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The Foundling is the first episode of Season 1 of The Waltons.

Guest Cast

Opening Journal Entry

When I was growing up during the Depression, I lived with my red-headed brothers and sisters, my parents and grandparents, at the foot of a mountain which had been in our family for generations. My father used to say that in our house there was always room for one more and I remember a morning when his hospitality was put to a challenging test.


A woman carrying a large bundle approaches the Walton’s house, she goes to the back door. Reckless barks at her, the women put down the bundle on the cellar door and quietly leaves glancing back to make sure no one sees her.

In the house Olivia Walton has come down to make breakfasts while Esther Walton and Zebulon Walton talk at the table. John Boy comes downstairs rather reluctant to milk the cow. He heads out the back steps where he sees the bundle just a piece of it is back reviling the face of a young girl. John Boy hollers for his mother. Olivia and grandparents come, all wondering how she got there and who put her there. They ask the girl her name but she is unresponsive. John Boy tries to carry her into the house but she bites him, Olivia is able to coax the girl into the house. Olivia and Grandma give the girl a good scrubbing while the children eat their breakfast, they are very curious about the girl. Worried that Walton children may bombard the poor girl, they are sent outside till they have to go to school. Olivia found a ratty note in the girls pocket which just had “Holly” on it. Holly Collier starts eating some biscuits like she hasn’t had food in a long time. John tries to get her to talk but she draws away in fear.

John Walton and Olivia take Holly into town to talk to the police. The sheriff tells them he has never seen her and no one is reported missing. He figures the Walton’s can’t afford another mouth to feed, John agrees with him. The sheriff suggests that he will pick her up the next day and take her to the orphanage. Olivia doesn’t like this, she thinks the girl needs more then food and a bed, she needs love and attention. Olivia doesn’t win but John does agree to spend two dollars and take her to the town doctor. At the doctor they find out that Holly is perfectly health except for one thing, she is deaf. The doctor gives the Walton’s a pamphlet on American sign language, how to sign letters. He tells them to have her take it with her and maybe someone will find a few minutes a day to teach her, he puts the two dollars on the house.

At school during recess, John Boy is reading a poem to a girl, named Marcia Woolery. She doesn’t really seem to interested in it, after a few questions she leaves.

Back at the Walton’s house, Jim-Bob Walton, Jason Walton and Ben Walton are throwing a ball around. Grandpa and Grandma are talking on the steps. Holly is sitting on the cellar doors, Elizabeth Walton asks her if she wants to play, Holly shakes her head, so Elizabeth leaves her doll with her. Olivia and Mary-Ellen Walton and Erin Walton are hanging up laundry they are upset that Holly can’t stay, Olivia tells them they can’t always get what they want. John Boy and John are cutting wood. The sheriff shows up to take Holly, he leads her to the car. The woman who dropped Holly off watches from a safe distanace hidden by some shrubs. The family looking very sad, at the last minute John tells the Sheriff they have decided to keep her at least for a little while, everyone is quite happy about this. The woman in the shrubs is relived to see Holly stay. Later on perhaps the next day, Mary Ellen is sitting on the porch with her mother and grandparents, trying to teach Holly signs she spells out a word with blocks, signs each letter pointing at the letter on the block, and then pointing to the actual objected. Holly doesn’t seem to be getting it. At the question asked if John Boy had tried to teach her, she says he is busy writing poems

John Boy runs after Marcia at school, asking why she is avoiding him. That he just wanted to read her the rest of the poem, she doesn’t want to hear it, she talked to one of her girlfriends who said John Boy was just making fun of her. John Boy says he wasn’t but she wouldn’t hear of it. Later on Jim-Bob, Elizabeth, Erin, Holly and Mary-Ellen go the General store. They want to buy some candy but everybody wants something different, with the little money they had they wouldn’t be able to get very much of everything. They have a unanimous vote of liquorice. Ike gives a couple of gumdrops to Elizabeth because she doesn’t like licorice. Ike asks Jim Bob if he has spent that quarter he got, he tells him he is saving it for something special. Holly mean while picks up a small toy to examine it. Walking home they pass an old run down cabin, that Erin calls the haunted house. Holly starts toward the house but Erin stops her, they decided to head home quickly. The women who placed Holly at the Walton’s comes out of the house, a truck drives up she hurries over to it as if trying to divert attention and a man gets out. He has been very worried about her, she apologizes. He wants to know where Holly is, he goes in the house and searches for her. The women comes in and says she isn’t here, the man states that she cant keep her hidden forever, they had agreed to send her to the home. The women is quite upset about this, asking how he could do this to his own child, he shrugs it off, claming she is just a throw back. She asks him to give her some more time, he agrees but says if she isn’t home by Friday he is coming back.

