The Waltons (1971) s07e14 Episode Script

The Conscience

Hey! You take back what you said about my brother! I do believe this boy is peeved at us, Bert.
Yeah, well, don't blame us 'cause your brother's a chicken.
You have no right to say that.
- Yeah, well, who's gonna stop us? - I am! Come on, boy, you show us how brave you are.
Put up or shut up, squirt! The weeks that followed the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor affected our family deeply.
It was a time of great anxiety and uncertainty.
And like all Americans, we wanted to contribute to the war effort as best we could.
My brother, Jason, was particularly troubled during this time.
He wanted to serve his country, but doubts of conscience forced him to face one of the most difficult decisions of his life.
You're making a big mistake, Jason.
- I still haven't decided anything.
- You can't keep putting it off.
You won't get drafted right now because you've served your time in the Guard, - but that could change in a hurry.
- I know.
Our whole outfit is regular Army now.
A lot of your old buddies are asking about you.
You'd be a cinch to get sergeant stripes, then maybe go on to OCS, the way I did.
But you've finished college already.
I have to think about it.
I just wanted you to know, we'd like to have you with us.
I'll call you.
Thanks for coming by.
Good luck.
Remember, time's a-wasting.
Take care, Billy.
What did you tell Billy? I told him I needed some more time.
Would it help to talk about it? Yes, it would.
But right now I've got a class to make.
Somehow, school doesn't seem very important these days.
You're so close to finishing, it would be a shame if you didn't.
I so feel guilty when I hear about the guys in my old Guard outfit.
- Might be good to serve with your friends.
- I guess it would.
I've got to get going.
See you later.
You think he should give up everything now just to be with his friends? He'd be with men he knows.
I'm having enough trouble with John-Boy joining up in England.
Being a reporter for Stars and Stripes isn't the same as being a foot soldier.
Reporting on a war means being in the line of fire.
If that's not bad enough, I expect Jim-Bob to come home any day now and say he's joined the Air Corps.
They won't take him yet, so take it easy.
Ben's still here, we've got enough government contracts to last us for a long time.
He's getting impatient.
All he ever talks about now is the Navy.
Let's face it, Liv.
There's a war, that means men, young men.
I listen to the radio and I read the newspapers.
But these are our sons we're talking about.
No, that is not it.
Oh, here, let me do it.
Now, that is the way it should be.
That is where I had it to begin with.
Godsey, you simply lack the artistic touch.
Hey, Ike, Corabeth.
You're just in time to see, we just put John-Boy's name up there.
Looks good, sure does.
I suppose it won't be long before we'll be adding your name up there.
I don't know how soon it will be.
Don't wait too long.
Army needs young men like you.
Here's a dollar for the gas, Ike.
I'm just so proud of all our fine young men in the service.
I just pray we don't lose any more boys.
Still hurts when we think of G.
And Curt.
I've got to be getting to school.
See you later.
- Boy, he'll be in the service in no time.
- Don't be so certain.
He's so sensitive.
I just can't think of Jason as a warrior.
I sure am sorry, Walton.
But the regulations haven't changed.
Without you getting permission from your parents, you're still too young to join the Air Corps.
- I'm getting tired of waiting.
- I admire your spirit, but rules are rules.
Yeah, but I'm ready to join the fight right now.
You know, so am I.
But I'm close to retirement, so they've got me running a recruiting office, instead of doing what I was trained for.
- What was that? - Cavalry.
Served in France.
Been a horse soldier ever since.
Well, up till now, that is.
But at least I'm doing my part.
- I'm sure not.
- You will, Walton.
I got a feeling you're gonna make a good pilot one of these days and we're going to need them.
- You come see me on your birthday.
- Yes, sir.
Sergeant Gates said I'd make a good pilot.
Recruiting officer will say almost anything to keep you interested.
No, he was really nice.
He didn't talk to me like I was a dumb kid.
If it wasn't for that rule about age, I'd be in right now.
- And Mama wouldn't be talking to you.
- I wouldn't be where she could talk to me.
I'm thinking about the Navy.
- Daddy needs you right here.
- Anybody could be doing what I'm doing.
- I want to get in with the action.
- Why are you so anxious to go? There's a war on, Jason.
