Episode 15 - The Elopement

(13 January 1977)
Writer: Hindi Brooks.
Director: Harry Harris.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"Of all the people who's lives touched ours on Waltons Mountain, my sister Erin remembers most vividly a young forestry student who visited us briefly in the summer of 1936. He was her first love. In the spring of 1937 with the blossoming of the dogwood, Chad Marshall returned".


Chad Marshall returns to Walton’s Mountain after quitting college. Chad and Erin had fallen in love the previous summer but the romance ended with heartbreak for Erin because she was too young a girl for Chad. After learning more in a week while exploring Walton’s Mountain than he had learned in a year at college, Chad buys the old Fairchild Place with plans to settle there, build a log cabin, and marry Erin.


Ike and Corabeth are taking Aimee to visit relatives at Doe Hill. Ike asks John-Boy to take care of the store while they are gone. John-Boy is too busy but suggests Jason can handle the job. Although Ike is hesitant at first about letting an inexperienced Jason run the store, John-Boy reassures Ike that he will periodically check in on Jason. When Ike shows Jason around the store he specifically tells him that transactions are only “cash-and-carry” with “no credit to strangers”.


One of Jason’s first customers is Maude Gormley who buys ten packs of flower seeds, small cans of red, yellow, blue, and orange paint, and five cents of soft cherry and orange candies. When Jason informs her that the bill comes to two dollars eighty cents, Maude says to put it on her charge account. She hurriedly leaves to catch a ride home with Abel Bingley, the iceman. While John-Boy later buys sixty cents of gasoline, Jason asks him if it was okay for him to give credit to Maude. John-Boy believes it is okay because Maude has been like a grandma to Ike.


Maude returns to the store and buys additional flower seeds and cans of paint, along with coffee and oatmeal. When Ike later calls the store, Jason learns that under no circumstances should he give Maude credit. Ike knows Maude squanders the money she receives from her son Leonard and already owes the store twenty dollars. Jason relates to John-Boy what Ike told him and John-Boy agrees to confront Maude. At her house, John-Boy explains that if the seven dollars and seventy cents she charged while Jason was operating the store is not in Ike’s cash register before he returns, Jason will have to replace the money himself. Maude knows Jason and John-Boy do not have that kind of money and knows she does not have enough money until her son’s monthly check comes in. Maude decides to show John-Boy her bird paintings because she thinks they might bring in some money after remembering a salesman bought one for two dollars. John-Boy thinks the paintings are “absolutely beautiful” and suggests she display them at the store. When Ike returns he notices the paintings and cannot understand why anyone would buy one of them. Jason explains that a book salesman just bought two of them for five dollars apiece.


Chad and Erin move rocks that will be used as the foundation of his new house. Later that night, they dance to romantic music on the radio while Elizabeth sleepily looks on from her hiding place. The next morning, Grandpa stumble into Chad and Erin running out of Ike’s store to drive to a picnic. The two laughingly argue about whether to put up curtains or place shutters on the house windows when Chad suddenly proposes to Erin. She says yes. They wait for John to return to the house before telling Olivia and John their decision. Upon returning, John will not allow Erin to marry until she finishes high school.


The next day, Chad and Erin decide to elope that evening while everyone sleeps. They drive to Reverend Caldwell’s house, the Methodist minister, hoping he will marry them. He realizes that if the pair had their parents’ permission they would not have arrived at this late hour and would be asking the family’s Baptist minister, not him. After Chad and Erin leave, Reverend Caldwell rushes to the Walton’s to inform Olivia and John what just happened. John and Olivia think they have gone to the Justice of the Peace in Rockfish so travel there as fast as they can.


Erin and Chad have indeed traveled to the home of Justice of the Peace Andrew Farrell. During the civil ceremony, Erin observes Mr. Farrell is mumbling and yawning and Mrs. Farrell is wearing hair curlers. Even though she knew this wedding would not be as beautiful as Mary Ellen’s wedding, she cannot finish the ceremony, telling Chad that the ceremony was “ugly”. While Chad comforts Erin, Olivia and John arrive to find their daughter still unmarried.


"Erin came home and finished high school and spent most of her free time helping Chad build his cabin. And a fine cabin it was, built with careful loving hands and sitting proud on the land with the front porch facing the mountain".


Jim Bob: Jason ran the store a whole week and he never even gave us a handout.
Jason: It was Ike's store, not mine.
Jim Bob: And he wouldn't even give us a jelly-bean.
Elizabeth: If I had a store I'd let all my friends have everything free.
Ben: Sure and you'd be out of business in a week!
Elizabeth: That's why I'd do it. I'd hate to run a store.
Jim Bob: You're crazy Elizabeth.
John: Close up the store and go to sleep!
Olivia: Goodnight everyone!



Chad Marshall is introduced in the previous season of The Waltons in the episode “The Competition”.

Chad’s car license plates are 25-3604.

Chad went to college at VPI.

Chad put twenty dollars down for the purchase of the old Fairchild place and is paying the Virginia State Bank two dollars a month in order to pay off the balance.

Chad is originally from Richmond, Virginia where his father works at the Telegram Company and his mother is a teacher.

The key to Ike’s store is under the coffee grinder and the combination to the safe is “five”.

Maude Gormley does not like licorice because they “make my teeth black; no man is going to look at a woman with black teeth”.


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Chad Marshall (Michael O’Keefe); Reverend Caldwell (Vernon Weddle); Andrew Farrell (David Hooks); Mrs. Farrell (Ruth Manning); Abel Bingley (David Clarke); Radio Announcer (Hank Stohl).