The Waltons' Homecoming (2021) Movie Script

Hi, I'm Richard Thomas
and I'd like to share
a story with you.
It's the story of a family,
an American family
living through a time of great social
upheaval, and economic hardship.
It's a story that takes place in 1933
but it made its mark
on our country in 1972.
And now in the 21st century
it may be more resonant
than ever before.
But mostly, it's a story about human
kindness, and compassion and love.
It's a story about family,
and one in particular
a family that I was very proud
to be a part of 50 years ago
and that I still feel a part of today
a family called the Waltons.
My boyhood home in
the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia
was a place I always treasured.
A world full of mystery and wonder.
But when the stock market
crashed in 1929
businesses collapsed
families split apart
and folks started giving up
on their dreams.
Our local mill closed
and Daddy had to find work
90 miles away.
And he could only be with us
once a month
to make matters worse
he wasn't given the weekend off
that Christmas in 1933.
I was 17 years old back then
and I wanted to be a writer
more than anything in the world.
My daddy expected me
to fill his shoes while he was gone.
And I wanted to prove myself to him
but I prayed I wouldn't have
to give up my dream in the process.
During the Depression
sometimes it seemed like
dreams were all we had.
Well, look at you...
a little Christmas miracle.
Just not the one I was hoping for.
Oh, Lord.
Please watch over John.
What is it, Elizabeth?
I was teaching Geraldine to fly,
by swinging her over my head.
Oh, honey.
That's nothing that
a needle and thread can't fix.
I will have her as good as new
before the day's out, okay?
I wish Daddy was here.
I know.
Grandma and Grandpa are coming over
for breakfast! How about that?
Okay! Then you need to go get dressed
so you're ready when they get here.
President Roosevelt promised
the Electric Home and Farm Authority
will bring cheap electricity
to millions in the Tennessee Valley.
And we have a cold front
with possible storms
coming through the tri-county area.
Travel advisories are going out,
so stay close to home, folks.
Now back to
our Christmas Eve programming.
Is that another drawing of a doll?
It's to hang on the tree.
Santa's going to bring one to me.
Dream on, Sis.
What do you know?
Santa's probably out of work, too.
- Mrs. Walton?
- Coming!
What is that you're building?
A Christmas cottage with
cotton for snow on the roof.
It's for above the fireplace.
How about in the fireplace?
Erin! You want to get your nose out
of that magazine and give me a hand?
I've got news!
Thad Wilson
just dropped off a telegram.
Where's John Boy?
Where do you think? Upstairs
scribbling secrets in his room again.
John Boy! Get down here!
I'm coming, Mama!
- I was just cleaning up my room.
- Oh, Good Lord!
That's enough, you two.
It's from your daddy!
- He's coming home today.
- What?
- Seriously?
- Yay!
He talked his boss
into moving his shift.
He's got the whole weekend off.
He'll be here late morning.
John Boy, you gotta get your brothers
and sisters all squared away.
You have to finish your chores
before Grandma and Grandpa get here.
We got to get the house ready
for Daddy's homecoming
- and I've got breakfast to cook.
- Yes, Ma'am.
You heard her. We've got to make
this the best Christmas ever, okay?
Now, Erin, put that magazine away
and help Mary Ellen.
Jim Bob clean up
that mess under the table.
It's not a mess! It's a decoration!
Where's Jason?
He's out in the barn
splitting wood for the stove.
Move it. Now!
What are you doing?
I'm gonna tell Jason the news.
That's Daddy's old jacket.
Well, he's not wearing it, is he?
What do you want me to do, John Boy?
I think you should
finish your drawing.
And I'll put it in a prime spot
on the tree where Santa will see it.
Thanks, John Boy.
I was excited that
Daddy was coming home.
But I was also nervous.
We argued before he left
because he thought
that becoming a writer was
interfering with my responsibilities.
I wanted him to see
that I was doing my part
to make Christmas perfect
for the whole family.
Hey, I've got some great news
for you today.
Daddy's coming home.
- Don't give me that.
- Yeah, it's true.
Mama just got a telegram from him.
He must have kicked up quite a fuss.
- Hot damn!
- Yeah.
When's he getting in?
Late morning.
Jeez, it's freezing out here, huh?
I'll take that dime.
No, you won't. It's Daddy's.
This is how he holds them, right?
You look just like him. I can
almost picture you at the lathe
in the machine shop.
You know that's not for me.
Man's gotta earn a living.
Get off it! I don't need
to hear that from you, too.
There is nothing wrong
with learning a trade
if it mean to keep your family fed.
Okay. That is a man's responsibility.
So's thinking for yourself, Jason.
You and Daddy have another fight
before he left?
Yeah. He was upset that I hadn't
finished painting the shed, yeah.
Said my chores came first
and writing was wasting my time.
Well, yeah. It does, doesn't it?
What a God-awful thing
to do to your body.
Stupid. What's Daddy thinking?
You mean besides wondering
why his oldest son is
throwing his future away?
Why do you always take Daddy's side?
Hey! Hey, I filled that.
You're stealing the glory.
Yeah? Tough luck, little brother.
Daddy had convinced Jason
he should learn a trade
even though becoming a musician
was his dream.
I think Jason was a bit jealous that
I was stubbornly hanging on to mine.
Okay, I get it!
Yeah? Better luck next time.
Grandma. I'm so glad you're here.
Well, we all have to be somewhere.
All right. I'll take that back.
I'm not glad to see you at all.