Don't you feel uncomfortable when you're not in uniform? Sure I do.
But that's not reason enough to rush out and put one on.
Going to be joining up with the old outfit? - I'm not sure yet.
- You're crazy not to join now, Jason.
I'm the one who's facing going right now, Jim-Bob.
Not you or Ben.
- What's wrong with him? - Beats me.
- What are you up to? - Just reading an old book of poetry.
It's funny, when I was in school I didn't like poetry much.
It seems to have more meaning for me now.
It's kind of like music when something gets you down.
What did you want to talk to me about? What's on your mind? The war.
War's on everybody's mind.
I've been really confused lately, wondering whether to join up now or wait.
Don't do anything until you have to.
I kind of feel like I have a responsibility to get in on the fight.
- You sound just like Curt.
- I've been thinking a lot about Curt lately.
Our family's sacrificed enough already.
I don't want any of my brothers going off to war.
Most men my age don't have any choice.
Don't join, Jason.
We need you here at home.
It's not just the joining up that's bothering me.
Mary Ellen, I don't know if I can kill another human being, not even for my country.
Jim-Bob, have you seen my dictionary? - What have you done to yourself? - Nothing.
Stop sneaking up on me.
I'm not sneaking! Let me see! Come on, let me see! Oh, what is that awful thing on your arm? - It's an Army Air Corps tattoo.
- It's ugly.
It is not.
I like it.
That's the stupidest thing you've ever done.
- I'm proud of it.
- Well, you better be.
'Cause you're gonna have to live with it the rest of your life.
- Mama's going to disown you.
- You better not tell her, Erin.
I won't tell her.
But how long do you think you can keep a thing like that a secret? Well, at least till I get in the Air Corps.
Want to see it move? Oh, Jim-Bob, that's revolting! - Guys in the Air Corps are going to love it.
- The girls are going to hate it.
- Not all girls are like you, Erin.
- Nice ones are.
Where are you off to? I've been wanting to go up there lately.
Lonesome for the mountain.
I know how you feel.
Mind if I join you? Let's get a front row seat.
You followed me here, didn't you? It was what you said last night.
It's not easy to talk about, with anyone.
You shouldn't feel that way, Jason.
I talked to the hospital chaplain today and he opened my eyes to a lot of things.
Did he say there was something wrong with me? He had no idea who I was talking about.
But he said that anyone who feels the way you do is probably just a little more sensitive and honest than the rest of us.
All my life I've been taught that killing is wrong.
I don't know if I can change now, or even if I want to.
"Thou shalt not kill.
" Those aren't just words to me.
You don't have to change, Jason.
You can do your part without killing.
The Army doesn't work like that.
A soldier has one purpose, to kill the enemy.
We've all been taught that killing is totally against God's plan.
That's true.
But I can't deny the fact that sometimes we have to fight to survive.
Doesn't make much sense, does it? The chaplain said that there's a law called the conscience clause.
It exempts men from carrying a weapon if he can prove that his moral and religious beliefs are too strong to justify killing.
I know.
But I also know how people look on conscientious objectors.
The ones in work camps take a lot of abuse from the public, and those in uniform get sneered at by the troops, even though they work as medics or ambulance drivers right there in the combat zone.
Thought we were supposed to be fighting for freedom of thought, among other things.
You have to sacrifice a lot of freedoms in war time.
It's just so hard to prove you're really sincere about something like this.
You have a good reputation, Jason.
Everybody would speak up for you.
And a lot of others would call me a coward.
You're not a coward.
I wonder.
- I'm Sergeant Gates.
- Jason Walton.
- Coffee? - No, thanks.
I just came for some information.
- Have a seat.
- Thanks.
Walton, Walton - You any relation to James Robert? - My youngest brother.
Spunky young man.
Hope he doesn't do anything rash before he's of age.
That's how my folks feel.
So, you want to sign up before he beats you to it, huh? Well, I do want to serve as best I can.
But I really came for some information about being a conscientious objector.
Do you know what you're asking for? No, not really.
That's why I'm here.
I don't think you understand what you're getting yourself into.
I mean, you're gonna ruin your future, in the Army and the rest of your life.
I just want the information, Sergeant.
