The Waltons: Season 5, Episode 19

The Hero (3 Feb. 1977)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Family | Romance
8.0
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The Waltons find out Sheriff Ep is a decorated war hero and John-Boy wants to write about it. Ep wants to keep it quiet. Also, an old friend of Ep's comes to visit. Jim-Boy likes to talk to her about cars and war.

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Title: The Hero (03 Feb 1977)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
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Esther Walton (credit only)
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Mary Ellen Walton (as Judy Norton-Taylor)
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Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
Eric Scott ...
David W. Harper ...
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Earl Hamner Jr. ...
Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lynn Carlin ...
John Crawford ...
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Storyline

The Waltons find out Sheriff Ep is a decorated war hero and John-Boy wants to write about it. Ep wants to keep it quiet. Also, an old friend of Ep's comes to visit. Jim-Boy likes to talk to her about cars and war.

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Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

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Release Date:

3 February 1977 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a scene at the cemetery, there is a cross for someone named "Earl Hamner", which is probably in memory of the author's father. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [narration as John 'John Boy' Walton, Jr. reading from his journal] It had been my grandmother's idea to bring out the first commemorative issue of The Blue Ridge Chronicle, but she was still in the hospital, and the job of organising the event came to rest on my shoulders. If I had expected wholehearted support from the community and my family, how wrong I was!
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Soundtracks

There's a Long, Long Trail
Lyrics by Stoddard King
Music by Zo Elliott
Performed by Jon Walmsley
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User Reviews

 
One of the series best dramatic episodes
12 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Just watched this episode which aired on UP on Veterans Day, a coincidence as it was in sequence of what they'd been showing, but it was most appropriate for Nov. 11.

The community was preparing an "Honor Day" to honor all the local men who had returned from WW I. John Boy asked Sheriff Ep Bridges about what he did in the war and was rebuffed as Ep said it was his business, not John Boy's.

John Boy and Olivia drive to Richmond to examine records. As they find an article detailing the wartime heroics of Marmaduke Ephraim Bridges, the woman who had given them the big books to look through gave a curious look, as though she recognized the name, or something.

A bit later, that same woman is underneath her car trying to fix it, as Jim Bob comes by on Blue. He cannot get it started but leads her home to get some tools. He is fascinated to learn she can fix cars and drove an ambulance in the Great War. It turns out she did recognize Ep's name because she had been his nurse for a time in the war.

Ben comes up with a wonderful memorial honoring his late Uncle Ben, who is buried in France, somewhere, along with other Jefferson County men who did not make it home.

Jim Bob is really taken with the woman, Sarah, who came to visit because she and Ep had become somewhat close 19 years earlier.

The Honor Day goes off nicely and we get a hint that Ep might find time to visit Sarah the next time he goes to Richmond.

In the middle was a powerful dramatic scene as Ep explains to John Boy why he never wants to talk about the war. He didn't feel he should be honored for killing people. He described how it was when he was killing Germans in battle in a very moving way.

John Crawford, who played Ep, never sparkled more than in this episode. We could really understand why a soldier wouldn't want to talk about what he did in the war. Even though it was uncomfortable for him to open up, he later said it was good to talk about it. He was also glad because John Boy's quest for information led to Ep getting to see Sarah again, renewing an acquaintance with some happy memories for the widower sheriff.

There was sort of an inside joke, I guess. In one scene where people are walking by grave markers, something that probably wasn't visible on a regular-sized TV in 1977, are names on the markers: Earl Hamner, Harry Harris (not the director of this episode, but a series regular director), and two other directors of this series.

There was one inconsistency regarding dates and ages of people in the show. John Boy says he remembered his Daddy coming home (presumably in 1918) and that he was only about "4 years old." That would make him born in 1914, which would not fit in with the other story lines where he graduated high school in 1934.

I know the most memorable episodes of any drama are when big things happen to cast regulars--weddings, someone moving away, getting a job, etc. None of that happened in this episode. I gave it a 10 just for how well-done it was at presenting how people feel in remembering wars, and for the realistic ways other things were handled here.


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