Your grandma brought us
some of her cranberry jam.
It's your daddy's favorite.
Oh, perfect timing.
That's a good load of stove wood.
Yes, Ma'am.
Jason did the work.
I can't slice any more off that bone,
but it'll still do for soup.
Good thing. That's the last ham
from the hog John butchered.
What are we gonna eat
for Christmas dinner?
Maybe I'll wring Gretchen's neck
and we'll have stew and dumplings.
Okay, Mama, she's a laying hen.
The boy's right.
You put Gretchen in a stew
what are you gonna do for eggs?
Unless you're planning
to lay them yourself.
Maybe I'm just feeling
a little reckless this Christmas.
Don't like the look of that.
Where you headed?
Hickory Creek on Route 29.
Once I'm there, it's a six-mile
hitchhike home if I'm lucky.
That's some trip.
Hope the roads hold up.
Man on the radio says
there's a cold front coming.
It's gonna be a bad one.
I'll have to take my chances.
Could be icy roads.
You might want to stay
here in Charlottesville
tackle the trip home in the morning.
No way, my friend.
Christmas Eve. Family's waiting.
I still got Santa business to tend to
before the day's out.
- Name?
- John Walton.
Thank you for the food we eat,
thank you for the world so sweet
thank you for the birds that sing,
thank you God for everything.
Amen, sister Jen,
shot a rooster, killed a hen.
Hen died, rooster cried.
Slow down, everyone!
This is not a free-for-all.
Grandpa, why do you
always end prayers that way?
He won't even tell me.
It's not very religious.
Daddy's not so religious either.
He's religious.
He's just not a church-goer.
What is the matter anyway?
I like the way it sounds, Grandpa.
Thank you, Mary Ellen.
John Boy, I want you to take
the kids down to the barn later
and crack some walnuts
for my applesauce cake.
Yes, Ma'am.
So you are gonna make
applesauce cake?
Why, I am now. I wouldn't want
to disappoint your daddy.
It wouldn't be Christmas
for him without it.
I've got to go to Ike's
and buy some sugar.
Sugar's not cheap these days.
Her money to manage, Grandma.
I want to go to Ike's with you, Mama.
I don't guess there's a certain doll
you might want to take a look at?
What is that
you're drawing there, pumpkin?
It's a Redbird.
Well, it truly is that.
That is one fine Redbird.
I wish my daddy could fly.
Oh, is that so?
He'd be with us right now,
that's for sure.
He'll be home by noon.
Plenty of time to beat
that storm that's heading this way.
- Storm?
- Yeah.
Snow flurries, sleet,
maybe some black ice.
How do you know, Grandpa?
In there. See that tooth right there?
In the back. Next to the gold one.
It aches when a storm is coming.
He heard it on the radio.
Tell her the truth, old man.
I felt it in my tooth first.
Did they say when it would hit?
Oh, nightfall I reckon.
John'll be home well before then.
Don't you worry, Livy.
I'm glad you could get it.
I gotta run. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, merry Christmas.
Hey. Merry Christmas!
Hey, hey, wait! Wait!
Hey, wait!
Hey, stop the bus!
Come on, stop the bus! Hey!
Hey! Stop the bus!
- Hop on.
- Thanks, bud.
Thank you.
You saved my family's Christmas.
Looks like
we're in for a lot of stops.
Holiday traffic and bad roads.
- Where you headed?
- Hickory Creek.
Yeah. Me, too. Welcome aboard.
- The name's Elmer.
- John.
- Good to meet you.
- Hey, likewise.
Do you ever knock?
That Packhorse Library lady
is coming up the road.
Is that one of her books?
Yeah, yeah. It's a history
about this English guy.
It says history right on the cover.
Okay? Now, get out!
Get out! Go. Get out! Seriously.
- Nervous.
- I'm not nervous.
Yes, you are!
Hey, Maggie.
I didn't know you'd be
working Christmas Eve.
Well, I won't be back until spring
and I wanted to drop something off
before I left for school.
Edith Carter's gonna
take my route until then.
Fair warning. She's a bear
for collecting late fees.
I was gonna ask about Tom Jones.
You know, I haven't got
all the way through it yet.
Don't worry. That's my own copy.
The library wouldn't carry it.
Yeah, I was wondering.
Him and Molly...
That's a little...
- Racy? Yeah.
- Yeah.
I know. Just wait 'til you get
to his dinner with Mrs. Waters?
You actually read that in school?
World Lit class.
The professor said it was one
of the earliest English novels.
And since I'm certain that
one day you'll write a novel
I thought you'd like
to see where it all began.
So you don't mind
if I hang onto it a bit longer?
No. I'll pick it up in the spring.
Meantime, I brought you another.
Something different.
Kipling is President Roosevelt's
favorite author
and this is a collection
of his stories and poems.
Whoa, thanks for
keeping me stocked, you know.
We got the Bible,
the Farmers' Almanac
and the Sears Roebuck catalog.
Well, this one's a library copy.
So you got three weeks
before Edith comes gunning for you.
I'll make sure I get through it.
You kidding me? What?
It's just a little bookmark.
I think JB Walton is
a good name for an author.
Merry Christmas.
I don't know what to say. I mean
if I had known that you were coming
I could've got you something.
Stop! This... No, it wasn't meant
to be a gift exchange.
You know what, you stay right there.
This is a story I wrote.
It is yours to keep.
What about this contest?
I'll just copy another from
the original. Don't worry about it.