Do I have to go elsewhere? I'm just trying to help you, Walton.
This is supposed to be taken care of by your local draft board.
Now, this is a Selective Service pamphlet.
There's a form in it that you apply for conscientious objector.
My advice to you is, don't use it.
Howdy, Sergeant.
You got our induction papers yet? Yeah, Sarge.
We're raring to go! Your papers are all ready, you just hold up a bit.
Now, if you go through with this, you're not the only one that's gonna have a hard time.
Your whole family is gonna suffer.
Can I just have the pamphlet, Sergeant? You told them about your being a CO? Not yet.
Well, at least with John Curtis walking now, he doesn't wear out the knees of his rompers so quickly.
He'll get back to his knees as soon as he starts playing marbles.
I used to have to sew patches on Jim-Bob's patches.
Remember how your mama used to mend your coveralls after sliding into home or trying to stretch a single into a double? - Which was easier, Mama, boys or girls? - Neither.
Not having children would have been easier.
- Well, another night at the Dew Drop.
- At least you get to go out.
All they want to hear is Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.
How about Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree? That, too, but it's a job.
Jason! Found this on the floor.
Is this yours? - What if it is? - You're crazy! You know that? What's going on? I went to the recruiting office today, Daddy.
I picked up this conscientious objector pamphlet.
I just want to study it.
What do you think other people are gonna say about you? Ben, you don't know what you're talking about.
Now, wait a minute.
Nobody's given Jason a chance to explain.
Mama, I haven't done anything definite yet.
Then don't.
Give yourself plenty of time to think this out.
Don't worry, I will.
I've got to get going.
You're not going to let him do that, are you, Daddy? Ben, you're more concerned about what people are going to say than about how Jason feels.
Don't you care about what other people say about you? This family has suffered enough by this war already.
Hold it, now.
Jason said he was gonna think about it.
Give him time.
- He'll do the right thing.
- And just what is the right thing, John? Fighting among ourselves isn't gonna help Jason any.
He's got enough on his mind as it is.
- It's chilly.
You want a sweater? - No.
I remember the night Jason was born.
It was cold like this.
He's confused and scared, Liv.
I just don't want him to do something he's gonna regret.
He'll work it out for himself.
There are times when a man just doesn't have a choice.
You think it's wrong for Jason to listen to his own feelings? You can't run away from yourself and that's just what Jason is doing.
- You sound so sure.
- I know what he's thinking.
I know if he doesn't face up to it now, he'll always question himself.
I just can't let him throw away his pride.
His pride or yours? That's not fair, Liv.
I grew up believing there are some things a man doesn't question.
Serving his country is one.
Fighting to protect his family is another.
I can't change now.
I wouldn't expect you to, John.
I love you for being strong and sure, just as I love Jason because he isn't.
I love him, too.
That's why I won't let him do anything that will ruin his life.
I'm cold.
Let's go inside.
Quit rubbing so hard, Erin.
Jim-Bob, this nail polish remover isn't going to work, either.
We've tried every cleaner we've got.
I don't think that tattoo is coming off.
I sure thought the Baldwins' Recipe would do it.
Maybe Ike will have something.
We sure don't.
You know, I don't think I'm gonna have to go to Ike's.
- How come? - It feels like my skin is coming off.
- Hey, Ace.
- Hey.
We'd stick around this dump longer, barkeep, but we don't like that piano player of yours.
Yeah, he's got himself a yellow streak this wide.
Let's go, Bert.
Now, you hold on, you guys! Nobody's gonna talk about my brother that way.
Go away, shorty.
We don't want any trouble.
- I'm gonna give you some.
- Let go, boy! All right, that's enough.
Why don't you just relax and go on home? What are you going to do about it, chicken? - You're a lousy CO.
- Yeah, come on, boy.
- Let's see you fight.
- I don't want to fight you.
Come on.
Come on, it's my turn, slacker.
Come on, Jason, we can lick 'em.
You don't belong in the Army.
Scared of his own shadow.
You see now? Your brother is a coward.
Then I'll take you.
Wouldn't be fair.
Two against one.
Come on.
- You all right, Ben? - Why didn't you fight them? I don't care what those jerks think.
- They called you a coward.
