Ep.4 - The Hunt

  Original Airdate: October 5, 1972
Writer: John McGreevey
Director: Robert Butler


  "A mountain has no need for people, but people do need mountains. We go to them for their beauty, for the exhilaration of standing closer to mysterious skies, for the feeling of triumph that comes from having labored to reach a summit, and I remember a day in the 1930s when I went to Waltons Mountain in search of manhood."




John-Boy feels that it is time to help his father with the hunting to put food on the table but he is unsure whether he is capable of taking an animal's life. John tells hime that a bear has been causing trouble on the mountain and John is concerned that it may come around their home.

Later that night the children all end up in John-Boy's bedroom while he is trying to write down his thoughts about the big hunt. He chases them out when after their presence becomes a nuisance.

The next morning John, John-Boy, Charlie Sneed and Hawthorne Dooley head up the mountain to hunt for wild turkey. They stop and rest at the remains of John-Boy's Great-great-grandfather's cabin (Rome Walton).

  Reckless the dog has broke loose from his lesh at home and follows the men up the mountain. John-Boy twists his ankle but continues on the hunt. When he is given the first shot at a turkey John-Boy can't pull the trigger. John does his best to explain to him the mystery of life and why there is a time and need to take the life of an animal. John-Boy decides to return home but finds signs of the injured bear when he stops to rest his ankle.

John finds Reckless who has become injured by the bear and then realizes that the bear has come between him and his gun. John-Boy follows the trail of blood just in time to find his dad being attacked by the bear. In the moment of truth John-Boy learns when the right moment is to take an animal's life.

Secondary Story:

  Mary Ellen is saving up for a baseball glove to play catch with G.W. Haines but is upset to discover that Martha Rose has G.W. wrapped around her finger. Martha Rose has her eye on a new dress and G.W. has his eye on her. Mary Ellen solicits the help of the children in collecting scrap metal to sell to Jake the junk man. Mary Ellen decides to use her money for a new dress instead of the mitt but discovers that it is not right for her. She returns it for the ball mitt and finds that G.W. is more than happy to spend time with her playing catch.


  "I became not a hunter but a writer and I hope a source of some pride to my father. For to be a good hunter or a good writer one must know why he hunts or why he writes. And the "why-of-it-all" for me lies in that house and in the memory of voices that rise in the night and will sweetly haunt my life forever."

Episode Notes and Interesting Facts:

  • This is the first and last time we see the characters Charile Snead and Hawthorne Dooley which were established in The Homecoming. Since this was the first episode filmed in the series it is logical that the characters are continued into what may have been the first story of the series. Although we do see Hawthorne Dooley again in "The Fire" (s1-ep16) it seems evident that the decision was made to eliminate these characters from future storylines.
  • Charlie Sneed gave John-Boy the nickname "Sprocket" when he was a baby.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Tom Peters (Charlie Sneed), Theodore Wilson (Hawthorne Dooley) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), James Nusser (Jake the Junkman), Cindy Eilbacher (Martha Rose Coverdale), David Doremus (G.W. Haines)

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