The Waltons (1971–1981)

TV Series  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance
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The life and trials of a 1930s and 1940s Virginia mountain family through financial depression and World War II.


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Title: The Waltons (1971–1981)

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1981   1980   1979   1978   1977   1976   … See all »
Won 3 Golden Globes. Another 18 wins & 57 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
 Jason Walton (213 episodes, 1971-1981)
 Erin Walton (213 episodes, 1971-1981)
Eric Scott ...
 Ben Walton (213 episodes, 1971-1981)
 Mary Ellen Walton (212 episodes, 1971-1981)
David W. Harper ...
 Jim-Bob Walton (212 episodes, 1971-1981)
 Elizabeth Walton (212 episodes, 1971-1981)
Earl Hamner Jr. ...
 Narrator / ... (211 episodes, 1972-1981)
 John Walton, Sr. / ... (196 episodes, 1972-1981)
 Ike Godsey (172 episodes, 1972-1981)
 Olivia Walton (169 episodes, 1972-1979)
 The Grandfather / ... (145 episodes, 1972-1979)
 Esther Walton (144 episodes, 1971-1980)
 John-Boy Walton (124 episodes, 1971-1978)
Ronnie Claire Edwards ...
 Corabeth Walton / ... (107 episodes, 1975-1981)


In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, during the Great Depression, the Walton family makes its small income from its saw mill on Walton's Mountain. The story is told through the eyes of John Boy, who wants to be a novelist, goes to college, and eventually fulfills his dream. The saga follows the family through economic depression, World War II, and through growing up, school, courtship, marriage, employment, birth, aging, illness and death. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 September 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spencer's Mountain  »

Filming Locations:


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Show detailed on  »

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(221 episodes)

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Did You Know?


Ike had a cool Harley with a sidecar. As postmaster he would have been provided this as a means to deliver parcels between the " post mid ". If the nearest posts were 10 mi and 7mi Ike had to deliver 5mi toward one and 3.5mito the other. He would be a sworn agent of the gov't, issued an ID and badge , pistol, shotgun , rifle, ammunition and a bi- monthly stipend( approx 10$ per day in the time period of the show.Although he was proprietor of a mercantile, his store would have been considered General since you could post and parcel there Prior to having a telephone he would need to visit the nearest telegraph office 3 times a week for "rural pick up". Living on site was required , making his store with a"Post" a "corner' meaning any delivery agent could feed and water himself and his team or his "dob" as needed at no cost. In some areas postmen still refer to mail trucks as "dobs" and gas stations as corners. The gov't had responsibility for the installation of his phone or "drop" and a postal inspector would check weekly to insure that it was in good working order and he would work closely with the local operator to make sure long distance patches made from his drop we're accounted and billed out properly .Ike was the defacto civil air patrol officer for his area and needed to work closely with the local law enforcement and National Guard. Cities and towns would grow around the "post " and to this day there postal locations that predate the founding of the USA. See more »


The family got a phone during the later episodes but subsequent to that, they still seemed to be getting their phone messages through storekeeper and manager, Ike Godsey. See more »


John Walton, Sr.: Good night, John Boy.
John 'John Boy' Walton Jr.: Good night, everyone.
See more »


Spoofed in Scary Movie (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Wonderful, nostalgic series of family warmth and closeness
15 June 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a delightful series with wholesome values that my own family often watched together during my son's earlier growing up years. It chronicles the ongoing story of a Depression Era family living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia...often seen though the eyes of the oldest son John Boy, a budding author, who relates his family's experiences in a journal. The series follows the Walton family through both the Depression and World War II. It also portrays the career paths, courtships, & marriages of many of the children, the births of new grandchildren, and the illnesses, aging, & deaths of some of the characters.

The mother, Olivia, is a devout Baptist who must deal with an extended stay in hospital as she suffers from tuberculosis. The father, John, though perhaps a little lapsed in his own faith, runs a saw mill and is a hard working man of integrity. The couple have seven children. John Boy eventually goes off to Richmond for college, Boatwright University, and later embarks upon a journalistic career in New York. Mary Ellen, a feisty tomboy, grows up to become a nurse and marries a doctor, Curtis Willard, sent to Pearl Harbour just prior to the Japanese attack. Jason is the family's budding musician, sometimes providing lively entertainment at the local Dew Drop Inn. Ben marries at a young age the pretty Cindy, and the two are set up with charming little accommodations adjacent to the main Walton house. Erin, the pretty one with her various beaux, is employed at the local telephone switchboard and later by G.W. Haines. Jim Bob is a mechanical tinkerer, and Elizabeth the rather spoiled and generally irritating baby of the family.

Also living under the same roof are John's parents, the devilish but wise old Grandpa Zebulun and the strict & proper but feisty Grandma Esther. Years ago, it became a family chuckle that if Grandma Walton wouldn't have approved of the language, then it just wasn't acceptable! The banter between these grandparents is absolutely precious. I liked the multi generational aspects of the program with eventually four generations of Waltons. An ongoing storyline involved the stroke suffered by Grandma (and actress Ellen Corby), which restricted her movement and left her with a severe speech impediment. Also, actor Will Greer passed away, so the family was forced to grieve the loss of Grandpa.

The likable country store keeper, Ike Godsey, and his prim & snooty wife, Corabeth, appear regularly on the show. Other local characters are featured, including Yancy Tucker and a succession of various parsons (one was portrayed by actor John Ritter). Of course my favourites are the charming, elderly Baldwin sisters with their legendary Recipe inherited from their dearly departed father! Olivia and Grandma were strongly opposed to alcohol, but Grandpa would sometimes stop by at the Baldwins for a wee nip of the Recipe, actually moonshine whiskey. Some episodes also featured interactions with 'outsiders', including circus acrobats and gypsies.

Most of the individual episodes are quite engaging, and the family's interactions even during conflict show an underlying warmth. Their famous extended calls of Good Night are of course legendary! Many plot lines revolve around their various financial struggles to live a decent life during the Great Depression. The marital relationship between John & Olivia is well captured, as well as the siblings' interactions and their relationship with their parents & grandparents.

Sadly, I am not surprised that this heartwarming series is receiving a few disparaging reviews these days. Perhaps life wasn't all rosy and moral back in the 1930's with issues of poverty, racism and so forth. However, its values were generally preferable to the decaying ones of today, where materialism reigns supreme, parents & offspring alike feel entitled to their self absorbed attitude, rudeness is the norm in human interactions, the nuclear family and moral absolutes are becoming obsolete, and faith is mocked everywhere. This series represents the very antithesis of all such modern views, but thankfully, the vast majority of reviewers here still seem to appreciate it. Yes, better the Waltons than the Simpsons. My son is now a college sophomore, but admits to looking back fondly upon the series.

Indeed, these Walton characters are almost like family members in many homes, including my own. My compliments to actors Ralph Waite (John), Michael Learned (Olivia), Richard Thomas (John Boy), and all the others who brought them so vividly to life. Yes, the series can be sappy at times and may not always be realistic, but it is really not overly sentimental as some claim. Rather it is a depiction of the way we should ALL treat each other and the love, closeness, concern, warmth, and often unselfish giving that should be found in ALL our homes. Pity there aren't more TV programs nowadays that give us something worthy to aspire to.

50 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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