Ep.7 - The Sinner

  Original Airdate: October 26, 1972
Writer: John Furie Jr.
Director: Philip Leacock


  "I remember a day in hot summer back during the Depression when we all wished Waltons Mountain was a mile higher so its cool shade would reach us sooner. Growing up in those long-gone days I took for granted the discomfort of a hot summer, but as a novice writer I took it as my duty to question other things, like sin, and what made a sinner. Trouble was no one seemed to agree."


  The family awaits as a new Reverend, Matthew Fordwich is expected to arrive as a guest on Walton's Mountain. The children become restless waiting in their best clothes in the afternoon heat. John comes in from working in the mill and asks who's ready for a swim. This action begins a clash of values between Olivia and John. Much to Olivia's embarrassment the preacher and his tight-laced escort Miss Prissom arrive as the children and John are horsing around the yard in their swimsuits. Meanwhile John-Boy struggles with idea of sin and how little he knows about it. Matthew is quite young to be a preacher. He admits to being nearly 21 to John-Boy and resorts to cold showers and calisthenics to rid himself of impure thoughts.

  Matthews inexperience and focused schooling prevents him from seeing the effects of his heavy handed messages. John suggests to Matthew that he tone down his message a bit. John feels that he is a well intentioned kid who is not seasoned yet. Yancy Tucker who has been keeping his distance from the new guest shows up drunk late one night and accidentally sets the Walton's barn on fire. The family works together to put it out.

The community sets up a large tent in front of the Godsey Mercantile for the service. Matthew's mother asks him to invite the Baldwin ladies to the Revival meeting. Despite John-Boy and Grandpa's effort to keep Matthew away from the Baldwin's hospitality he is offered their recipe and winds up drunk. As a result Miss Prissom cancels his opportunity to work as a missionary in Asia. Matthew is in despair as he has thrown away 5 years of study. Despite his normal reservations about attending a church service John decides the right thing is to bring the preacher to the service and let him preach. Matthew asks the congregation for forgiveness and Grandpa leads them into a chorus of “Just As I Am” and the crowd gathers around the pulpit to welcome him to the community


  "The memory of those days is with me still. It makes me laugh sometimes to think how innocent a boy I was, sometimes cruel, and pompous, and sometimes loving and wise like my parents. And remembering those long-gone days I'm grateful they were mine."

Episode Notes and Interesting Facts:

  • This marks the first appearance of Reverend Matthew Fordwick and Yancy Tucker.
  • John Ritter who plays Rev. Fordwick is the son of the singing cowboy Tex Ritter, who starred in many westerns.
  • This is the first that Jason plays the piano.

Additional Cast:


John Ritter (Matthew Fordwick), Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Robert Donner (Yancy Tucker), Collin Wilcox Horne (Miss Prissom)


Music from this episode:

  Jason plays "Camptown Races" on the piano but when Grandma gives him a disapproving look he switches to "The Old Rugged Cross"
  Grandpa and Rev. Forwich sing "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" on the way back from drinking the "recipe" at the Baldwins
  Grandpa leads the congregation in "Just As I Am"

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