Ep.19 - The Last Straw

  Original Airdate: February 7, 1980
Writer: William Parker
Director: Harry Harris


  So many things begin going wrong for John in the mill that he actually quits due to all the pressure. Jeffrey builds a go-cart for a school project.


  "As the Second World War raged on in Europe and the Pacific those of us on Walton's Mountain were adjusting to the quickened pace of wartime living. Our family was enjoying a degree of prosperity previously unkown, but our changing fortunes were bringing changing values. And so it was to my father, who's strength had always been an unquestioned source of assurance that the pain of doubt and uncertainty would come."



John is under pressure to deliver a lumber order. He is not getting much help from Easy Jackson who is employed in his mill again. John leaves with the order but on the way he loses control of the failing truck and spills the load of lumber onto the road.

At dinner, John is lost in his thoughts. The family gets a little rowdy and he tells them to settle down. They are concerned that he is not eating much but he says he needs to finish his paperwork and heads out to the shop. Jeffrey says he has his own concerns. He has to build a wood project for school. Jim-Bob suggests he build a soapbox car that he can race and if he wins locally he can go to the championships in Ohio and win money.

Cindy asks Jim-Bob if he can unclog her tub so she can have a bath. He is too occupied helping Jeffrey with the plans for his cart. Mary Ellen takes lunch out to her Daddy in the shop and finds him fighting with J.D. Pickett about his unfinished order.

Easy Jackson comes out of the house eating a sandwich. He offers to help Jeffrey with his plans but realizes that they are tougher than he thought. He heads back to the mill just as John discovers that he hasn’t loaded the truck with the next order for delivery. He loses his cool and orders him to get back to work. Easy backs up the truck but the clutch gives out and he crashes into the mill knocking Jim-Bob unconscious.

Jim-Bob ends up with a concussion and broken arm. John fires Easy after they return from the hospital. Jason and John inspect the damage at the mill. He joined and power saw are broken and will need parts that he won’t be able to find with the war on. He has so many orders though that he he can’t fill them. He goes over to Murdoch Lumber to see if he can borrow some equipment but Joe has none to spare.

Mary Ellen and Serena stop in at Ike’s for groceries. Jeffrey is already there trying to convince Ike to sponsor his soapbox go-cart.

John stops in to see Carl and learns that Matt Sarver has pulled all of his orders and given them to other mill operations until he get his business back in operation.

In the living room the family including Jason, who is on furlough, debate the color that Jeffrey should paint his go-cart. John comes in and announces that he will finish the orders with the saw in the old mill. The boys are skeptical that it can still do the job.

Just as they begin to make headway the motor gives out. In absolute frustration John “quits” and walks away.

Jeffrey works late into the evening on his cart. Jim-Bob comes in to tell him it bedtime but he gives him a hand tightening a bolt before calling it quits.

Mary Ellen finds her Daddy relaxing out on the porch. She learns that he has decided to quit the lumber business.

The next morning John comes down full of energy and cheer with plans to go hunting for rabbit. He takes Jason up on the mountain and stops to take in the beauty that he has had to miss for many years due to all of the work providing for the family. They see a rabbit but instead of taking the shot John chooses to remember the time when he went hunted with John-Boy and was attacked by a bear. John seems a bit lost in the clouds enjoying his new found freedom a little too much.

Rose finds Jeffrey in the barn working on his cart. She gives him a hand putting on one of the wheels.

John and Elizabeth sit at the kitchen table prepping to fishing equipment to catch “Old Joe” the 10’ catfish.

John convinces Ike to join him in a game of pool while Corabeth is away shopping for perfume in Charlottesville. They finish a jar of hidden “recipe” before Corabeth returns to find the store locked up. She orders them out of the store but is upset when Ike doesn’t come home later. Jason finds then coming out of the Dew Drop Inn and Ike is no condition to return back home. Jason marches them down to Drucilla’s Pond to sober them up. When John and Ike show Jason how they marched in the Great War they all end up falling into to the pond. Later as John and Jason try to stay warm my the fireplace John talks to his family about how he’s been acting and says that the time has come for him to get back to work pulling his weight in the mill.

Jeffrey brings the finished go-cart to the store to show Ike but because their won’t be a race due to the war Jeffrey gives the cart to Ike and walks away defeated.

Easy Jackson finds John reattaching the doors to the mill. He offers to work for Rose’s sandwiches until they are back in operation again. J.D. stops by and gives John his first order declaring that he would rather wait then deal with other suppliers.

Ike shows up at the house and tells Jeffrey that he needs to race his go-cart in preparation for a real derby. The family is in on the surprise and already have racing goggles, gloves, scarf and a stop-watch ready for Jeffrey. They all go out to a hill and Jeffrey has a great time testing his go-cart. Back at Ike’s store they celebrate and Ike give him a trophy for the first Walton’s Mountain Soapbox Derby

John comes home with his truck repaired and discovers that Ben has come home from training and that the family and some of John’s friends and work associates have helped to get the mill back in shape. He is very surprised and says that with family and friends like he has he can never give up.


  "Thanks to the efforts of friends and family the mill was soon back in operation. My father, armed with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence continued to serve as a source of strength and assurance in the days to come."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Ben is away training with the Seabees

Additional Cast:



Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Leslie Winston (Cindy), Peggy Rea (Rose Burton), Keith Mitchell (Jeffrey), Martha Nix (Serena), Michael and Marshall Redd (John Curtis), Britt Leach (Easy Jackson), Ted Gehring (Joe Murdock), Lewis Arquette (J.D. Pickett), Bob Hastings (Carl), Victor Izay (Dr. Vance)

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