Ep.11 - The Job

  Original Airdate: November 21, 1974
Writer: Nigel McKeand
Director: Ivan Dixon


  "As a family living on Walton's Mountain during the '30s we were largely self-sufficient and had little dependence on cash money. Still, as I ventured out into the larger world, I realised that making ends meet was going to be a far greater problem than I had anticipated. I set about looking for a part-time job, one which would pay me an adequate wage, and at the same time, not interfere too much with my studies."



John-Boy arrives at the home of Ruth Thomas to apply for a part time job to read stories a few times a week to her. She is blind and resentful of her mother who had placed the ad hoping to raise her daughter's spirits. Her mother tells John-Boy that Ruth has scared away 2 other potential candidates. Assessing the situation he says that he will need to think about whether he will accept the job or not.



Back at home John-Boy sees the children up some antics in the yard. Mary Ellen is practising proper bandaging for Junior First Aid Assistant badge. She had bandaged Jim-Bob and Reckless for multiple pretend injuries. Later at diner John-Boy discusses the details of the potential job and Ruth's situation with his family. Mary Ellen is quite affected by the thought of being blind. She drops a pie when trying to manage while being blind folded and later she listens with her eyes closed to the sounds of nature while sitting by a brook. She is upset that John-Boy has not yet taken the job. She tells him that she learned to love reading books because of his love for them. He taught her that the whole world can be found in books and she's learned that they help to make her feel less lonely. She believes that Ruth must be the loneliest person in the world. John-Boy decides to take the job.


Mrs. Thomas tells John-Boy that Ruth had a case of scarlet fever 4 years prior that left her blind. She was quite active and lively and a freshman at Boatwright herself prior to losing her sight and since her father who was her biggest supporter had passed away, Ruth has withdrawn further and further. When Ruth arrives in the room she is as defiant as ever. John-Boy picks the poem "The Lady of Shalott" by Tennyson to read to her. Later he reads to her "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde which he is studying in college. John-Boy invites Ruth to go outside for go for a walk. She protests saying she doesn't want to draw attention to herself. Later he offers for her to come meet his family but she says that she doesn't want their pity When John-Boy gives Ruth a smooth yet textured stone that Mary Ellen had picked out for her by the brook she takes offence saying that it is an appropriate gift for someone who is stone-blind. John-Boy has had enough of her negative behaviour and gives her a piece of his mind before storming out.


Ruth reconsiders her situation and sends word to John-Boy that he she will arrive the next day at noon for a visit. The family has prepared a picnic and they spend the afternoon at Drucilla's Pond. After they eat John-Boy offers to walk Ruth back along the brook. Elizabeth asks to join them. When John-Boy leaves the two on the bridge while he returns for Ruth's sweater Elizabeth decides to balance on the top rail but falls into the reeds along the water's edge. She yells for help and tries herself to find Elizabeth. John and John-Boy run to their rescue. As soon as John-Boy helps Ruth out of the pond she staggers off in a fit of fear and frustration. He rushes to her side and talks her down from withdrawing back into her closed world.



  "The doctor said Elizabeth had nothing more serious than a bump on the head, and a bruised knee. Ruth returned to Westham, but she didn't remain hidden away as she had before. After some training at an institute for the blind she returned to Boatwright University, was graduated, and eventually became a social welfare worker for the State of Virginia."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • According to John-Boy Walton's Mountain consists of a Baptist Church, Methodist Church and Ike Godsey's store.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Elaine Heilveil (Ruth Thomas), Peggy McCay (Mrs. Thomas)

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