The Waltons are at home getting ready to listen to a radio show, John Boy isn’t but decided to listen when Mary Ellen teases him about being love sick. The Walton’s laugh and chuckle at the show. We get a perspective from Holly watching them and no sound, she gets up and leaves. John Boy follows her tells her not to be sad and cry. He says he has never thought what it would be like not to hear, that there are so many beautifully sounds. He says she can be happy or sad, he signs the words and does facial expressions after a couple Holly signs back she wants to be happy and smiles. They go down to show the rest of the family, everyone is thrilled except for Elizabeth who looks very envious. Perhaps a couple of nights later, John Boy writes in his journal saying how well Holly is getting on with the signs and the family is learning, she has become family, but he reckons she still misses her own mommy and daddy. He also talks about his love for Marcia growing and that he is going to do something about it. The next day at school he goes right up to her and kisses her on the cheek, she asks him why he did that. He tells her that he is fond of her and has been for quite some time, he wrote the poem to express his feelings, rather then just going up and kissing her, it seemed more elegant.

Erin, Mary Ellen, Jim Bob, Elizabeth and Holly are at the General store to pick up some things for their mom. Once again Holly picks up the toy, the others go out side and Jim Bob uses his quarter to buy it for Holly, when Elizabeth sees this she looks even more jealous, earlier it was indicated that Jim Bob was thinking of buying a dominos set for him and his sister to play with.

Back at the house Holly goes and shows Olivia the toy that Jim Bob got her, then the children all go outside except for Elizabeth who stands looking gloomy. She says no one cares about her and that she wished she was deaf. Olivia says she should be ashamed for even thinking such a thing and prays God forgives her. Elizabeth leaves and grandma said it’s good the child learn she isn’t the only pebble on the beach. Outside Erin, Mary Ellen and Holly are tossing a ball around, Elizabeth sits on the steps with her doll. We see Holly’s mother peering at them from a short distance looking content she heads off, but John Boy sees her and goes after her. At the house Holly tries to get Elizabeth to play, even attempts share her toy with her, Elizabeth gets up and walks away from the house, Holly follows despite Elizabeth telling and signing her to go away. Johnny boy caught up with Holly’s mom after some reluctance she admits she is Holly’s mother, John Boy tells her to come up to the house and talk to his mother.

Holly’s father enters the general store to get a few items. He asks Ike if he knows of any new comers. Ike informs him a couple that recently had a baby, he tells Ike he is talking about older children, Ike then tells him about a little girl staying up at the Walton’s, he points him the direction of their house and Holly’s father leaves with out filling up on gas. Meanwhile Elizabeth and Holly have wandered near the haunted house, Elizabeth goes inside and gets herself locked in a trunk, Holly starts to go for help, but her father drives up, she tries to indicate to him to help Elizabeth but he thinks nothing of it; he picks her up and puts her in the truck.

Over at the Walton’s, they are inside talking with Holly’s mother. She tells them she knows it was wrong to just leave her, but she figured if she had a family like that to love her maybe something good would happen, they say it has and tell her about her talking with signs and that she can learn. Ben and Jason come in telling them that Elizabeth and Holly wandered off, Elizabeth had been sulking, John figures they have a run away on their hands, they split up to go look for them. John, Mary Ellen and Erin go in the truck. Meanwhile Holly and her dad have stopped to fill up on gas, Holly tries to escape but her father slams the door telling her to stay put. John drives right past the haunted house where Elizabeth is calling out for him. They ended up at the general store where they question Ike, who informs them Holly’s father has her, they are surprised , as was Ike assuming they meet him when he picked up Holly. After a short car pursuit they catch up to Holly and her dad. Holly signs to them that Elizabeth is stuck in a box at the haunted house. They all take off, Holly’s father following them, he had looked very stunned and in awe when Holly communicated. At the haunted house, John runs in looking frantically for Elizabeth, Holly shows him what trunk she is in, he tries to get it open but it’s stuck, Holly’s father finds something to prey it open with. Elizabeth is scared and hot but appears unharmed, thanks to Holly. Holly’s father looks very pleased, and amazed, John tells him to come on to the house as his wife is there.

At the house they are all in the living room, Holly’s parents are thanking the Walton’s for all they did, but that they have to get going. Holly’s tries to give Elizabeth her toy, but Elizabeth tells her that it is hers. Holly’s father bends down and signs to her that he is learning. The Walton’s all go out side to bid the family farewell. Mary Ellen notices a package on the porch addressed to John Boy, it turns out to be from Marcia, she baked him a gingerbread cake, with a note “Pure Poetry”.

Ending Journal Entry

Those were lean years. And for many Americans a harsh and bitter time. On Walton's Mountain we were sustained with poems and gingerbread and laughter and sharing but most of all my remarkable mother and father. The house in which we were born and raised is still there, still home, and the winds that sigh among the those misted blue-ridged mountain, our voices must echo still.

Will Geer as Grandpa is seen slapping the radio, saying he's trying to get "Charlie and Eddie," a reference to the ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy radio program. Edgar Bergen played the role of Grandpa in THE HOMECOMING, the 1971 TV Movie that introduced the Walton family and that spawned The Waltons series. Will Geer then took over Edgar Bergen's role as Grandpa for the series, after this special introduction, as the show debuted.

  • Ben: Hey John-Boy
  • John-Boy: Yeah Ben?
  • Ben: Are you going to marry Maricia Woolery?
  • John-Boy: I don't know why do you want me to?
  • Ben: She makes good ginger bread.
  • John-Boy: I'll think about it.
  • Ben: Goodnight John-Boy.
  • John-Boy: Goodnight Ben.