But I would be really grateful
if you give me a thought on it.
- Of course.
- Yeah.
Wouldn't hurt to get a female
perspective on things, right?
See you next spring.
I'll be looking out for you.
Merry Christmas.
Looked to me like two worms
wrapped around a fishhook.
Oh, my God.
Don't get any shells in there
or somebody'll break a tooth.
Oh, yeah. It's also
bad luck I've heard.
Yeah? You and your superstitions.
You know, this would go a lot faster
if you'd help us
instead of fooling with that thing.
You should be happy
I'm not charging you to play.
You could take your banjo
and shove it, Jason!
Erin. Don't be such an ass.
Watch your mouth, Mary Ellen.
Me! What about Daddy?
He says that stuff all he wants.
- He's Daddy.
- You're not
so quit acting like a boss man.
I didn't ask to be in charge.
I got better things to do.
Yeah? Scribble, scribble.
Quit moping, all right?
You had no right to say that to Erin.
She's just jealous that
I'm gonna be a Hollywood star
and marry someone with enough money
to give me whatever I want.
Dead wrong, sister.
I'm never getting married. I'm gonna
be an aviator like Amelia Earhart.
I wanna fly right out of here
and travel all over the world
make all kinds of adventures
with nobody telling me what to do.
What kind of adventures?
I don't know. That's what
makes them adventures.
Maybe you could fly Santa's sleigh.
That'd be an adventure.
Santa's not coming this year.
Ey. You don't know that, Erin.
And don't say it to Elizabeth,
all right?
Guys, we can still make wishes.
Miracles can still happen
'cause this Christmas is gonna be
the best ever no matter what!
So, Jim Bob, what's your wish?
Erector set.
Great. Just what we need.
Another thing of Jim Bob's
with pieces to step on.
I heard that.
And I hope you catch a cold
and sneeze your brains out.
- Shut up, little pip-squeak!
- That's enough, Mary Ellen!
What is wrong with you?
She's just worried Santa won't
bring her breasts for Christmas.
- Anybody else?
- Ey!
Sit down with the rest of us
and shut your mouth.
- Is that an order?
- Yes, it is!
Then you better find
yourself a waitress
because I don't take orders!
Where do you think you're going?
Hey, get back here.
Hey, Mary Ellen!
Can you give me a hand?
Be right there.
Oh, it's so cold. Let's get in there.
Oh, Rose.
So you're doing a little
last-minute Christmas shopping?
Candles for service tonight.
How are you doing, Elizabeth?
Fine, Miss Rose. Where's Claudie?
Oh, he's with his daddy,
getting the church set up.
Oh, yes.
I hear there's more weather
on the way, Livy.
You all are welcome to come to
our Christmas Eve service
if the storm kicks up.
- It's a short walk.
- That's so kind, Rose. Thank you.
What are friends for?
You mean besides
looking after each other's children?
I still think you get
the short end of that stick.
Oh, not so. We do just fine,
don't we Elizabeth?
Yes, Ma'am.
No, no, you come back here,
young lady. Wait a minute.
I wanna ask Rose something.
You haven't by chance seen John
here in town, have you?
Sure haven't.
He's not back from
Charlottesville yet?
We thought
he'd be here by noon, so...
Winter travel, I suspect.
Always delays. I am sure he's fine.
Mind if I drop by a bit later?
I have a little Christmas cheer
I want to deliver.
Oh! Not that kind.
I noticed
the Baldwin sisters are inside.
Yeah, I bet they're pleased as punch
now that Prohibition's done.
I will have a warm slice
of applesauce cake for you.
We'll see you in a little bit.
Mama? If her church is
closer to us than our church
how come we don't
always go to Rose's church?
you see...
our family has always been members
of the First Baptist Church.
And Rose's husband is the preacher
over at the Calvary Bible Church
so that's where she goes. But
since we were already members
of the First Baptist Church
we don't have to go to Calvary Bible.
But that doesn't mean we can't go.
'Cause you know what?
Everyone's welcomed
in any God's houses.
Let's get inside.
How does that look
to you ladies, huh?
- Very fresh.
- Alright, good.
And here's your cookies.
- And that is a baker's dusting.
- Absolutely.
Olivia Walton!
An answer to our prayers.
A Christmas miracle.
Miss Emily. Miss Maimie.
And you must be...
She has your eyes.
And your teeth.
We're looking for your husband.
So am I.
He can fix anything.
He is a good customer.
Which brings us to our problem.
Rest his soul,
"Papa's Recipe Machine" has become...
Something is blocking the flow.
Like a kidney stone.
Oh, how those bedeviled Papa.
We think the copper coil needs
to be replaced.
And John is just the man
to do the job.
Well, I will tell him when I see him.
Your groceries, ladies.
It's so nice to see you, Mrs. Walton.
And we'll call on you
later this evening
with your order of
the Christmas recipe.
- As payment.
- I look forward to it.
- Merry Christmas, everyone!
- Merry Christmas!
I hope you haven't been naughty.
Santa's watching, you know.
Why, Charlie Sneed!
You tell Santa we're gonna leave
a jar of the Recipe by the fireplace.
I'm sure he'll be pleased.
- Well, hey there, Livy.
- Charlie.
Glad I bumped into you.
I've got a grudge rematch with the
Sheriff on Ike's pool table tonight.
John's free to join us if he'd like.
Could use an impartial referee.
Now, Charlie...
