Ep.14 - The Obstacle

  Original Airdate: January 11, 1979
Writer: Curtis Dwight
Director: William Bushnell Jr.



John-Boy's old college friend Mike Paxton has lost the use of his legs after suffering an injuring while serving with the Merchant Marines. He is convinced to come stay with the Waltons for awhile while he reintegrates back into a regular routine.

Ben and Ike form a musical act to entertain the troops for the USO.

Intro scene:


Mary Ellen has tough words for John-Boy’s old college friend Mike Paxton in the Garden Shed. She says that he needs to stop wallowing in his condition and face life.


  "In the Spring of 1942 the war that engulfed the world beyond Walton's Mountain touched our family in many ways. It was a time of farewells and reunions, shortages and news of battles and places with exotic names like Bataan, Corregidor, Wade Island and Midway. It was a time when my family was to come face to face with the cruelty of war as well as the courage it inspired to overcome its aftermath. It was also a time when Americans everywhere united to contribute to the war effort in any way they could."



Mary Ellen and Erin arrive back from Ike’s store with groceries. Ike, Ben and Jason can be heard from outside performing the song “All I Do is Dream of You”. Ike and Ben have decided to create a singing act to entertain the troops and are practicing to audition for the USO. Ike says that he has show biz in his blood, his Grandfather was Snake-oil Johnny McMann and his Mom was in the act as well. Mary Ellen goes through the mail and sees a letter from John-Boy. Olivia reads it for the family at dinner. John-Boy asks if the family can look in on Mike Paxton who has been injured while serving for the Merchant Marines and is recuperating at the Navel Hospital near Richmond.

Mary Ellen goes to visit Mike at the hospital. She runs in to J.D. Pickett outside the hospital who visits weekly to brings cigarettes, books and visit with the service men. Mike has been in therapy for the past 6 months but doesn’t want to leave the hospital. He mother has died and his father is serving on a destroyer in the South Pacific. Mike doesn’t want to be on exhibition and seen in public in his wheelchair. Mary Ellen suggests that he come stay with her family on the mountain.

Jason practices on the piano and his mother thinks it sounds too modern for his conservatory studies. He says that his professor wants to try and get him into a band unit with the army after graduation. He would also help with the medical unit carrying stretchers etc. His mother is relieved that he will get to use his talent like John-Boy and not have to serve on the front lines.

The family is excited to greet Mike when Mary Ellen brings him unannounced back to the mountain. Mary Ellen brings out his wheelchair. He is embarrassed to be seen with it. Mary Ellen lets him adjust to environment and get some rest before fully facing the family.

Mary Ellen informs her mother and grandmother that Mike took some shrapnel in his lumbar region which has made it impossible for hm to walk again.

Mike chooses to hide in the shed and even refuses food.

Elizabeth and Erin pay him a visit in the shed and she says that the defense department has been trying to get the defense plants to hire handicapped workers. She thinks he should apply for a job with J.D. Pickett.

The boys work on a ramp for Mike to use to navigate up to the porch of the house.

Jim-Bob takes his car horn to Mike to use when he needs help from the family. John and Olivia come in the shed just as Jim-Bob asks how he was wounded. Mike tells them how he was on a freighter on route to a base in Iceland when a German sub hit them with torpedoes. He thought his legs were numb from being tossed into the freezing water but he would later learn that was not the case.

The next day Mary Ellen invites Mike to come to the house for breakfast. He reluctantly leaves the shed to discover a wooden boardwalk and a ramp from the shed to the house. He navigates the easier path but then turns back into the shed. The boys watch from a hiding spot and are confused why Mike has retreated to the shed. He comes back out honking the car horn, not because he wants help but because he want an audience and to thank the family for their efforts.

Mike is then put to work helping around the house and the mill. While fixing the ironing board for Olivia she learns that there was once a special girl in his life but he feels he is not the same man she once loved. He says he can’t give her a child but Olivia says that he can give himself and that might be all she wants.

Mike gives John Curtis a ride in his wheel chair. At dinner Erin says that there is a supervisor position in the shipping department and that Mike should apply.

At Godsey Hall Mike and a few members of the Walton family watch as Ike and Ben sing their latest song. Corabeth announces “Godsey and Walton’s” performance of “In the Mood”. Mike leaves upset by the sight of seeing Ike and Ben dancing with their own legs. He goes outside and Erin follows after him. She tries to console him and reaches out and touches his shoulder. He is surprised that she isn’t afraid to touch him. He agrees to go back inside and finish watching the performance.

Jason and Erin take Mike to Pickett Metal Products to apply for the supervisor position. J.D. Pickett says that he won’t consider hiring Mike unless he can drive and walk up the steps of the plant on his own.

Some officers from the USO come to see Ike and Ben perform their number as a potential act to entertain the troops. When Ike peeks between the curtains to get a view of the judges he panics. Mike steps in and gives Ike a pep talk to calm his nerves. Ben and Ike perform their number to enthusiastic applause.

Erin visits mike that evening in the shed and learns that he is writing to the old sweetheart.

The next day Mary Ellen helps Mike to walk with crutches and navigate stairs. Jim-Bob shows Mike how he has converted his car with hand controls so that Mike can drive the car to Picket’s plant and prove he is capable of being employed. Mike practices his new mobility skills and then drives over to J.D. Pickett’s and walks up the stairs without his wheelchair. J.D. is resistant to hire an “invalid” but concedes in the end.


  "Mike Paxton and thousands of other handicapped Americans proved their skill and reliability in defense industries throughout the nation during those war years. For my family the reunion of Mike was an inspiration in a time of doubt and fear. For 'Godsey & Walton' it was the first of many appearances at hospitals, camp shows and war bond rallies until Ben eventually went into the service."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:


Additional Cast:



Guest Stars: Dennis Redfield (Mike Paxton) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Michael and Marshall Reed (John Curtis) Special guest: Ellen Corby (Grandma)


Did you know:

Eric Scott and Joe Conley recorded a music album together
in 1979 and took a song and dance act on the road. They sang popular songs from the 1930's through to the 1970'. Joe sang the older songs and Eric sang the newer era songs.

Ike Godsey and Ben Walton ISO Musical Act - Actors Joe Conley and Eric Scott Joe Conley & Eric Scott Album

Listen to Joe Conley and Eric Scott's album


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