"Prayer, Family and Real Love Triumph"
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A WALTONS THANKSGIVING is another wonderful program. A very kind, gentle and homey manner permeates the entire movie. There’s always sufficient jeopardy that propels the story and keeps it exciting. This time, Olivia Walton has the strongest role. Best of all, faith and family underlie every scene, with prayer and family love taking the lead. A WALTONS THANKSGIVING is a delightful Thanksgiving treat.
The revival of THE WALTONS in last year’s Christmas movie, THE WALTONS’ HOMECOMING, which had the biggest CW audience of the 2021-2022 season, followed by this year’s A WALTONS THANKSGIVING movie, is a wonderful and welcome relief from edgy entertainment which features faith, family and morality. Who could ask for anything more?
Like last year’s special, Richard Thomas, who starred in the original series, introduces the program by talking about the need for Thanksgiving during these difficult times.
Cut to 1934, which is just after the worst year of the Great Depression. John Walton Sr. has decided to take up farming full time instead of working at the mill 90 miles away from his family. The harvest was poor but sufficient. John Boy, the oldest of the Walton children, has his head in the clouds thinking about his writing and often fails to take responsibility for his many chores and family obligations. The story begins a few days before Thanksgiving at the Walton family breakfast table. Everyone takes turns saying what they’re thankful for, with Olivia (the mother) concluding, “I thank the Good Lord every day for this family.”
Discussion turns to the annual Harvest Festival Fair which is soon approaching. Elizabeth and Jim Bob meet a traveling carnival huckster – Abner, his wife Selma, and their young employee, Red, who tells them he’s an orphan whom nobody had adopted. It’s clear that the carnival man treats Red very badly.
Another storyline centers on Olivia, who’s been asked to be a judge in the festival pie contest. Grandma (Olivia’s mother-in-law) wins every year, so the pressure is on.
Meanwhile, John Boy is conflicted between two girls that he’s interested in. The first is Maggie, the previous packhorse librarian from The Waltons’ Homecoming, who’s gone off to college but still writes to him. The new packhorse librarian is Edith, who also sits next to him in class.
Mary Ellen and Jason are preparing a Christian Gospel song, “In the Sweet By and By”, to perform in the talent contest at the Harvest Festival Fair. She’s quite the perfectionist and gets angry at her brother for not keeping up with her singing with his banjo playing during practice at the Church. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., who play Sister Harriett and Brother William and have also been to the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards, advise Mary Ellen to support each other and apologize to her brother. Moreover, Erin Walton is practicing a scene from ROMEO AND JULIET for the talent contest.
Eventually, it’s the day of the Harvest Festival Fair. When Grandpa tells Grandma how difficult it will be for Olivia to judge the pie contest fairly, she surreptitiously slides her beautiful pie as he sits down on a bus bench. The pie is smashed into a goopy mess but she still enters it into the competition. When they all arrive at the fair entrance, John Walton hands each of his kids some money and tells them to go off and have some fun. John Boy is tasked with the responsibility to look after Elizabeth, who only wants to see Red, the orphan boy, at the duck pond game.
During the pie judging, Olivia nervously selects her favorite choices. She doesn’t even taste the smashed pie on style alone. Once the ballots are tabulated by Mrs. Abernathy, the richest woman in the county, Grandma’s pie doesn’t even make the top 3! Olivia is beside herself and decides to tell Grandma herself.
At the talent show, Erin freezes while Mary Ellen loses her place in the song. Jason comes to her rescue and they manage to place 3rd. Erin is approached by Rose, Brother William, and Sister Harriett who offer her a directing role at the Church play. She seems to have a natural ability for it vs. her acting.
While John Boy is distracted with both Edith and Maggie, little Elizabeth runs off to chase a rabbit into the woods. When John Boy tells his family she’s missing, everyone begins to panic. Red abandons his post, despite the potential wrath of Abner, to try and find her.
Will he or anyone else find Elizabeth? Will Red be punished by Abner? Will everything end well?
A WALTONS THANKSGIVING is another wonderful program. A very kind, gentle and homey manner permeates the movie. There’s always sufficient jeopardy that propels the story and keeps it exciting. This time, Olivia has the strongest role. Best of all, faith and family underlie every scene, with prayer and family love taking the lead.
A WALTONS THANKSGIVING is a delightful Thanksgiving treat that will help audiences understand why it’s so important to give thanks to God and to love each other.
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