Well, as a matter of fact
John hasn't back
from Charlottesville yet.
Nah, I'm... I'm sure he'll be along.
When you're through here with Livy
dig me up a box of shells
for my Winchester. Thirty-ought-six.
- You got it.
- Meantime, I'm gonna go make sure
that thing's level for tonight.
What can I do for you, Livy?
I would love a pound of sugar,
please, Ike.
Hey, you don't want to get between
him and a cue ball.
I can see that.
Kind of like your little Elizabeth
and that doll.
Every time she comes in here,
she heads straight to it.
Yeah, well
hard to explain the Depression
to a five-year old, Ike.
I understand, Livy.
But merry Christmas anyway.
Thanks, Ike.
Yup, all right. Oh
- and some change for you.
- Thank you kindly.
- You're welcome.
- Thank you. Yes, yes, yes.
One's got a higher purpose.
- Thank you.
- It's the least I can do.
Let's go. Thank you kindly.
- All right. All right.
- Let's go!
- Merry Christmas to you all.
- Merry Christmas.
Sheriff Bridges.
Am I glad to see you.
How do, Mrs. Walton?
I wonder if you've seen my husband.
He'd be on the road
from Hickory Creek.
He's running pretty late.
No, ma'am. I've been up country.
Plan to catch that poacher
who's been hunting without a license.
Well, I hear everything he shoots
he gives to those in need.
Thinks he's some kind of
backwoods Robin Hood
but he's breaking the law.
And what he doesn't give away
he takes to Charlottesville
and sells for cash money.
Bet no one told you that.
Well, then...
good luck.
Thank you, Ma'am. And
I'll keep an eye out for John.
Thanks, Sheriff. Merry Christmas.
Winchester 70.
Pretty nice, huh?
Depends on what it's used for.
Target practice mostly.
You ready for tonight, Sheriff?
Glad I ran into you, Charlie.
Maybe Ike can fill in for me.
- I can't make it tonight.
- Why?
Pressing county business.
What's that?
Can't discuss it.
Well, that's too bad.
I'll save your favorite cue for you
in case you change your mind
or finish your business early.
Oh. Don't worry, Charlie.
I'll catch up with you soon enough.
You're up next, John.
I'd hold back some on that nutmeg.
It's your recipe.
Don't mind me.
I've only been making it
for forty years.
I don't see
why I have to do lunch dishes.
You're the oldest.
John Boy's the oldest.
You're the oldest girl.
Being a girl should
have nothing to do with it.
It's not a fair way
to hand out chores.
You and Grandma can work this out.
If life were fair, Mary Ellen,
I'da had your pretty face.
Nelson County gossip:
"Hiram Motherwell's
old sow pig, Petunia
gave birth the fourteen babies
last week.
Mother and children
are all doing just fine
except for the one that was eaten."
Erin! Look what you did!
What is all this fuss?
Erin wrecked my village.
That's not a village, that's a...
a beaver dam without the mud!
Now for Nelson County
news and weather.
Well, folks, it looks like a nasty
cold front will move in by nightfall.
Expect some flurries
and possible sleet later today.
Stay off those icy roads.
Driving could be treacherous.
Instead of going out, stay at home
by the fire this Christmas Eve and...
I bet Old John just picked up
some overtime yesterday and slept in.
He'll beat the storm.
And I better go cut
a Christmas tree while I can.
Where is John Boy?
As the tension increased
with every hour Daddy hadn't returned
I still felt responsible
for realizing
my family's dream that Christmas.
I couldn't make Mary Ellen
into a pilot
or Jason into a musician.
But I was determined to make
Elizabeth's dream come true.
With what little money I had
I was resolved to find some way
to get her a doll.
John Boy, get down here!
I'm coming, Mama!
John Boy!
I'm coming.
Well, if it isn't the prince.
Why are you always ragging
on me, Mary Ellen?
I don't know. Just seems natural.
Enough, you two.
John, I want you to go with Grandpa
to cut a Christmas tree.
- Great.
- Wait, I wanna go, too.
You kidding me?
That's always been my job.
Well, John Boy, times are changing.
Mary Ellen wants to go.
- But...
- No buts.
Well, if you're coming,
get your gear.
We're not waiting on you.
- Why?
- No.
Oh, Christmas tree
I never stopped being enchanted
by the beauty of Walton's Mountain.
Even in the cold of winter,
it was a magical place.
On our hike to where Grandpa had
spotted his Christmas tree years ago
we stopped at our family cemetery.
A place I only been to once before.
I've never been here before, Grandpa.
not much reason to yet.
This is where your Grandma and me
will wind up one day.
Are these all Waltons?
These are all your people, Mary Ellen
Generations of fathers
and mothers, and some babies.
Some of the older graves
are marked by stones
but all their names
are in the family Bible.
This place is so strange.
But it's so...
How'd we come to get
Walton's Mountain, Grandpa?
Well, your great-great grandaddy,
my grandaddy
came through here
in the summer of 1725.
Way it was told to me,
he saved the life of a young boy
who almost drowned
in a swollen creek up the way.
Two Forks Creek, right Grandpa?
Yeah, that's right.
And it turns out
that young boy was the grandson
of the Chief
of the Monacan Indian Tribe.
And they had been here forever.
And the Chief told my grandaddy
that he could settle here
as long as he lived in harmony and
used the bounty of the land
to spread kindness to the world.
I've never heard that story before.
It's all true.
And Waltons have
been raising families here
and taking care of
the land ever since.
