It’s tough times for the Waltons, and John has started doing local repair work to make ends meet. After finishing a job for some affluent neighbors, the Claybournes, he is blamed for the disappearance of two of their silver goblets, and because he won’t clear his name by revealing where he went after he left the home, suspicions, and family tensions, mount. Doing some detective work, John-Boy and Ben discover that the Claybournes may not be as wealthy and they let on, leading Mrs. Claybourne’s son to confess that he hocked the goblets, hoping to keep his mother believing that the family fortune is still intact. John clears the air by confessing to Olivia that he had sold his wedding ring for money to get new tires for the car.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, or so that’s what everyone thinks about John Walton, the epitome of nobility! We all know the truth, but partially because we’re tipped off, too early I think, that he is going to sell his ring. Without knowing this, we might be inclined to believe the worst about our beloved patriarch! Another good confrontation scene between John and John Boy comes about midway through the episode.
Good supporting players here: Diana Webster as the icy and unapologetic (even though she apologizes) Mrs. Claybourne, and Dennis Dugan as her earnest but misguided son, Stuart Lee. You may know Dugan as an extremely prolific film and TV actor and director. I best remember him in an episode of M*A*S*H as Colonel Potter’s son-in-law who confesses to him his infidelities. (Perhaps there’s a required confession scene in his contracts.)