Olivia is happy to learn that she is pregnant again, but John worries that having another baby will be hard for her.



(created by) (as Earl Hamner),

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Episode credited cast:
John-Boy Walton
Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
Mary Ellen Walton
Jason Walton
Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
Ben Walton
Jim-Bob Walton
The Narrator (voice) (as Earl Hamner)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Merie Earle ...
Maude Gormley (as Marie Earle)
Dr. Matthew Vance
Emily Baldwin


Olivia is happy to learn that she is pregnant again, but John worries that having another baby will be hard for her.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance




Release Date:

31 January 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Narrator: [narration as John 'John Boy' Walton, Jr. reading from his journal] I like to think back on my boyhood because, though the times we lived in were hard, the life we lived was good. We were never hungry for food was plentiful, we took it from the land; but still, there was a lack of material things and I remember with wonderment the way my parents wove a magic around us that kept us from ever feeling poor.
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The Riddle Song
Traditional English Folksong
Portion sung by Michael Learned (as Olivia Walton)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A good dramatic episode on a serious matter
3 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Cradle begins with John-Boy bringing home a heavy box in the truck that Olivia has been waiting for. We learn that she has signed up to sell jars of a bubble bath soap, where she will get 9¢ commission off each of the 25¢ jars she sells. The next day, she gets John-Boy to drive her around.

Her first stop is the Baldwin ladies, and as she starts to offer to show them how well it works, they interrupt, saying "They'll take four jars." A surprised Olivia asks, "Don't you want me to show you (the product)?" "It doesn't matter. We probably don't have any use for it." Olivia is then told that they just want the jars because Ike won't have any new jars for a week and they have a batch of the recipe ready and not enough jars.

She goes around and sells out her entire sales box. But on returning home, she suddenly asks John-Boy to let her out to walk the rest of the way home, claiming she has gained some weight lately and needs more exercise.

We soon learn that she is expecting another baby. We also learn that after Elizabeth was born, they gave away all the baby things, so the children all begin planning a baby shower to re-supply her. John-Boy plans to build a new cradle. There are some very nice family scenes of all the children together. One I particularly liked was at the supper table when Ben and Jim-Bob got into one of those "did-too, did-not" arguments about whether 7 years ago, before Elizabeth was born, he acted like she is now. Olivia, gets up and grabs (gently) his forehead, smiles and says, "Did too." And walks upstairs.

Jim-Bob and Ben go right back to their "did-too, did-not" talk with John sitting there watching, listening and smiling. I imagined him thinking about himself as a kid arguing with his brother.

To me, this scene was really cool because neither parent felt the need to scold them for just talking to each other. The two weren't yelling or hitting or even insulting each other. So both Olivia and John let them continue. It was a great lesson, if you will, about how parents should back off sometimes when their children are having a little disagreement. I hate it when you see parents in a show clamping down on the kids almost as soon as they start such a discussion.

The focus here is clearly on how this large family reacts to the news of another baby in the house. The first reaction is from John, whose face grew from a bit of a grin to a large smile in a couple of seconds when he heard the news. Everyone was excited and happy, except that initially Elizabeth was upset because she would no longer be the baby in the family. She got over it after some consoling from her eldest brother.

If you've never seen later episodes, I will say SPOILER ALERT for what is below. For anyone else, it's not really a spoiler. As we go through the episode, Olivia has a miscarriage. She is most withdrawn until Grandpa gives her a nice talk and she realizes it is time to move on. Other than Olivia, Elizabeth is the one who has a hard time dealing with this loss, as she had gotten quite excited about having a baby sister.

Good dramatic shows don't have to always have a happy ending. In an ongoing series, if every time it seemed something bad might happen, it worked out happily for all, then future dramatic episodes would lose most of their punch—we would know everything works out just fine.

This episode did a very fine job of presenting how this family dealt with the situation and deserves no fewer than 8 stars.

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