The Waltons (1971–1981)
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The Literary Man 

A writer comes to Walton's Mountain and impresses John-Boy with his tales of literary connections and accomplishments.



(created by) (as Earl Hamner),

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Episode credited cast:
John-Boy Walton
John Walton, Sr.
Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
Mary Ellen Walton
Jason Walton
Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
Ben Walton
Jim-Bob Walton (as David Harper)
Elizabeth Walton
Ike Godsey
The Narrator (voice) (as Earl Hamner)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sheriff Ep Bridges


When John Boy meets a writer passing through Walton's Mountain, he impulsively asks him to come home to meet his family. Staying a few days and helping in the mill for his room and board, the writer fills John Boy's head with tales of travels and stories about famous authors he has known. When John Boy's interest in these tales causes him to shirk his duties at the mill, he begins to question whether he should abandon his own writing aspirations and concentrate on his duty to his family. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance




Release Date:

30 November 1972 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The writer quotes from a poem when he spots the abandoned house. The poem was "The House with Nobody in It" by Joyce Kilmer. See more »


In his closing narration for this episode, the adult John-Boy says, "We never saw nor heard from A.J. Covington again." But three seasons later, in the Season 4 episode "The Abdication," the Covington character did return -- although played by a different actor. (He was played by David Huddleston in this episode, and by George Dzundza in the later one.) See more »


Olivia Walton: [Jim Bob says he doesn't feel well] His forehead feels clammy. I wonder what it is.
'Grandma' Esther Walton: Well, it's too late for spring fever and too early for summer doldrums. I'll brew him some tea.
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User Reviews

Better Then the Last
27 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

The episode aired on November 30th 1972 with the words. Growing up on Waltons Mountain in those, Depression years when times were lean and money was scarce I learned early that hard work was a central fact of life and a key to survival. I wasn't afraid of work but, above everything else, I wanted to be a writer. Gripping a book, reading and re-reading the wonderfully colored sentences... this was as close as I could get to another writer; until, one afternoon, I met someone who showed me the way I must take to be a literary man. A stranger, A.J. Covington, who plays Good Samaritan when John-Boy's truck breaks down, says he is a writer. He entertains John-Boy with his tales of adventure and the famous authors he has known. His advice to the fledgling writer, John-Boy Walton, is to try to write about what he knows: his life, his family, and his friends. Fortunately, A.J. Covington is on hand when Jim Bob develops a severe stomachache. Covington suggests that it is likely to be ************and realizes that Jim Bob needs to go urgently to the ******** to have his ******** removed. Can John and Olivia afford what Jim Bob needs? Will this writer make John Boy forget about being a writer and concentrating on his family instead? The episode was better then the last one and I give the episode 7 weasel stars.

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