Or The Graduate Redux. Jim-Bob delivers mail to a new neighbor, Betsy Randolph, whose husband is an air force pilot away at war. He starts to get a crush on this “older woman,” and it sets the town’s tongues wagging. John cautions the boy to be careful, but a heedless Jim-Bob gets his heart broken anyway. Wishing to patch things up, Betsy arranges for her lovestruck admirer to fly a plane, with the help of an old aviation buddy, and the two begin a platonic friendship together – something Betsy needs when she gets a telegram that her husband has died in combat. Subplot: Serene needs witnesses as she earns her girl scout badges, and an assistant for her 10-mile hike, whom she chooses as John. When he is delayed, she impatiently takes the hike herself.
Jim-Bob’s crush, Betsy Randolph as played by Patsy Rahn, is a complete knockout – and looks nothing like a 1940s woman. Tanned, fit, with long styled hair and wearing as many midriff-baring outfits as The Waltons would allow, she could’ve stepped off the set of Charlie’s Angels. Which isn’t to say she’s not easy on the eyes. Put it this way: there’s no suspension of disbelief regarding Jim-Bob’s crush on her. But too bad their dialogue together sounds like the intro to every porn film from the 70s and 80s!