The Waltons: Season 2, Episode 4

The Theft (4 Oct. 1973)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 34 users  
Reviews: 2 user

The disappearance of some valuable silver pieces throws suspicion on one of the Waltons.



(created by) (as Earl Hamner) , (as Robert Malcolm Young)
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Title: The Theft (04 Oct 1973)

The Theft (04 Oct 1973) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Episode credited cast:
Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
Eric Scott ...
David W. Harper ...
Earl Hamner Jr. ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Janit Baldwin ...
Amelia Claybourne
John Crawford ...


After doing some repairs at a neighbor's home, John is accused of stealing and selling some antique silver mugs. The fact that he was able to buy new tires for the truck doesn't make things any better for him. But John's pride is hurt and he is angry that his integrity is questioned, so he refuses to explain how he was able to buy tires when he had no money the day before the robbery. John-Boy and Ben do some sleuthing to clear their father's name. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance




Release Date:

4 October 1973 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Narrator: [narration as John 'John Boy' Walton, Jr. reading from his journal] Looking back across a span of forty years, the sharp edges of the Great Depression have worn away. In memory, the period seems a happy time. Yet, when we lived them, they were trying years and I remember a time when our family's pride and our integrity were challenged in a manner that was new and shattering to all of us.
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User Reviews

The value of trusting people, even when they act suspiciously
20 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In "The Theft" we see John repairing a refrigerator belonging to a wealthy family named Claybourne, which consists of a woman, her adult son and a high-school-aged daughter, who live in a fancy house with pillars, and have a butler/servant. After John spends a lot of time getting the machine repaired, the son, Stuart Lee (never simply called "Stuart") offers to drive him home.

At supper that night, John tells about how Stuart Lee paid him just like his daddy had always done long ago—in a sealed envelope. Only this night, they are disappointed to learn the envelope only contains one dollar.

This is troublesome because John has many customers who are behind in their bills and his truck badly needs new tires. Obviously, if he can't deliver wood in his truck, he's out of business.

A day or two later, after finishing more repair work at the Claybourne house, we see John buying two tires for his truck. When he comes home, he refuses to explain to Livvy where he got the money, but instead gives her a present.

Soon enough, we see the Claybourne matriarch all upset because two valuable Paul Revere goblets are missing. Because nobody who isn't family has been to the house since she last saw them, she reluctantly thinks it must have been John.

The crux of the story is about how the Waltons all were sure that John didn't take any goblets, but couldn't understand why he refused to explain where he went for a few hours that day, or where he got the money for the tires and the gift. We viewers had a good clue, but did not know for sure what happened.

John-Boy in particular is upset at his father for not trusting him enough to let him know, and John gets sore at John-Boy for not letting him decide for himself when the time is right to talk about it.

Everyone is on edge as the accusation of theft causes trouble at home, and for the children at school. It finally gets resolved, partly because of some shrewd observations Ben makes, one of which he credits to remembering a similar observation in a Charlie Chan movie.

I thought all the actions of the characters, including the guest stars seemed logical and understandable. It is easy to see how people can lose faith in someone they trust and it was good to see the way the Walton family reacted when John was at the center of the accusation of being a thief and refused to explain his actions. A good, solid episode, making it an 8 in my book.

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