Ep.20 - The Heartbreaker

  Original Airdate: February 17, 1977
Writer: Seth Freeman
Director: Ralph Waite


  Jason falls in love with Curt's restless sister who has left her husband in search of a bigger and more exciting life.

John-Boy publishes a story from his novel in his newspaper that upsets his grandfather.


  "On Walton's Mountain the marriage vows once pledged usually remained in force until the contract was ended by the death of one of the partners. Divorce was a taboo word spoken in whispers. And then one day a young woman who had left her husband appeared on the mountain with serious consequences for my brother, Jason."



Mary Ellen, Curt, Erin, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth wait at the bus station for the arrival of Venessa, Curt’s little sister. She has left her husband Taylor behind in the little grey town they lived in.

Jason drops off some garden greens at Mary Ellen’s for his Mama and meets Vanessa. She was playing her guitar and she tells him that she has ambitions of becoming a singer. She is impressed when she learns that he plays music at the Dew Drop Inn.

Vanessa meets Jason at the Dew Drop Inn. They begin to get to know each other. He takes her to his favorite spot on Drucilla’s Pond to practice his music. They share their first kiss. He begins to teach her the words to “I’ll Fly Away” and before too long they sing the duet to Thelma at the Dew Drop and she invites Vanessa to perform with Jason on the weekends.

Grandpa is going through his seed collection for spring planting. Elizabeth joins him and asks why Vanessa is happy even though she has left her husband. Grandpa thinks that maybe she isn’t so happy on the inside.

Curt warns Vanessa to be careful with her intentions towards Jason. Olivia warns Jason

Country Joe Martin and his manager burst in during their performance but once things settle down he coaxes Jason and Vanessa to finish their song. He invites them to sit down and join them. She is impressed that Country Joe is headed to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry.

Jason stops by the next day to practice music with Vanessa. Curt tells him that she isn’t there. He also warns him that despite his love for his sister he also knows that she is restless and full of discontent. Jason says that her loves her spirit and her desire to make something of herself. He also admits that he is in love with her.

He meets Vanessa later on the road after she returns from shopping in town. He is upset that she didn’t respect their appointment. She lashes back that she doesn’t belong to him. He helps deliver copies of John-Boy’s paper in Charlottesville and sees Vanessa as she goes into the local hotel with Country Joe Martin.

Vanessa meets Jason to apologize and tells him that she is leaving to go sing with Country Joe in Nashville.

Secondary Story:


Ben convinces John-Boy to publishes excerpts from his novel in his newspaper to boost readership.

Grandpa is excited to read the story that John-Boy has published about him in his paper. He is confused by the use of the word “vulpine”. He looks up the word in the dictionary and learns that it means deceitful. He becomes immediately insulted that his own Grandson would publish such a thing in his paper for everyone to read. He confronts John-Boy but learns that it also means cunning and foxy. John-Boy’s intention was to suggest how intelligent Grandpa is at outsmarting others. Grandpa accepts John-Boy’s explanation and finishes reading the story.


  "At 20, it's hard to believe that time heals most pain, even that of a badly wounded heart. But time did work its wonders and as each day passed the hurt in Jason's eyes showed less and less, until finally it wasn't there at all."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Another episode directed by actor Ralph Waite

Additional Cast:



Guest Star: Linda Purl (Vanessa) with: Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Victor Arnold (Country Joe Martin), Dorothy Shay (Thelma), J.S. Johnson (Lou Rhymer), Tom Bower (Curtis Willard), A. Wilford Brimley (Horace), Paul Weaver (J.D. Waters)


Music from this episode:

Jason plays "Ironing Board Blues" at the 'Dew Drop'
Jason teaches Vanessa to sing "I'll Fly Away"
Jason sings "Vanessa's Song" to Vanessa
Vanessa sings "Vanessa's Song" at 'The Dew Drop Inn'
Jason sings "Foolish Questions"



Promotional Stills


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