(16 November 1972)
Writer: John McGreevey.
Director: Lee Philips.
Waltons Theme: Jerry Goldsmith.
"Usually each family has its own special folk-lore, stories and anecdotes polished smooth with the telling. The setting for most of our legends was Waltons Mountain, but one favored part of our folklore took place far from the mountain when my father had served overseas in what was then called the Great War. To us children my father's stories of the places he'd seen and the men he'd known were endlessly fascinating. And then one day a legend came to visit us".
Mary Ellen announces that a fox has raided the chicken coop. John decides he will hunt the fox with John- Bay and Reckless. Jason thinks he is old enough to go along, desiring "a place of his own". At lunch Grandpa is saying the prayer when John-Boy bursts into the house. A telegram has arrived for his father, and John announces it's from his war buddy Tip Harrison who will be arriving today. Later Olivia finds her husband trying on his old World War I uniform She hopes to learn more about her husband during the time he was away. The children anxiously wait for Tip, after hearing adventuresome stories from their father about Tip. Soon a grand-looking automobile drives up. John introduces his friend to the family, whereupon Tip presents chocolates to the children and champaign to the adults. It is obvious that Tip is a very humorous man who loves to reminisce about his war years. When John-Boy takes his luggage out of the m, he notices the car is registered under the name ‘Harold T. Harrison’ and the luggage is tagged similarly.
Later on the front porch Tip relates war stories in France to the children as he and John-Boy plays checkers. Inside John tells Olivia that Tip doesn't seem to have changed a bit since the war. Tip tells John-Boy that he is involved in investments, but is very vague as to the specifics. On the verge of losing the checkers game, Tip accidentally tips over the board, but John-Boy isn't sure it was an accident That night as Olivia ushers the children up to bed, John and Tip are left alone. As usual Tip steers the conversation toward the war and the annual Legion convention. In bed John and Olivia talk about Tip's carefree life, comparing it to John's family responsibilities. John-Boy removes a few things from his bedroom so Tip can sleep there. Tip relates scary sounding hunting stories to John-Boy, not really allowing John-Boy to respond to his talk Later, as the family sleeps Tip is alone in his room; silent as he smokes and drinks.
In the morning John-Boy tends to a trash fire, but Jason asks to take over after watching his father and older brother hundreds of times. Tip emerges from the house and observes John hard at work Declaring that its time to leave John convinces him to stay for lunch. As John and John-Boy deliver a lumber order, Tip walks past Jason and Reckless tending the fire. As John and John-Boy take a break from the order, John- Boy wonders how he could tell such happy tales of a war where in the Battle of Argonne over forty thousand men died. John says he hopes his son will never experience what he experienced in the war.
Jason has finished watching the burnt out fire when Tip walks by, throwing away his finished, but still burning cigarette into the grasses. Jason asks his mother for more tasks to perform, but soon a fire is seen coming from near where the original fire was just put out. John and John-Boy return home in time to put out the fire with help from the older members of the family. Jason can't understand how the fire ignited again, and tells his father that he is sorry. Tip knows he actually started the fire, but allows the young boy to take the blame. Later, John-Boy asks Jason how sparks from the original fire could blow against the wind to start the new fire. They watch as Tip lights another cigarette, throwing the match onto the grass.
Soon the chickens are heard cackling as a fox snatches another children. John, Tip, John-Boy, and Reckless chase after the fox. Unable to keep up with the other two, Tip wanders by himself, drinking from his flask. He hears a noise from the bush and fires in the direction. Unfortunately, Tip finds that he has shot the Walton's dog. When John-Boy asks his father who is ‘Harold Harrison’, he is told that the man is Tip's younger brother. John-Boy wonders why his brother's name appears on the cm and luggage, He tells his father that Tip appears to be still reliving the war. John-Boy realizes his father has gotten on with his life, making a good life for his family. Tip leaves the injured dog and rejoins the men without telling them what happened
Tip departs with the children crowding around the car. Grandpa and Grandma privately discuss that he can afford an expensive car because he doesn’t have to take care of a family. After Tip leaves John and John-Boy drive off to purchase heavy wire to repair the chicken coop. On the road they find Tip stopped besides the road He confesses that he shot Reckless and started the fire. John doesn't understand why he didn't come to him before. After becoming upset John tells Tip to get on with his life and gives him the advice, "Everyday is a new thing; a chance to start again. Hey, son, give life a chance." John and John-Boy pick up guns at the house and, with help from Grandpa, Jason, and Ben, search for the injured dog. With darkness upon them, John decides they should return home without Reckless. Jason decides to play his harmonica as he makes one final search. He finds Reckless, after the dog responds to the music. In the living room, the children crowded around the bandaged dog as John tells the family that Tip started the fire. Jason tells his father that he already knew it. Johns says, "the boy would have spoken up, but the man didn't."
In the bedroom John puts away his uniform, ready to get back to his life with his wife and family. John- Boy writes in his journal about two types of legend, each quite different from the other: “The gallant gesture made in the face of great danger, the flamboyant exploit that shocks and delights, these are the usual materials for building a legend. But as I was growing up I was privileged to watch the day-by-day growth of another kind of legend, fashioned out of long years of bone-tiring work, good humor in the face of daily hardship, and unfailing patience, understanding, and love. The quiet legend of John Walton—my father.”
"The gallant gesture made in the face of great danger, the flamboyant exploit that shocks and delights, these are the usual materials for building a legend, but as I was growing up I was privileged to watch the day by day growth of another kind of legend, fashioned out of long years of bone-tiring work, good humor in the face of daily hardship, and unfailing patience, understanding and love, the quiet legend of John Walton, my father".
Elizabeth: As I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Mama, what is my soul?
Olivia: It's your spirit, darling.
Elizabeth: Well that explains something.
Olivia: What's that, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: I always wondered what the Lord wanted with a piece of my shoe!
Olivia (laughing): Goodnight, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Goodnight, Mama.
According to the registration papers inside Tip's car, the setting is the year 1933.
Jason is fifteen years old.
Harold T. Harrison, Tip's younger brother, lives at 432 North Maple, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
John was a corporal in World War I and served in France. Tip nicknamed John ‘Corporal Cootiebait’. John and Tip call WWI “The Great War". To learn more about WWI, go to http://users.tibus.com/the-great-war/.
Argonne is an area in northeast France where John and Tip served during WWI. To learn more about the Battle of Argonne go to http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/bigshow.htm.
Theodore ‘Tip’ Roosevelt Harrison (James Antonio).
(synopsis written by William Atkins and edited by Arthur Dungate)