In the hardest times,
we never let go, never sold
even when
the soapstone company came in
and bought up
almost everything around us.
I like to come here every now
and then just to feel my roots.
No matter where your dreams
take you in this world, Mary Ellen
you'll always be a Walton.
And you will find that...
family is...
Oh, how I wish
it were springtime again.
Forsythia blooming by the fence
tulips coming up from the snow.
Don't worry about John, daughter.
I know my boy.
He'll be here soon enough.
You'll see.
You two rest here a minute.
I'm gonna go get my bearings.
John Boy.
I have a confession to make.
- I read your secret notepad.
- What?
- No, no, I...
- Are you serious
- Okay. I read what you wrote.
- Mary Ellen?
I saw... I saw myself, I saw Jason
and the others and it touched me.
It really did.
Look, I'm sorry that
I've been ragging on you.
You're not
just a scribbler, John Boy.
I had no idea how good you were.
You see that tree we're after?
Oh, I was hoping
to get a glimpse of that
big old white buck folks talk about.
Yeah, I've heard the stories.
Yeah. I never laid eyes on him myself
but I'm always on the lookout.
Some folks say there's no such thing.
Others say he's a ghost.
I'd give anything
to see him just one time.
You know, they say the man
who spots him will change forever.
Looks like
you're out of luck, Grandpa.
Maybe at this time.
But in that case
right there's your tree.
I've been keeping an eye
on that thing for years.
Must be near six feet, Grandpa.
It's beautiful.
I love it.
I'm not used to making
so many stops on this run.
Think I could've hitched it faster.
just be glad you're not outside.
Or in one of those cars we passed
that slid off a ditch.
I guess so.
How long have you
been farming, Elmer?
Tough way to make a living lately.
What isn't?
I get by.
I've got a cow, couple hogs
a laying hen
and a pretty good garden.
With me being away so much,
it's hard on my wife, Livy.
I've been thinking to quit the mill
and go full out into farming.
Sink or swim, at least
you're your own boss.
And if you own your place
you're not at the mercy
of the damn banks.
And no more travel.
I've got a big family to support.
Sometimes you just
got to take the leap and
fix things on the way down.
Know what I mean?
I guess so.
Hey. Wake me when we get
to Hickory Creek, will you?
Well, folks, we've got
some icy roads up ahead
I'm gonna have to make
a little detour.
Okay. Great grandma's star
is on the tree now officially
which means that
decorating can now begin!
Don't stop shaking it now, Jim Bob,
or you'll burn 'em again.
Grandpa, my arm hurts.
Yeah. That's why
God gave you two of 'em.
What about the lights, John Boy?
Well, one bulb doesn't work
so the whole string don't work.
It's like finding a black cat
in a coal mine.
Who needs lights? We got popcorn.
How will Santa see
without Christmas lights?
Don't worry. He's used
to working in the dark.
We gonna leave him cornflakes again?
- You bet.
- And a carrot for the reindeer.
Okay. Most of the old dime store
ornaments, they look great.
And tinsel's up in the attic.
We don't need tinsel.
We got popcorn strings.
Not at the rate you're going.
It's Jim Bob's fault!
He's burned too many.
Then get your stupid butt over here
and you make the popcorn.
Let me do the stringing.
You watch your mouth, son!
You're not my daddy.
And glad of it!
Hey, hey, hey,
don't be grabby, all right?
Be respectful.
Right, Grandpa?
Mind your brother.
You heard him.
What's that?
It's a blue-jay's nest
with an egg in it.
I found it on a hike with Daddy.
- A rotten egg?
- It's not rotten.
I blew all the stuff out of it.
Clean as a whistle.
It's got bird poop on it. Who wants
that smelly thing on our tree?
I do!
And Daddy will want to see it.
We talked about it.
Yeah. Santa's gonna take
one whiff of that bird poop
and go right back up the chimney.
Lay off Mary Ellen, Jason.
Thank you.
Now what?
Hey. What's wrong?
Santa's not gonna come
because of Mary Ellen's stinky nest.
Look at what you've done.
Made Elizabeth cry.
- That's not my fault. I just want...
- It is your fault
you're the one
that brought it into the house
and made the little girl cry.
Hey, hey, everyone, shut up!
It's Christmas Eve, dammit!
What is all this racket?
John Boy said "dammit."
He took the word
right out of my mouth.
It's Daddy!
Merry Christmas!
- Hi, Charlie.
- Gosh, guys.
Was it something I said?
I'm sorry.
Kids just thought
it might be their daddy.
Ain't that rascal back yet?
I started to get worried.
We both know John won't
let a little weather stop him.
In fact, it wouldn't surprise me
if he's over at
the Baldwin sisters' place
sampling their recipe right now.
I won't have you talking that way
about my son, Charlie.
He drinks, doesn't he?
He takes a drink.
There's a difference.
Can I pour you
a cup of coffee, Charlie?
Or a piece of applesauce cake.
Still hasn't been frosted.
That's alright,
I can't stay but a minute.
Got my pool game over at Ike's
tonight to get ready for.
Can you keep a secret, Mrs. Walton?
Charlie Sneed!
- He grates on my last nerve.
- Grandma, be polite.
He treats me like I am deaf.
Yeah, I know, but just be quiet..
I knew y'all wouldn't get a chance
to go hunting before Christmas.
But I knew you'd appreciate
a little meat on the table.
I thought
the hunting season was over.
It is!
