The debut episode of The Waltons is set in 1933, with the Walton family of Virginia coping as best they can with the ravages of the Depression. The emphasis is on eldest Walton son John-Boy (Richard Thomas), who is struggling to communicate with a melancholy deaf girl named Holly (Erica Hunton), whose mother Ruth (Charlotte Stewart) had abandoned the girl on the Walton doorstep. Almost miraculously, John-Boy and his siblings are able to break through to Holly and teach her sign language. Unfortunately, while trying to convey the information that John-Boy's sister Elizabeth (Kami Cotler) has gotten locked in a trunk, Holly is intercepted by her father Anson (Richard Kelton), who, failing to understand the girl's wild gesticulations, takes her home, leaving poor Elizabeth to her fate!
by Hal Erickson synopsis