Ep.8 - The Whirlwind

  Original Airdate: January 22, 1981
Writer: Claire Whittaker
Director: Nell Cox


  Mary Ellen meets Jonesy, a post war drifter who's car breaks down while travelling the open road. Jason buys and reopens the Dew Drop Inn.


  "As World War Two was gradually consigned to the pages of history life on Walton's Mountain began returning to normal. Store shelves bulged with food and other goods that had been scarce during the fighting. And families were reunited as the young men headed home. But peace didn't necessarily mean an end to turbulence, life would always somehow manage to keep us off balance."



Jim-Bob is hitching a ride home from the air base and is picked up by Arlington Wescott Jones the Third otherwise known as “Jonesy”. His breaks give out and he just misses hitting Mary Ellen and Jason who are coming the other way in the Woody Wagon. Jason recognizes that Jim-Bob was in the car and the chase after the out of control car. They find it flipped over where it had gone off the road at a tight turn. Jim-Bob is okay but Jonesy is banged up a bit but smiles when he sees Mary Ellen looking over him before he passes out.

Mary Ellen dresses his wounds at the kitchen table. He says that he was sold a lemon in San Francisco which has had a number of parts fail since he hit the road. Rose asks what he is doing now that the war is over. He says that he is doing it. Travelling America, eating and sleeping where is wants. Seeing pretty women. Ben comes in and offers Jonesy a place to stay in the Mill and meals with the family in exchange for some labor. Jim-Bob goes off to look at the condition of the car. Mary Ellen insists that Jonesy get some rest before being too adventurous. He steals a kiss while she checks his pulse on the couch. John Curtis sees them which freaks Jonesy out thinking that he has accidentally kissed a married woman.

Jason decides to buy the Dew Drop Inn which has sat vacant for some time. Corabeth thought he wanted to turn it into a Concert Hall but he just hopes to play his typical tunes for the drinking customers.

Elizabeth and Cindy make a cot for Jonesy in the Mill office. He learns from the sisters that Mary Ellen’s husband Curt was killed at Pearl Habour 4 years earlier.

Late that evening Jonesy finds Mary Ellen staring out at the stars during a break from her studying chemistry to become a Doctor. He tells her of the legend of Andromeda as the constellation disappears on the horizon. He makes his excuses and leaves before the urge to kiss her again strikes.

The next morning at breakfast Jason comes down with a sign he made announcing the reopening of the Dew Drop Inn. He asks Corabeth if she will let him hang it in the store but she doesn’t want any part in promoting a common highway hangout. Ike shows up with Jason’s paint supplies and then places his sign in the store window.

Jonesy invites John Curtis and Mary Ellen on a picnic. Jonesy studied chemistry in college before the war. He knows all about the soapstone that is abundant in the area. She gets up and looks after John Curtis. He asks why she is leaving and she states that she has to leave before she gets the urge to kiss him.

Jason works on fixing up the bar. Ike drops some more paint by and suggests that he hire some help to speed up the work but he can’t afford to pay someone $0.75 per hour.

That night Mary Ellen walks out to the Mill looking for a goodnight kiss from Jonesy.

The next morning Jim-Bob tells Jonesy that he got his car working. Jonesy is excited to hit the open road again but now Mary Ellen is hurt that he will leave her. She storms upstairs and locks the bedroom door. He climbs up on the roof and knocks on the bedroom window until she lets him in. He convinces her to join him on his travels and she agrees to marry him.

A woman arrives at the store looking for Mary Ellen Willard. At home Mary Ellen tells Erin of their plans to go to Mexico for the winter and they will visit Mama and Daddy on the way through Arizona.

That evening the family has a drink to celebrate the engagement. They decide to shift things over to the Dew Drop Inn for some dancing but they find Jason drunk in despair when he is overwhelmed by the amount of work still to be done to fix up the roadhouse. His family pitches in to get the place ready in time. Back at home just as Cindy and Mary Ellen are about to leave the woman arrives and asks Mary Ellen if she knows the man in a photo she hands her. She informs Mary Ellen that Curt is still alive living in Florida. He now uses the name Curtis Packer. He has been guiding tourists through the area. She says that he gets moody sometimes. He was drunk one night and planned to mail a letter to Mary Ellen but never sent it. Since then he has avoided seeing the woman. She is obviously in love with him. Mary Ellen won’t accept that it is the Curt she knew because he would be there with her if he was still alive.

Ike invites Corabeth to the opening of the Dew Drop Inn. She want nothing to do with it but he convinces her to join him and protect him from the evils of the place.

At Jason’s roadhouse everything starts off great until the power blows. Jason gets everyone to push back their tables and dance by candle light while Rose pumps the player piano.

Mary Ellen decides that she needs to go to Florida and find out about Curt for herself. Jonesy can’t wait as he still needs to answer what lies ahead for him down the road.


  "Mary Ellen thought that saying goodbye to Jonesy was the hardest thing she had ever done. But what lay ahead of her was to be even more difficult. The war was officially over but she had a private battle still to face."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • This marks the first appearance of Arlington "Jonesy" Wescott Jones III. He will eventually become Mary Ellen's 2nd husband in "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion".
  • This storyline continues in the next episode.
  • Jonesy makes reference to a piece of soapstone he finds while on a picnic with Mary Ellen. Show creator Earl Hamner's father works at the local soapstone quarry down the road from their house in Virginia.

Additional Cast:



Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Leslie Winston (Cindy), Peggy Rea (Rose), Michael and Marshall Reed (John Curtis), Richard Gilliland (Jonesy), Pamela McMyler (Betty), Debbie Richmond (Waitress)

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