Aren't you scared breaking
the law on Christmas Eve?
What better time
to share the Lord's bounty?
That's right, it's God's gift.
Right, Charlie?
Oh, and the answer to my prayers!
We are more than grateful.
I'm gonna start cooking him tonight!
My pleasure, ma'am.
Just imagine when John Walton
walks through that door
and he smells
a Christmas turkey in the oven!
You don't know
how grateful we are, Charlie.
This year in particular.
Poaching on Christmas.
Now you remember...
Off I go.
We there already?
I'll see what's going on.
Hey, man, it's Christmas Eve.
You gotta get this bus moving.
Sir, you need to sit down. We've got
a vehicle in a ditch up here.
What did you find out?
The highway's blocked
until they can get some old delivery
truck towed out of a ditch.
You hungry?
Could be.
All right, appreciate it.
I got these from a guy
on the corner in Charlottesville.
He's been out of work a while.
We're damn lucky, you and me.
I'd say.
Wanna take a peek at my family?
Look at this.
It's a good-looking bunch.
Thoroughbreds one and all.
Damn lucky.
I wish you didn't have to go.
We have to get home by dark.
Don't you wanna stay
and make sure Daddy gets home safely?
We will see him
tomorrow night at supper.
Merry Christmas, John-Boy.
- I love you, Grandma.
- Love you, too.
Come on, let's go.
- Merry Christmas!
- Merry Christmas!
- Merry Christmas!
- We'll see you at supper.
Do you miss your folks more
at Christmas time?
Truly I do.
It's a special time for families.
You'd have liked my folks.
You're as strong-willed as my mama.
Sure enough.
You know she didn't
want me marrying your daddy.
How come you never
told me that before?
Well, 'cause it never came up
- in conversation before.
- Why did she object?
Well, for one thing,
I was 17 years old.
That's John-Boy's age!
There you go.
But that wasn't all, she didn't
like me seeing an older boy
with a bit of a reputation.
Not the match
for her churchgoing daughter.
Oh, but I fell so hard
for your daddy right away.
We had to sneak off to get married.
I know!
You know, it seems to me like
you're awfully
strong-willed yourself.
When need be.
The Baptist preacher that we found,
he refused to marry us
until your daddy said...
"You are not the only
blankity-blank preacher in the world!
We'll find us another!"
That's all it took.
I don't suppose
I'll ever be getting married.
Unless they invent a man
who doesn't think
he has to be the boss of me.
I just don't wanna have to answer
to anybody but myself.
I know.
And boy do I worry for
whoever you fall in love with.
Well, hello, you two.
Come in out of the cold.
Merry Christmas, Livy.
Hello, Miss Olivia.
Hey, Claudie! Do you want
to come see our tree?
I cut it down myself!
- Go on, then!
- Come on!
We wanted to drop by
before it got too late.
Merry Christmas.
Thank you so much. You're so sweet.
We will have this with
Christmas dinner tomorrow.
Now, you come with me.
For you.
From your Christmas cactus?
The very one my mama gave me.
Well, thank you, Livy.
I'll take good care of it.
Do you have time for a little
applesauce cake before you go?
I have to get back to Hawthorne
and help him finish up.
You heard from John yet?
I can't let on
in front of the kids, Rose, but...
I'm scared sick.
And people keep telling me
all the reasons
that I shouldn't be concerned.
But you are.
If anything happened to him, Rose...
I don't think I could bear it.
That's not true, Livy.
And you know it.
I can't reassure you.
But I can share your worry.
Hey, Mama!
Claudie says there's a missionary
from Charlottesville
handing out toys and presents
from a truck near Ike's.
Can we go?
I think you all are
forgetting something.
We do not take charity in this house.
You took Charlie Sneed's turkey.
That was the Lord's turkey.
And Charlie brought it
to us on his behalf.
A gift from God is not charity.
Am I right, Rose?
You are indeed.
Can we at least go just to watch
other people get gifts?
What fun would that be?
- It's something to do.
- Yeah.
Yeah, I mean, it sure beats
listening to the radio
and waiting for Daddy to turn up.
We won't take anything.
Claudie will make sure of it.
Right, Claudie?
I'll make sure.
Please, Mama?
Well, I guess
there's no harm in watching.
John-Boy! You keep
an eye on Elizabeth.
Yes, ma'am.
I was glad my brothers and sisters
would have a nice distraction
from worrying about Daddy.
I decided to make a contribution
to the missionary lady
in exchange for choosing a present.
She assured me the large wrapped
package I chose was a doll.
So I made my donation sight unseen
hoping I could at least make
Elizabeth's Christmas wish come true.
You ready?
Open it.
She's dead, John-Boy!
Hey, it's okay. It's okay.
I'm sorry. It's okay.
Oh, John.
Well, folks,
here's your weather update
for Nelson County.
We're expecting 5 to 8 inches of snow
with gusting winds
and poor visibility.
Roads are icy and slick,
so officials urge you not to travel.
We've already had reports
of a southwest bus
skidding off County Road 29
north of Hickory Creek.
Several injuries and one death
have been reported.
Additional emergency crews are
on their way to help the injured.
That's all the information
we have for now.
But stayed tuned for the...
It's dark in here.
Hey, Mama.
Keep this between us.
I still believe in Santa, all right?
Where's Claudie?
He went back to the church.
We'll join him there later.
Aren't you worried about
what some people might say?
Who cares about that?
No, I know.
I'm just saying, you know...