- Doesn't mean I am one.
Are you sure of that, Jason? You slept late.
- No classes till this afternoon.
- There's some warm biscuits in the oven.
- I'm not hungry.
- You doing the crossword puzzle? - No.
I'm looking at all the things that might be rationed soon.
We're lucky we live in the country.
I wish we could grow tires.
The coupe needs them.
- What happened to your chin? - Ben didn't tell you? No.
I got into a little tussle outside the Dew Drop last night.
- You, in a fight? - Is that so hard to believe? It's not like you, Jason.
I didn't fight back.
Ben thinks I should have.
They called me a coward.
Now, why would they do a thing like that? They were in the recruiting office yesterday when I picked up my CO pamphlet.
- Where's Daddy? - He and Ben went to Charlottesville.
It takes courage to go against the tide, Jason.
I wish I could help.
Men seem to be the experts on killing.
There's no reason why you have to be like everybody else.
That's not the right thing to be thinking about these days.
You got to think about it in your own time.
Whatever you decision, you're gonna have to live with it - for the rest of your life.
- So will our whole family.
You got to consider yourself before any of us.
It would help me to know how you feel about it.
Probably the same way the first mother felt when she had to send her son off to war.
Mostly, I want you to be alive and unhurt.
But I also want you to feel right about the kind of life you're living, whether we're at war or at peace.
I thought about all that, about honor and responsibility, and doing your part.
I've always believed in those things.
There are different kinds of courage, Jason.
I know.
I've just got to talk to Daddy.
He may see things differently than we do.
- I hope he'll have some answers for me.
- I'm sure he will.
Just you be honest with him, and try to tell him as best you can what you've been going through.
I'll just have to make him understand.
Is this the strongest thing you got, Ike? That'll take the spots off a zebra and the stripes off a leopard or vice versa.
- What about ink? - Well, sure, it'll get rid of ink.
- But don't let it get on your skin.
- Why not? Well, because it's got acid in it, and it'll burn your skin.
Got anything that won't burn your skin? Exactly what is it that you want to remove? It's personal.
You can tell me.
Your mama's going to kill you.
That's why I need to find something to take it off.
Jim-Bob, I don't have anything that'll take that off.
Ike, you've got to help me.
You're my last hope.
You know, come to think about it, I did have a friend that tried to take off a tattoo.
It seems his girlfriend was unhappy 'cause he had another girl's name on his arm.
- What'd he do? - Well, he tried two things.
He put a poultice together with milk and bread.
Then, afterwards, he tried a piece of raw liver on his arm.
I can't even eat liver.
Did the tattoo go away? No.
Maybe if I tried both of them.
- Do you smell something? - No.
Can't you smell that? Elizabeth, I don't know what you're talking about.
Smells horrible, like sour milk.
It's stronger near you.
- Where are you going? - Upstairs where I can study in peace.
I need to talk to you, Daddy.
All right, Son.
Let's go to the office.
- We had fudge brownies for dessert.
- I don't want any.
That's good.
There's none left.
I really appreciate that, Elizabeth.
Daddy, I don't want you to be ashamed of me because of something I've done, something I might do.
I doubt that could ever happen, Son.
I have a feeling you don't think the same way I do about this conscientious objector business.
You've got to remember, you're talking to an old soldier.
You think I'm wrong? Yes, I do, Jason, if you go through with it.
But it's your decision.
I need help making it.
All right, Son.
I'll try to help you.
Why don't you tell me what's on your mind? Well, it's nothing new.
I've always felt this way about killing.
I understand about having to kill stock to feed the family, but I usually made myself scarce whenever Grandpa was slaughtering a hog or you were taking an ax to chickens and turkeys.
Nobody likes those chores, Son, but they're jobs that have to be done.
I realize that.
When it comes to killing another man, that's very different.
I just know I couldn't do it.
What makes you so sure, Jason? We've talked about this before.
Remember those bayonet drills in the National Guard? - I thought you worked all that out, Son.
- We weren't at war then.
It was the main reason I didn't re-enlist.
I've had nightmares about sticking that steel blade in that dummy.
It was filled with straw, but I couldn't help thinking that there'd be screaming flesh and blood coming at me, and maybe I just couldn't do it.
