Episode 7 - The Lost Sheep

(1 November 1979)
Writer: E.F.Wallengren.
Director: Walter Alzman.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"The Second World War changed for ever the course of our country and its people. Some of those changes were immediately clear, others gradually seeped into our lives and left lasting, sometimes painful impressions. The whole world was in a great hurry and its frantic pace was most often reflected in the young men returning from battle".


Ashley Longworth, Jr. unexpectedly calls for Erin early before anyone is awake. Erin leaves with him, as Serena and Elizabeth wish dreamboats would take them away. When Erin and Ashley kiss Elizabeth compares the scene to one in a Van Johnson movie. Down the road Ashley stops the car to pull out a wedding ring in order to ask Erin to marry him. She says, 'Yes.' Later Erin suggests that Ashley stay at the Baldwin house while the sisters are visiting in Richmond. Inside the house Erin quickly suggests a breakfast of eggs after Ashley becomes a little too romantic.


Over breakfast Serena and Elizabeth admit that Ashley took Erin away. Rose tells them that 'you two kids should be ashamed' but Elizabeth declares she is not a kid and runs from the table with Serena tagging behind. John and Olivia rush to the Baldwin house to find that Ashley and Erin are to be married this Saturday. When John becomes angry Olivia promises to talk with him and invites Ashley for supper.


At Ike's store, Corabeth carefully dusts each can of produce much to Ike's chagrin. Elizabeth walks in hoping for a long-awaited letter from Aimee. With Serena still following behind Corabeth finds what happened to Erin during the night. Elizabeth is frustrated with Serena constantly at her side.


Olivia tells Rose that she would like to lock Erin in her bedroom until the marriage, especially after remembering back how she and John felt before they eloped. While walking to the supper table, Ashley tells the boys that he served on an aircraft carrier before going to the Solomon Islands. Sitting down for supper, John asks Ashley to say the blessing. But Ashley hesitates, and then abruptly leaves the table. Erin follows him outside where he admits that he does not believe there is a God. Upon saying he does not want a church wedding or even one performed by a minister, Erin wonders what has changed him.


Erin observes Rose making measurements to her wedding dress, the gown Grandma wore when she married Zeb. In the meantime, Olivia visits Rev. Bradshaw in order to plan the ceremony. Erin visits Ashley at the Baldwin's where she presents him the pocket-watch that Grandpa left her. He suggests they use the Baldwin house for the wedding but Erin admits her mother expects a church wedding. Later, Olivia agrees to Erin's request to marry at the Baldwin house, but when she hears that Ashley is an atheist becomes very concerned. Knowing how difficult it was at the start of her marriage Olivia tells Erin that she may be forced to bring up her children in a godless house. Olivia asks Erin not to rush into this marriage but Erin vows the wedding will occur. Olivia then confronts Ashley about his loss of faith saying she does not approve of the marriage. Erin and Ashley leave but little time passes before Erin asks him if they are rushing. When she suggests that they wait because he has changed, Ashley suddenly cancels the wedding. Erin runs back into the house yelling to her mother, 'The wedding is off. I hope you are satisfied!'


Ben and Jason are about to walk into the Dew Drop Inn when they run into Ashley and Erma Jean Small. Jason says that it was good Erin found out about the type of man he is before the marriage. Back home the boys tell Erin what just happened. Erin runs upstairs to be alone but ends up fighting with Elizabeth. Serena enters to find the sisters fighting. She announces she will sleep in her Grandmother's room tonight, obviously upset with Elizabeth. Erin leaves to confront Ashley as he and Erma Jean sit at the Baldwin's piano. She throws down her engagement ring and tells Erma Jean she can have him. At the same time, Elizabeth tells Serena she always wanted a little sister but still needs time to be alone.


Cindy walks into Ike's store to pick up groceries. Corabeth attempts to pry information out of Cindy about Ashley and Erin. Cindy politely says nothing as she pays one dollar ten cents for the order. Corabeth decides to check on the Baldwin's rose bushes. Ike says John is taking good care of the house, but she can visit to spy on Ashley. Corabeth knocks on the Baldwin's front door early enough to waken Ashley. When Corabeth admits she is concerned with the state of his and Erin's relationship, Ashley says he wronged Erin over a married woman. When he further says the woman is her, Corabeth runs out appalled at his behavior.


Erin decides to burn Ashley's love letters. Olivia tells her about the time an old boyfriend moved to Richmond. They wrote everyday until he suddenly quit corresponding. He later sent a last letter telling her he is married. Erin cries on her mother's shoulder as Olivia tells her burning letters will not remove Ashley from her heart.


Ike and Corabeth tell John and Erin that Ashley has destroyed the house with beer bottles and cigarettes and even accosted her. When John and Erin reach the house, Erin tells Ashley that she believes he does not care about anybody, not even himself, Ashley admits that when he had to kill another man during fighting, something died within him. John says he cannot blame God for what happened. Having killed men in war, John admits trying to give more back to life and though he doesn't understand, does believe that God is Love. Ashley listens and, as John leaves, is comforted by Erin. Later, Ashley returns to the war with romance between him and Erin still a possibility.


"Ashley Longworth Jr was to return many times to Waltons Mountain. As time passed he was able to resolve the terrifying spiritual wound that killing another human being had caused".


Serena: Erin, does Ashley Longworth Junior have a little brother?
Erin: Why?
Serena: Because Elizabeth needs a dreamboat.
Elizabeth: Goodnight Serena.
Serena: Besides, she's following me around everywhere. If she had a dreamboat she'd follow him.
All the girls: Goodnight, Serena.
Serena: Goodnight, lonely hearts...



Olivia mentions an old boyfriend, Delbert Wall, whose family moved to Richmond.

Information about movie actor Van Johnson appears at: http://www.classicmovies.org/articles/aa082601a.htm


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards); Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston); Rose Burton (Peggy Rea), Serena Burton (Martha Nix), Jeffrey Burton (Keith Mitchell), Ashley Longworth, Jr. (Jonathan Frakes), Erma Jean Small (Elise Caitlin).