Jason, sometimes
change needs a shove.
We didn't raise you children
to be sheep.
It's Christmas Eve.
We're going to Calvary Bible Church.
I need you dressed and ready
by 7:15 sharp.
You look like I caught you
with your hand in the cookie jar.
I just want some privacy,
Mama, that's all.
What is so important that you dash
up here and start writing away?
I just...
I just like
to sort things out on paper
when they're still fresh in my mind.
And what are you sorting out
just now?
Thoughts. Ideas, you know
stories I wanna write,
experiences I wanna capture.
Why does it have to be so secret?
Well, do you share everything
that's welling up inside of you?
I'm sorry. I just want
to be honest with my writing.
I know from some things
that happened today
that if I put my heart on paper,
I can touch people.
And I will share it with you
when the time is right, okay?
I promise.
I believe in you, John-Boy.
And we will talk about this all later
but, honey, right now...
I need your help.
The radio said...
a bus went off the road
north of Hickory Creek.
People are injured and
one man is dead.
- Daddy's bus?
- I don't know for sure.
- I have to go find him.
- You have got to find Charlie Sneed
okay? He's supposed
to be up at Ike's playing pool.
I'll give you a dollar.
You tell Charlie Sneed to drive you
to Hickory Creek
in that old pick-up of his.
I'll bring Daddy home.
Don't you worry.
And when you do,
you meet us at Rose's church.
- Calvary Bible?
- We're going
to services there tonight.
- Okay, whatever you say.
- Son...
I know this is a heavy load.
I won't let you down.
Mama told me.
I just... want you to take this.
Your lucky rabbit's foot?
Not that you'll need it.
Thanks, Jason.
You take care of the family
while I'm gone, all right?
Where's Charlie?
Hey, John-Boy, come on back!
Charlie, what the hell is going on?
You ever see
such a messed-up situation?
No, are you... are you arrested?
Keep it down, you two,
I'm trying to concentrate.
He's visiting!
There's no visiting privileges
in Ike's pool room.
Get out. We're playing for groceries.
- Well, wait just a minute, alright?
- God.
- What happened...
- See what you made me do?
All right, talk all you want
while Ike shoots.
It's only fair.
Ran over a calf
about a mile up the road
threw it in the back of my pick-up
instead of letting him go to waste.
First calf I ever saw
with ten-point antlers.
It was one of
Clyde Robbin's animals.
I was gonna pay him for the damage
first thing in the morning!
First thing in the morning
you're gonna be waking up
in the Lovington jail.
Jail's no place
for a man on Christmas.
Should've thought about that one
when you poached that buck.
Oh! Right here!
Can't a man play a game of pool for
5 minutes without being interrupted?
Look, I need... I need your car.
Is your car out there?
Hey, is that what I think it is?
It's all legal now, Sheriff.
As promised.
This one's for the groceries.
And these are from us
to celebrate our Lord's birthday.
Thank you, ladies.
Long story.
Yeah, my daddy hasn't come home yet.
And I was hoping that Charlie
could drive me to Hickory Creek
- to look for him.
- That ain't gonna happen, son.
Charlie's pick-up has
my evidence in the back.
Great, well, I gotta go find him.
You better start walking.
- Walking?
- On foot?
It's awful out!
Just one minute, John-Boy.
I've got an idea.
What is it?
We've made a decision.
You can take the judge's car.
Merry Christmas!
I don't know what to say.
I don't think
thank you would be good enough.
Well, it's our pleasure, John-Boy.
You go find your daddy.
Just drop us off at our place
and be on your way.
Perhaps we could
share a cup of eggnog?
I really wish I could.
I just gotta go find my daddy.
Oh, we understand.
- To the car!
- Yeah.
The angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
In fields as they lay
Well, some new voices!
Welcome, Waltons,
come on in, have a seat.
Come on in. Have a seat.
Join us on the refrain.
Noel, noel
Noel, noel
Born is the king
Of Israel
Whoa, what do you think
you're doing, son?
That's the bus from Charlottesville
down there?
Yeah, it sure is.
It hit a patch of black ice
and skidded off the road.
- Yeah, my daddy may be in that bus!
- Okay!
Listen, listen. We already took
a group of passengers
to Hickory Creek.
He may be gone already.
We're still trying to get
a passenger out
who got pinned up against a seat.
Alright! You can't
go down there, son.
- It's not safe.
- But my daddy...
No buts!
Now, you can stay up here.
But no one else is going down.
- You hear me?
- Yes, sir.
Dear God, please help me, okay?
I promise,
if you spare my daddy's life
I'll give up my dream
to become a writer, okay?
In your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.
The Lord speaks on love.
The Bible speaks often
of God's acceptance of others.
- All right!
- Yeah!
But the Lord sees not as man sees.
But the Lord looks on to the heart.
And the heart is where you find love.
- The heart!
- The heart!
Is where you find!
Is where you find!
Oh, thank you, God.
Good work, men.
The hell you doing here?
Looking for you.
Elmer, you... you doin' all right?
I'm better now thanks to you.
I know you'd done
the same for me, friend.
He's gonna take
good care of you now, okay?
Appreciate it.
Hey, John, you remember
what I told you. Huh?
Get the last ones up.
What were you doing down there?
Elmer's leg was pinned.
It was a two-man job to pry him out.
- You okay?
- Yeah
I twisted my damn ankle
when the bus went off the road.
No big deal.
How in the world
did you get here anyway?
