letter to GW. Jim Bob arrives to tell her it’s time for dinner. He is still frustrated that G.W. would not talk about the planes he sees at Camp Lee.

Ben begins the chores of feeding Yancy’s pets while Grandpa and Daddy remind him of all the different animals needs. Mary Ellen prepares to visit Curt leaving her Mama to take care of John Curtis. Elizabeth wonders if the army breaks promises because Curt has not been able to come home on weekends.

Olivia and John have John Curtis in their bedroom and mention how it’s been a long time since they have had a baby in their room.

The bus arrives in Rockfish as John is loading up the truck with feed. Yancy is back already and wants John to get him out of town before anyone else sees him. Yancy got turned down because he was 4F, over the age of 32 and has flat feet. John promises to keep the reasons to himself as long as Yancy takes back his animals.

Cissy has fixed up Yancy’s house with lots of female touches and the animals are ALL outside. Yancy wants to bring the animals in but Cissy is not having any of it. Yancy insists on bringing in his dog Tiger. She definitely does not want him on the bed. Yancy convinces her to let Tiger sleep under the bed.

Mary Ellen returns home early with tragic news. G.W. was killed in a training accident at Camp Lee. Curt is bringing his body home and needs John to meet him at the train station in Charlottesville with the medical truck. John goes with Curt to tell G.W.’s parents that he has brought their son home.

Curt explains to the Walton family what happened during the training accident. A rabbit startled G.W. while he was throwing a live grenade and he threw it straight up instead of over a fence when it exploded. Curt is worried about the family’s reaction to the details but John explains that there are a lot of impressionable minds and wanted it out in the open. Curt says G.W. was a fine boy. Mary Ellen says she is the one who taught G.W. to dance and that he never got the chance to be a man.

The family prepares to leave for the funeral. Grandpa rides with Jim Bob who is bothered that he called G.W. dumb and can’t take it back, Grandpa says it’s important to tell people what they mean to us to say things and not regret things we have left unsaid. Grandpa says that G.W. knew Jim Bob admired him. As Daddy and Mama prepare to get in the truck Erin runs off and can’t bring herself go to the funeral.

At the funeral, family and friends say good bye to GW. Daddy leaves to go find Erin who is sitting on the land that G.W.’s parents gave him. Daddy reads a letter that G.W. mailed to him to give Erin in case he didn’t return. John reads it to her. G.W. has given his land to Erin.

"That first casualty brought the war home to our mountain. There were to be many more sacrifices during the long war years ahead, but GW Haines was remembered most especially because he was the first from our area to give the fullest measure of his devotion".


  "That first casualty brought the war home to our mountain. There were to be many more sacrifices during the long war years ahead, but G.W. Haines was remembered most especially because he was the first from our area to give the fullest measure of his devotion."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • G.W. stands for George William.
  • His horse's name is Red.

Additional Cast:



Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Lin McCarthy (George Haines), Jean Allison (Louise Haines), David Doremus (G.W. Haines), Robert Donner (Yancy Tucker), Tom Bower (Curtis Willard), Dorothy Shay (Thelma), Cissy Wellman (Sissy), A. Wilford Brimley (Horace), David Dotson (Mickey), Peter Fox (Rev. Hank Buchanan), Art Gilmore (Radio Announcer)

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