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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Episode credited cast:
Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
The Narrator (voice) (as Earl Hamner)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Amelia Claybourne


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 <>

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Drama | Family | Romance




Release Date:

4 October 1973 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ben is shown selling the Saturday Evening Post. The magazine he pulls from his bag is the March 12, 1938, issue, published about four years after the action of Season 2 episodes. See more »


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

Getting Better
23 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

TITLE: THE THEFT Original Airdate: October 4, 1973 Writer: Robert Malcolm Young Director: Harry Harris

PROLOGUE: "Looking back across the span of 40 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."

SYNOPSIS: John Walton has been doing some handy work at the Claybourne's. They are a well-to-do family but maybe not is all that it appears to be since the father of the family has passed away. John is concerned about whether they have enough to get by. He has 11 unpaid customers in the past month, Stuart Claybourne had only paid him a dollar for a day's work, and the Walton's truck has paper-thin tires that won't last. John admits to John-Boy that this is the hardest patch of financial trouble that the family has gone through. John returns to the Claybourne's to finish the repair on their fridge. Mrs. Claybourne requests that he join her for coffee in her drawing room. When they are done, she leaves John unattended in the room with all her fine silverware. Later Mrs. Claybourne and Dewey, her servant search for her missing silver goblets. She believes that John was the only one who had the opportunity to take the items and she asks her son Stuart Lee to call the Sheriff. Meanwhile John has made his way to Charlottesville to buy some new tires for his truck. He also buys Olivia some new material for her to make a new dress. She asks him where he got the money but John is unwilling to answer. Sheriff Bridges visits the Walton's to question John's whereabouts after he left the Claybourne's. John refuses to answer then he lashes out at John-Boy for not obeying his word. Olivia thinks that maybe John was off playing poker and that is where the money came from. The children on the other hand have allowed the issue to affect their feelings as well. At the dinner table, John inquires why the family is so quiet and Mary Ellen tells him that John-Boy was in a fight at school trying to protect their father's good name. John tries to apologize and reason with John-Boy but he is mad that his father won't concede to the same rules that he expects from his family. Later that evening John tells Olivia that he is not ready to explain his actions just yet. John then runs into Dodge Evanhauer and Sheriff Ep Bridges at Ike's store. He tries to collect money that Dodge owes for firewood, which results in a heated exchange. The Sheriff then gets a phone call confirming that John was in Charlottesville after being at the Claybourne's but John still won't account for his actions. John-Boy and Ben devise a plan to gather some information about the Claybourne's. Ben knocks on their door to offer a magazine subscription but in reality, he is looking for signs that may reveal the truth about the situation. He notices that their shoes are all worn out. John-Boy then begins to look into the Claybournes and begins to figure that not all is as it

QUESTIONS: who confronted Stuart Lee? Who was Stuart Lee? Why did Mrs. Claybourne go to the Waltons house? What did John confess to Oliva?

EPILOGUE: "The Depression lingered on, and there were other bad spells, but we lived through them too. However, as each year ended it was difficult to recall the hard times we'd come through. Looking back, I realize now that the real bounty placed before us each day was the love we had for each other. It shaped our lives, fed our souls, and crowned our happiness."

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