Ep.2 - The Calling

  Original Airdate: September 28, 1978
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Gwen Arner



A young woman arrives at the Baldwin home for a retreat from her studies at a convent. Jim-Bob is smitten by her and a romance blossoms. Ben hires a worker in the mill but not all is what it seems.

Intro scene:


Two nuns have arrived at the Godsey store and ask for directions to the Baldwin house. Elizabeth is curious about their appearance. Corabeth Godsey shows her disdain for the catholic nuns and suggests that they are in pursuit of the young lady staying with the Baldwins. Elizabeth leaves to warn Jim-Bob.


  "Our years of containment as a family unit were growing to a close in 1941. Everywhere there was a new mobility. New and different people found their way to Walton's Mountain to touch and shape the lives of our family, bringing customs and beliefs that were foreign to us. One such encounter had a special meaning for my brother, Jim Bob."



Jim-Bob flies a kite in the shape of a tri-plane while Reckless attempts to play with him. A young lady by the name of Mary Francis has arrived at the Baldwin home for a break from her studies and to do some soul searching. As she is about to go inside she a kite in the sky and wishes she were so free but also realizes that it has purpose which she has not yet found. Unfortunately for Jim-Bob, he trips on some rough ground and the kite gets lost in the trees.

Elizabeth and Grandma look at some cotton material in the elder’s bedroom. Jim-Bob walks in and asks his Grandma if she has any silk. She pulls some out of her storage trunk but takes it back when she learns that he wants to use it to make a kite.

The Baldwin sisters arrive at the Walton house and ask Olivia for advise on on how to talk to young 17 year old girls. Olivia tells them what Mary Ellen and Erin were like at that age.

Jim-Bob goes in search of his lost kite and finds Mary Francis stuck up in a tree during her attempt to rescue the kite. He climbs the tree to help get her footing and discovers just how attractive she is. The kite unfortunately doesn’t do as well as Jim-Bob coming down out of the tree.

Olivia stops by the river to collect some ferns and meets Mary Francis who has been sitting on the bank. They reacquaint with each other and the young lady asks Olivia if she prays. What she is really trying to learn about is patience which she lacks.

Jim-Bob comes downstairs with his hair all slicked back and reeking of after shave lotion. He says that he is going to the library but his family believes he has other intentions. He is in fact taking Mary Francis in to Rockfish to the library to read up on kites. On the way they stop at Ike’s for gas. Mary Francis goes inside to inquire for some mail that she is expecting. Corabeth discovers that she is a 2nd cousin of the Baldwins. Her mother was a Baldwin but now goes by the married name of Conover. She is aghast to learn that the young lady is a Catholic and dating Jim-Bob. On the way into town she reads the letter she received from the convent that she attends. It does not contain the news she is hoping for. Mary Francis is hard on herself for a variety of reasons that she believes are short-comings do to the lessons she has been learning to become a nun. She doesn’t believe that she measures up.

At the convent two of the nuns prepare to leave on a trip to Richmond. The lady that is driving plans to take a scenic route through Walton’s Mountain.

The nuns arrive at a point in the road where they can either go directly to Richmond or turn off towards Walton’s Mountain for a more scenic journey. Sister Scholastica who is behind the wheel is more adventurous whereas her passenger Sister Theresa is bothered by change and structure. She has not left the convent in years.

Jim-Bob and Mary Francis fly a new kite that they have built together. Afterwards they talk about their dreams and goals by the river. She questions his dreams about becoming a pilot. She can’t understand how sure he can be about his future.

Corabeth gossips in the store for anyone to listen about the Mary Francis and the Baldwins. She is quite threatened by the young woman’s catholic faith. The two nuns walk into the store and ask for directions to the Baldwin house.

Sister Scholastica talks to Mary Francis outside at the Baldwin residence while the Baldwin sisters offer tea to Sister Theresa inside. She is not comfortable having left the convent and certainly to not stay in a protestant house.

Jim-Bob doesn’t know how to express his feelings to Mary Francis. Both his mother and father give him advice. Mary Francis meets Jim-Bob down by the river. She tells him that she has decided to go back to the convent. She knows what she needs to do with her life in the same way he knows that he wants to become a pilot and fly planes. He had hoped to express his feelings through a letter he has written to her. She accepts it and kisses him before leaving. Sister Scholastica who has watched from nearby approaches Jim-Bob and explains to him the journey that Mary Francis has chosen to become a nun. Jim-Bob finds it difficult to understand and runs off to suffer through his feelings.

Secondary Story:


John notices that Ben was up late and up early the next morning trying to finish an order in the mill. He suggests that Ben hire a worker since Jim-Bob is not interested in working in the mill.

Ben picks up some supplies at Renshaw’s Feed and Supply in Rockfish. A young man by the name of Beau Pauley gives he a hand carrying his load to the truck and asks Ben about the job he is trying to fill. Beau convinces Ben that he is the right man for the job.

At the mill, the new worker seems to be doing a good job but fills his time singing songs to himself. He drinks from a hidden bottle of booze when Ben steps out for a minute.

Olivia finishes the hem on Elizabeth’s new dress. Ben comes down wearing a new hat that he bought in Rockfish. He goes out for a night of drinking with Beau. Despite his new workers good work performance he has a history of letting alcohol affect his job. After a night of drinking at the Dew Drop Inn the men sleep it off on the floor in the mill. Beau gets up in the middle of the night and knocks nails and paint over in the shop in an attempt to find his hidden bottle of booze. John discovers the mess he had made in the morning and tasks Ben with the responsibility of firing Beau for the mess he has made.


  "The pain of that time stayed with Jim Bob longer than any of us would have liked. But as it is with any lost love, a healing of the heart takes place and life becomes a thing of wonder again."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • The Balwin’s house is ¾ of a mile west of the store.
  • Mary Francis Conover and her mother visited the Baldwin residence eight years ago.
  • Mary Francis is now seventeen years old.

Additional Cast:



Guest Stars: Stacey Nelkin (Mary Francis Conover), Jeanette Nolan (Sister Scholastica), Mitzi Hoag (Sister Theresa), Bruce French (Beau Pauley), with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Peter Fox (Hank Buchanan), Michael and Marshall Reed (John-Curtis Willard) Special guest: Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton)


Promotional Stills


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