Ep.23 - The Woman

  Original Airdate: February 27, 1975
Writer: Hindi Brooks
Director: Harvey S. Laidman


  "It was hard to think of my mother and father's marriage in terms of years. As far as we children were concerned, they'd always been married. But of course there had been a beginning to their union, and when their 20th anniversary was approaching, we decided to help them celebrate it in a very special way."


  The children are thinking of a gift to give their parents for their 20th wedding anniversary. They decide to do a painting of their home depicted like a dollhouse with all the members of the family painted in various rooms of the home.

Olivia tells john that she wants to say her vows again. She wants a proper wedding, something to remember since they eloped for their first wedding.


At college, Professor Parks has been assigned by the President to start a new Literary Magazine and is unable to tend to a visiting poet Miss Madeline Bennett. John-Boy is elected to be her chaperone during her stay. He meets her at the train station, takes her to the hotel and tours her around Westham including the library to see her book of poetry on the shelf that he has taken out 3 times to read. He then takes her to the lecture at the college.

Reverend Fordwich stops by the home to go over the details of the service. John overhears that Olivia would like a brand new dress from a shop instead of fixing up her old wedding dress or making one. She in fact doubts John’s interest in having the service but he believes that marriage is a very private thing between the two of them and that he took his initial vows with her very seriously. She asks if he will say that at their ceremony.

John-Boy and Madeline enjoy a picnic in a quiet spot beside a country road. The growing romantic tension between the two of them bursts when she leans in and they passionately kiss.

Later the children wake up their Grandparents and secretly ask them to paint their own portraits into the painting that they are making.

John goes into town to buy Liv a dress for the wedding. While at the dress shop he sees John-Boy and Madeline on the street. Despite his embarrassment John-Boy introduces Madeline to his father. She helps convince John that he has picked the right dress and John in return detects the budding romance between the two. In a private moment John-Boy tell Madeline that he has never been in love like this before. Later that evening John-Boy and Madeline attend dinner at Professor Parks house. When John-Boy walks her back to her hotel room they share a passionate kiss at her door.

Olivia is frustrated with the dresses in her closet. John chooses that moment to give his wedding present to her. She is overwhelmed by the dress and she in turn gives him a memory sweater made up from scraps of sweaters that she had knit for all the children.

John-Boy is distraught that Madeline is returning to New York. He believes that she enjoys it in the quaint small town but she needs the excitement of the city to stay relevant as a writer and a person. He decides that he will move to New York to be with her. But first he must return home to attend his parents ceremony. He asks her to wait for him at the station for the 9pm train.

At home he can't function. He still needs to paint his portrait into the painting that the children have made. He writes a letter to his father explaining that he is leaving home to be with Madeline. The ceremony takes place with Olivia in her new green dress and John wearing his memory sweater. After the ceremony John-Boy quietly slips away but not before his father catches up with him outside at he is about to leave. They share no words, he knowingly lets his son slip off into the night. Upon seeing Madeline waiting for him at the train station he sets his suitcase down on the platform. He is not yet ready to leave his family behind. The two share one final kiss. No words are shared, none are needed. She watches him from her seat as the train pulls out of the station. It is obvious that she felt as deeply in love with him as he did for her.



"Madeline and I were to correspond, and we were to see each other again. In the meantime I remained on Walton's Mountain, continuing that life which prepared me finally for a place in the larger world."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Kathy Cronkite who plays fellow blond haired college student Sally Barstow is actually the daughter of infamous news anchor Walter Cronkite.
  • The ceremony sequence on the DVD release suffers from poor picture quality most likely from a damaged print.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Laura Campbell (Madeline Bennett) with: Paul Jenkins (Professor Parks), Sally Kemp (Mrs. Parks), Julie Rogers (Gloria Webb), Kathy Cronkite (Sally Barstow), Gloria Stuart (Saleswoman), Ernie Brown (Railroad conductor), Jeffre Winner (Bellhop), John Ritter (Reverend Fordwick)


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