Courtesy of the Baldwin Sisters.
Well, I'll be damned.
Mighty nice when it calms down.
The stars and all.
I wanna apologize
for the run-in before I left.
Feeling bad about it ever since.
Me too.
No. Sometimes I get
too worked up for my own good.
I'm grateful for the way
you've taken care of the family
while I've been gone.
It's time I told you so.
We might have our differences,
but I admire your grit.
And sometimes being a man
is standing up for yourself.
And by that measure,
you've shown us all something.
I'm proud to be your daddy.
Thank you.
I love you too.
Seeing the great white buck
had always been Grandpa's dream.
But that Christmas Eve,
it appeared to Daddy and me.
You saw that, right?
That I did, John-Boy.
That I did.
It meant that
a Walton family dream had come true.
Sometimes the realization
that you've changed
comes flooding in on you.
All in the space of a day or an hour,
or even a single moment.
That night, I realized I'd passed
the threshold into manhood.
And Daddy, it seemed, had
a little revelation of his own.
I've been mulling something
over lately, John-Boy.
I don't wanna travel anymore
for jobs, had enough of it.
I plan to start farming full-time.
Be my own boss for a change.
Think we can make do?
I expect better than that.
What do you think
your mother will say?
Well, I think she'll say,
"What took ya so damn long?"
We're supposed to meet up with them
at Calvary Bible tonight.
The colored church.
Is that a problem?
I just don't like
the idea of being preached to.
Never stepped foot in any church,
no matter what kind.
Well, at any rate, we gotta
swing by the house first.
What for?
Santa Claus is coming to the Waltons.
Hope you've been good.
You got something back there for me?
Hey, hey, keep your eyes on the road.
Among God's first words in the Bible,
"Let there be light."
And on this day, we celebrate
the birth of another light.
One that can bring us
out of our own darkness.
Now, remember that
as you pass your light on
to the person next to you.
Sister Harriet? Brother William?
Thanks, Reverend.
We'll be singing Silent Night.
Silent night
Holy night
All is calm
And all is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant
So tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly
Sleep in heavenly
Merry Christmas, Livy.
Thank you.
- Daddy!
- Daddy!
Behold the light given to us.
The miracle of Christmas.
Come, everyone, sing with us.
Silent night
Holy night
All is calm
And all is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant
So tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly
Sleep in heavenly
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn king
- Hey!
- Hey!
What's that on the porch?
Why, it's a sack. Huh?
I wonder if Santa came by
while we were gone.
What do you think?
It's a hunch.
- John.
- What do you think?
I believe Santa said
that one was for Jim-Bob.
Get it! Get it!
I think on Christmas.
Who's got something?
- Oh, that sounded great!
- I love it!
What? What's next?
- Okay, here we go!
- Wow!
Lincoln Logs!
Dahling! I'm ready for my close-up.
I bet I know
who Santa got this one for.
Well, look at that.
Look what I got!
You were right, John-Boy!
You were right!
John-Boy, would you see
if there's one in there
with... with the green ribbon on it?
Yeah, I'll look for it.
John Walton, you've outdone yourself.
I've done nothing of the sort.
This is all Santa.
Looks like Santa brought you
something too.
- Oh! What in the world?
- What?
Tulip bulbs.
Oh, John!
North Pole's a little short
on flowers but come springtime.
Now, I think there should be
one more in that sack.
- Yeah?
- Why don't you go ahead
and open it, John-Boy?
- I wonder what this is.
- Okay. All right.
What is it, son?
It's just that
when I went lookin' for you, I...
I made a promise to God that...
I made a promise to God that
if I found you safe and alive
that I would give up
my writing dream.
And I would just take care
of the family and support us.
I'm no expert on religion.
But I don't think
the Lord works that way.
If he's given you a dream...
he ain't gonna want it back.
He wants you to see it through.
You keep writing.
What's that you got in your hand?
It's a Christmas present
from John-Boy.
It's filled with his writing.
How about that?
Did you mean what you said, John?
Working the farm?
You'll stay?
Try sending me away.
You must have spent your entire
paycheck playing Santa Claus.
Oh, most anyway.
What are we gonna live on this week?
Love, woman.
Love and acceptance
were the most important gifts
we received that Christmas.
I had given up on my dream
when I prayed to save my daddy
to save my family.
But in the end, saving my family
gave me back my dream.
My brothers and sisters
went on to live their dreams, too.
Jim-Bob became a professor
of architecture at Cornell.
Jason, a bluegrass producer
in Nashville.
Erin, a casting director in LA.
And Mary Ellen became
the first female pilot
for the US Postal Service.
I eventually moved away
and became the writer
I dreamed of being.
But no matter where we find ourselves
as the years go by
Walton's Mountain remains
our lasting home.
My sister Elizabeth lives there still
with her son and his family.
She often visits our family cemetery
just like my grandpa did
with me and Mary Ellen.
And as we learned from Grandpa
that long past Christmas Eve
family is, well..
Everything is family.
Watch your step,
Great-Grandma Elizabeth.
Well, here we are.
Toby, he would have been
your great-great uncle.
I love you, John-Boy.
Merry Christmas, Mama!
Merry Christmas, Mary Ellen!
Merry Christmas, Erin!
Merry Christmas, Jim-Bob.
Merry Christmas, Jason!
Merry Christmas, Daddy!
Merry Christmas, Elizabeth.
Merry Christmas, Mama.
Merry Christmas, John-Boy.