Season five of The Waltons finds the people of Jefferson County, VA, seguing from 1936 to 1937, the latter year pinpointed when aspiring journalist John-Boy Walton (Richard Thomas) covers the arrival -- and explosion -- of the dirigible Hindenburg in Lakehurst, NJ. No, John-Boy has not landed a job at one of the big-city rags; frustrated with being a mere employee, he has launched his own local newspaper, the "Blue Ridge Chronicle." No sooner has the first issue gone to press than John-Boy finds himself up to his neck in controversy, thanks to his decision to warn the locals of the ever-growing Nazi threat in Germany by publishing excerpts of Hitler's Mein Kampf. Meanwhile, John-Boy's sister Mary Ellen (Judy Norton-Taylor) is now a student nurse, nearly ending her medical career before it begins by making a potentially fatal prescription error. On a somewhat happier note, Mary Ellen is being squired by several handsome young doctors, one of whom, David Spencer, asks her to become his bride. But just before the wedding ceremony, Mary Ellen realizes her heart belongs to Dr. Curt Willard (Tom Bower), and it is he to whom she ultimately says "I do." Elsewhere on the romantic scene, Mary Ellen's younger sister Erin (Mary Beth McDonough) impulsively elopes with a former boyfriend; eventually she comes to her senses and returns home, just in time to graduate from high school. As for the other Walton men, dad John (Ralph Waite) has a falling out with wife Olivia (Michael Learned) -- and everyone else in the family, for that matter -- when he refuses to be baptized; rebellious son Ben (Eric Scott) once again looks for work outside the family's lumber mill; and idealistic son Jason (Jon Walmsley), sensing that the war clouds are gathering in Europe, joins the National Guard. In the last episode of the season, John-Boy leaves Virginia and heads to New York in hopes of getting his novel published -- and thus does series regular Richard Thomas leave The Waltons as a regular, though he will return for a trio of guest appearances in season six.
Cast & Crew
Ralph Waite - John Walton
Michael Learned - Olivia Walton
Richard Thomas - John-Boy Walton
Richard Wightman - John-Boy Walton
Jon Walmsley - Jason Walton