And in that second of hesitation, it could mean the difference in a buddy's life or a whole squad, a platoon, who knows? I know how you feel, Jason.
I had those feelings over in the trenches in France.
Every man questions his limits, Son.
But there comes a time when you've got to believe you'll be there when you have to be.
That time is now, Jason.
The enemy has attacked us.
They're out to destroy our way of life and they'll stop at nothing to do it.
Don't worry, Son.
When the time comes, you'll be there.
I wish I was as sure of that as you are.
Jason, the Waltons have always been there.
Your grandpa and everybody who came before him.
I've been thinking a lot about Grandpa lately.
He was a man of peace, Jason, but he fought in the Spanish-American war.
And our family fought on both sides in the war between the states.
And they fought for this land before that.
Remember how Pa used to tell us we ought to be proud of the pioneer stock in our family? Jason, this is fought-for land.
Remember how Pa used to say we owe something to all our family that's over there in the family graveyard? Remember how Pa used to talk like that? I've been thinking a lot about maybe going up on the mountain.
- Maybe spending the night there.
- It's the best place in the world, Son.
- You want to come along? - No, I don't think so.
This is a trip you ought to make by yourself.
I think I'm gonna turn in.
I want to get an early start.
Good night, Jason.
Good night, Dad.
Jim-Bob, you'll never convince me that liver is gonna take off a tattoo.
Ike said it might work.
That's what he told you about the milk and bread poultice you tried.
Hurry up.
- No, no, no.
Quick, okay.
- What are you doing? - Changing a light bulb.
Don't stare, Elizabeth.
It's not polite.
He just walked in.
Jason? It's for you.
Billy Streeter.
Hello? I haven't decided yet.
I need some more time.
I know that.
I'm prepared to take my chances.
You and the other guys are just gonna have to go on without me.
Look, Billy, I know you mean well, but just stay off my back, will you? Yeah, I'm sorry.
Good luck.
I'm sorry about last night, Ben.
You shouldn't have stood up for me.
Should've done it yourself.
I'm going up on the mountain early.
Good night.
Jason, wait.
Did a lot of thinking about last night.
I want you to take over my job at the mill.
- I couldn't do that.
What about you? - It'd be the best for both of us.
That way I can go into the Navy and you can get out of fighting.
- I don't want to get out of anything.
- I'm trying to do you a favor.
I thought you said you didn't want to fight.
Don't do me any favors.
I'm trying to save you the embarrassment! You're trying to save yourself the embarrassment, Ben.
That's right, I am.
'Cause I can't see you disgracing this family! I'm sorry you feel that way.
But not sorry enough to change your mind, right? No, Ben.
Jason, you're running away.
Those guys were right.
You're a coward! Jason! Must be beautiful up in the mountain today.
Thank heavens the mountain never changes.
Why is it every generation seems to have to have a war? I figure this one won't last long, Liv, once we really get into it.
In the meantime, it's tearing our family apart.
We all see it differently.
I pray to God, when this nightmare is over, we never have to go through another.
Jim-Bob went back to bed again.
- Well, wake him up.
He'll be late for school.
- It'll be a pleasure.
Maybe if we take care of things in this world, Liv, Elizabeth's children won't have to grow up and go off to war.
Jim-Bob, you're coming apart! - Elizabeth, go away! - What's the matter, Elizabeth? - Nothing's the matter.
Go away.
Elizabeth? You all right? - He's cut himself open.
His arm's all raw.
- Are you hurt, Jim-Bob? - Everybody relax.
It's only a piece of liver.
- Erin, you promised not to tell.
- Oh, Jim-Bob, it's too late.
- Now what's going on around here? - I had this piece of liver on my arm.
Told you I saw raw meat.
What on earth would make you do such a thing? Come on, Jim-Bob.
We haven't got all day.
What is it? It's a tattoo.
Oh, Jim-Bob.
- It's the Army Air Corps insignia.
- It's more revolting than the liver.
That's what I keep telling him.
I can't believe you would do such a thing.
It's disgusting.
What am I gonna do, Daddy? It won't come off.
Looks to me like you're gonna have to live with this the rest of your life.
Question is, how are you gonna live with your mama? Let me help you, Mama.
