Ep.14 - The Rumor

  Original Airdate: January 5, 1978
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Ralph Waite


  Flossie Brimmer's brother-in-law and his family arrive on Walton's Mountain and cause suspicion among the locals due to their strong German accent.


  "In memory now I think to that time in 1940 when the war was in Europe, wide miles across the Atlantic from the Blue Ridge. A time when its treachery rarely reached as far as Walton's Mountain. Still, the seeds of distrust and suspicion were everywhere. They were there for my sister Elizabeth when she began to keep a journal, such as I had done as a boy. Her imagination, always vivid, had been joined by a genuine gift for exaggeration. So when the rumor began, Elizabeth was among those who passed it along, bigger than when she had received it."


Written by Janet Lange

Jim-Bob, Ben and Daddy are in the boy’s room working on the short wave radio. In John-Boy’s room Elizabeth sits at the desk writing like John-Boy used to do. Jim-Bob and Daddy wonder where the German they hear over the short wave is coming from.

In the living room Erin and Mary Ellen listen to music and dance. The boys and Daddy come down and say that they can’t really hear the conversation but only a few words on the short wave. The radio interrupts the music reporting that German forces have invaded the skies over Denmark and Norway. Mary Ellen leaves the room with the baby just as someone knocks on the door. Daddy answers it and Willie Brimmer introduces his family and says they are looking for Flossie’s house. Jim-Bob goes with Daddy to show them the way. Elizabeth is confused why they talk “funny” and Ben tells her it’s a German accent.

A dog comes in to the Godsey’s store. Ike pets him and is happy to see him. Cora Beth is not happy that a dog is in the store and tells Ike to make it leave.

Daddy and Mama talk in their room about Willie and Marta Katrina, Flossie’s brother-in-law, wife and daughter. Mama is uneasy about the German and Daddy tells her he hopes Elizabeth doesn’t start talking about it because she will run with it.

In the girls room Erin wants to go to sleep but Elizabeth wants to write in her journal and is letting her imagination take over.

Cora Beth fusses with Ike about the store and is upset that the dog is back. Willie comes in and introduces himself. He helps Ike move the pickle barrel. Ike suggests that Willie look for work at John’s house because there is nowhere else really to find jobs around. Buck Vernon comes in and doesn’t give Willie the time of day once he hears him talking. Willie leaves and Buck starts trying to get information and is upset about Willie and his accent.

Grandpa and Daddy talk in the mill about chairs that the boys did not do correctly. Willie comes up looking for work. Daddy agrees to let Willie work and shows him around, John suggests the old Montgomery place for them to stay.

Elizabeth and Katrina play and talk in the tree house. Katrina tells Elizabeth about herself and they discover the dog, Grandpa says that it’s Samuel, Judge Frazier’s old dog, who had passed away, the girls give Samuel some water and food.

Sheriff Bridges is just getting ready to leave the Barber shop after getting a shave when Buck comes in starting trouble about Willie and is very upset that “their kind is moving in” the sheriff is not worried about it at all and Buck gets upset that he is being ignored.

Jim-Bob eats lunch with Willie and says he picked up some German words on his radio. They talk about how nice it is there, and how in Germantown, Pennsylvania the people won’t talk to them and they treat them like they are strangers. Even their friends are turning on Willie’s family even though they are American.

Elizabeth plays with the short wave and Jim-Bob comes in to show it to Willie. They hear the German words and Willie seems to be uneasy about them. They plan on taking the short wave set up higher on the mountain.

Buck comes to talk to John about Willie and how much he does not like him at all. Elizabeth reveals that Willie is helping Jim-Bob with his short wave radio.

Elizabeth and Katrina try to get old Samuel to eat but he’s not interested and grandpa tells them it will be okay. Sam runs off to play with Reckless.

Willie and Jim-Bob climb to the top of the mountain with the radio. Willie is very short of breath from the climb but is very happy with the location of the cabin and thinks they will be happy here.

At the store, Buck and Ike disagree about Willie’s intentions on the mountain. Elizabeth is also in the store. Ike tries to calm Buck down and doesn’t want to have this conversation now. Willie’s package from Germantown, Pennsylvania arrives and Buck becomes even more suspicious.

In John-Boy’s old room Elizabeth writes and reads. Mama comes in and talks to her about the things that Buck has been saying and not repeating that word.

Daddy and Mama discuss the problem at the dining room table.

Buck tries to rile up more people in the Rockfish Barber Shop about the German voices on the short wave radio and creates more suspicion.

Elizabeth and Katrina watch the dogs play. Grandpa and Ben come up and pet the dogs. The girls decide to go up to the cabin to see where Katrina will live.

Buck and Cora Beth at the store are talking when Willie comes in looking for his package and Cora Beth can’t seem to find it. Willie calls his doctor and speaks German. He finds out that the package has been sent and should be there. Cora Beth suddenly finds the package and Willie leaves.

At Flossie’s, Willie and Marta are so glad that the medicine to help him breath better has arrived.

Elizabeth and Katrina set off to find Sam even though Grandpa tells them to leave the dog alone. They go off to the cabin and in the process find Sam and take him to the cabin. They lock him in the cabin and grandpa comes up and tells them to let him out so he can go on his way. Grandpa tells the girls that Sam is going off to die in peace and dignity.

On the porch of Ike’s store Buck tries to stir up more people about “the German speaking”. The girls get back to the mill as Buck and his cronies get arrive. Buck gets the group more and more angry. Willie speaks up for himself even though John tells him that he will handle it. Elizabeth defends that she is just a writer. Willie says he speaks in German to his doctor because he is an old man. The men are still worried that Willie might be a spy but John convinces them to leave, taking responsibility for Willie if anything happens.


  "Willie, Marta and Katrina Brimmer were accepted as neighbors and friends in our community. My parents were able to see that Elizabeth faced her blame, and learned from it. And though she set aside her journal for a while, she kept forever her boundless imagination."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • This episode was directed by actor Ralph Waite.
  • The Brimmer family moved to Walton's Mountain from Germantown, Pennsylvania.

Additional Cast:



Guest Stars: Ellen Blake (Marta Brimmer), Matthew Anden (Willie Brimmer), Tasha Lee Zembus (Katrina Brimmer) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), John Crawford (Sheriff Bridges), Hal Bokar (Fisk), Barry Cahill (Buck Vernon), Larry D. Blake (Charley), Chris Anders (German voice), John Heistand (Radio Announcer)

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