- Are you still mad at me? - No, I'm furious.
- You knew I wouldn't approve.
- I'm sorry, I just didn't think.
Saw that Air Corps insignia and I just had to have the tattoo.
You know how much I want to join the Air Corps.
I most certainly do.
So does everyone else this side of Richmond.
If you'd let me join, you wouldn't have to look at it.
Sorry, Jim-Bob.
That won't work.
I'd rather have you here and unhurt for now, - even with that thing on your arm.
- I promise I'll keep it covered.
I'd appreciate that.
Who knows? It might go away.
Ike says that happens sometimes.
- Then we'll just have to hope for the best.
- Thanks, Mom.
I knew you'd understand.
You cold? There's a chill in the air tonight.
Seems nice and warm to me.
I guess I'm thinking about Jason up on the mountain.
He's been up there overnight before.
I know.
Guess I'm thinking more about myself than him.
Is that why you're trying to turn this place into a Turkish bath? I guess so.
I said some real mean things to him, Daddy.
I just didn't mean them.
I think he understands that, Son.
I hope so.
I was thinking about going up on the mountain tomorrow morning and see if I can find him and ask him if he wants a ride home.
Well, I think Jason would appreciate that.
He's probably up there right now, sleeping in a blanket, staring at the stars.
It's a great place to find peace of mind.
I hope he does.
I hope so, too.
What's the matter with you, Walton? Don't you like that thought? - I can see what you're saying is true, sir.
- All right.
Let me see you hit that dummy, yelling as you go.
Move! That's it! You got him! Stick it in him again.
That's it! You got him! Stick it in him again.
Come on! Get him again.
That's it! Stick it in him again.
That's it.
Grandpa, I came up here because that's what you always did when something wasn't clear in your mind.
I remember you told me that the mountain couldn't lie, that it and the truth were bound together.
Well, your world up here is still beautiful, still peaceful.
But the world off this mountain, it's filled with hate right now.
You wouldn't like it much, Grandpa.
I sure wish you could be here to tell me how I could fit into a world like that.
Give yourself plenty of time to think this out.
Don't wait too long.
Army needs young men like you.
I'm just so proud of all our fine young men in the service.
They're trying to destroy our way of life and they'll stop at nothing to do it.
You're crazy not to join now, Jason.
You have to consider yourself before any of us.
Jason, this is fought-for land.
Your whole family is gonna suffer.
Remember how Pa used to tell us we ought to be proud of the pioneer stock in our family? You don't belong in the Army.
Scared of his own shadow.
When the time comes, you'll be there.
I can't see you disgracing this family! You're not a coward.
Every man questions his limits, Son.
The Waltons have always been there.
Don't worry, Son.
When the time comes, you'll be there.
- Thought you might like a ride home.
- Sure would.
I'm really sorry, Jason.
I had no right to say those things to you.
I'll back you up with whatever you decide.
Thanks, Ben.
- Here, I'll take this for you, Jason.
- Thanks.
I was about to send a search party out for you two.
Ben drove me into Rockfish.
I took that conscientious objector pamphlet back to the sergeant.
I didn't fill it out.
I was hoping that would happen.
Hope you did it for yourself, not for me or anyone else.
I did it for me.
I did it because I'm a part of this family and a part of this country.
Without either one, I wouldn't be here or be what I am.
And what you are is pretty damn good, Son.
I enlisted, Mama.
I can finish college first, though.
I don't have to report until after I graduate.
I feel better for it.
It's all I need to know.
You don't have to tell me any more.
Jason had searched his soul and found an inner strength that would help him enter a new phase of his life.
Jim-Bob's tattoo remained on his arm, a symbol of his youthful lack of judgment as well as his commendable ambition.
It is to this day a topic which amuses everyone, except my mother.
Jim-Bob, quit tossing and turning, will you? I can't go to sleep.
Well, neither can I! Not with you spinning around like a whirling dervish.
What's the matter, Jim-Bob? Well, I got to thinking about my Army Air Corps tattoo.
What if I end up flying for the Navy or the Marines? They'd really get on you, Jim-Bob.
That's what would happen.
Pleasant dreams, Jim-Bob.
Good night, Mama.
English - SDH