- Gino Conforti as Pete Harris
- Billy Barty as Tommy
- Barbara Davis as Belle
- John Harper as Marco
- Arthur Peterson as Homer
- Jay Ripley as Sam Holden
Opening Journal Quote
Few strangers ever came to Waltons Mountain. We got our news of the outside world from the radio or from an occasional copy of a magazine. But I remember when I was about seventeen, four visitors arrived and gave me my first unexpected glimpse of the other world beyond our mountain.
The episode opens in the kitchen where all the children are counting up money; they saved up all this money so they could go to the Carnival. They cheer when John Boy tells them that not only do they have enough for the Carnival but they have enough for a stick of cotton candy. Meanwhile, Olivia and Esther are doing some work in the kitchen, when the kids go upstairs, John Boy goes back to collect the money. Grandma washing the table knocks her glasses off and they shatter, John Boy picks them up looking at them. The glasses would cost two dollars to fix, and the families emergency money was spent on Jason’s shoes. Olivia thinks about paying for them some other way, but grandma refuses saying if that if the Walton’s cant pay with cash they do with out.
All the children are in the bathroom getting ready. John Boy tells them that Grandmother can’t do much with out her glasses. He tells them that the money is all of theirs so he can’t tell them what to do with it but that he is giving his share towards grandma’s glasses. Eventually all of the Walton Children agree to give their share, despite being disappointed that they will miss the carnival. John Boy goes downstairs to tell her; at first she wouldn’t have it. Claims her eyesight is good, John Boy and Olivia looking at her oddly, then grandma knocks a tin off the table
We see Elizabeth staring at a Carnival poster in awe, outside the general store. Mary Ellen, Jim Bob and Elizabeth enter; Ike asks them how they liked the carnival. Jim Bob says “we didn’t go Mr. Godsey” Elizabeth “Grandma broke her glasses and we have to send a money order …” Mary Ellen hushes her and asks for the money order. They go to set it up, Martha Rose Coverdale enters the store she picks up a soda commenting on the Walton’s not having been at the carnival, how exciting and sarcastically tells them she is sorry they missed it.
John Boy and Olivia are outside working on their clothes hanger. The Sheriff drives up and tells them that the carnival manger took off with all the money and that four carnies were still in the area. He has heard they have no respect for people’s property he suggests they lock everything up. Olivia wants John Boy to keep any extra eye on the children till the carnies are gone.
John Boy is reading aloud to Jim Boy and Elizabeth, after he finishes he picks Elizabeth up and puts her on her bed. John Boy is then seen writing in his journal about how he didn’t want to ask his siblings to give their share of the money, especially his youngest who cant understand as well, he leans back in his chair.
A shadow of a monkey, Jim Bob in bed sits up looks out the window where the monkey sits, he climbs out of bed and goes to the window, he calls for Elizabeth, who comes over and looks out with him. We go back to John Boy and his thoughts, a train whistle in the distances, he talks about it giving him a restless feeling he doesn’t understand, he quickly gets up and starts to pace a little.
We come back to the kids and the monkey, Jim Bob is attempting to open the window. John Boy hears the noise from his bed room window and goes to check it out. Jim Bob still struggles with the window as John Boy comes in. “Now what are you two doing?” he questions them. John Boy looks out the window but the monkey is gone. He tells them to get to bed before they get into trouble. We see the monkey seating on the roof, a figure runs up in the shadows and whistles, the monkey goes to the person and they walk off.
At the kitchen, John Boy, John and Grandpa are at the table. John Boy is reading a magazine about the Worlds Fair in Chicago; he’d like to see it. John Boy reads some of it out loud about a woman who performs nude. Olivia is shocked and yanks the magazine away from him “John Boy Walton what are you reading” she’s upset that he brought it into the house where the younger children could have stumbled upon it. John playful tries to get his wife to picture it. Grandpa talks about a past worlds fair dancer and says times haven’t changed he starts singing and doing a shoulder dance. Grandma looks on in disapproval and says its men’s foolishness that hasn’t changed. The men all burst out laughing
Jim Bob, Jason, and Elizabeth are walking on a dirt lane, looking up in the trees. Jason tells them they wouldn’t find any monkeys around there. Then Jim Bob points out the monkey in a tree. The monkey comes down and takes a piece of food from Jim Bob’s hand. John Boy is shown looking for Jason, Jason calls him over and John Boy questions them if they have seen any strangers a bout, Jason says “No, just the monkey” and points at it. After being told how friendly it is John Boy attempts to get it to come to him. It comes down and they follow it. The monkey goes to a bar and climbs in a broken window. The children head in a blond woman in a bathroom screams and hurries away behind a clothes line. Two men are sitting at a make shift table one is a little person. The Walton’s start to leave; when they see another man shaving, he looks sinister at first, he then goes into introducing them.
At the Walton’s kitchen dinner time, John Boy is telling them all about the people Olivia wants to know if they were drinking whiskey and smoking, John Boy reckons they were but their still nice folk. John Boy glances at the window and sees the troupe approaching. Olivia doesn’t want to let them in her home, this surprises John he tells her they cant judge people, that they have never turned anyone away and they aren’t about to start. Olivia reluctantly agrees but shoos the children to bed which is meet with complains. John goes to open the door and invites them in. The troupe came to return a kettle they “borrowed” They started to leave when Olivia questions if they had supper, they haven’t and happily except the invitation. They are all sitting around the table talking. Their stories of all the palaces they have been have John Boy in awe. Bell lights up a cigarette at the odd looks she quickly puts it out. The troupe hopes to get to the worlds fair where they have been promised work. John tells them of a train that stops by in the area though it may be hard for them to get on; John says he will ask a man he knows who works at the train station if he can help them out
John and Olivia in their bedroom, he comments how much the troupe ate. Olivia sits on the bed looking dazed. She says John Boy is going to leave them due to the ideas the troupe put into his head. John reminds her that those ideas were always there. “I don’t think I’ll ever have the strength to give him up” Olivia says , John tells her “ if you had the strength to raise him, you’ll have it to let him go” A scene of John Boy lying on his bed hearing the train whistle.
The Walton’s kids have brought food to the troupe, Bell gives Mary Ellen an old dress, and tells them she uses the umbrella for her tight rope act, they figured the children had seen the show, they figured every kid in the county had attended. The kids get quiet; Elizabeth says they had some family matters to attend too. Jason and Ben are fascinated by a one band instrument. The kids take off since they were told not to hang around.
Outside at the Walton’s house, Ben is doing a trick with plates as Elizabeth and Jim Bob look on, Olivia comes out and he tries juggle, they all crash to the ground. Mary Ellen in the dress climbs up a ladder. Olivia asks Grandpa where his son is, they see Mary Ellen on a roof pretending it’s a tight rope, John pulls up and sees her. Mary Ellen is punished by having to recite ten Bible verses in her room.
Grandpa and John arrive at Rockfish Station. They speak to a worker (Sam) they don’t want him to do anything that would risk his job as he as four children and one on the way. He says it’ll be ok and to just have them there by 9oclock and he’ll see that they get on the train.
John Boy walking sees Tommy by a pound. He goes to tell him that their ride is all arranged. John Boy says he’d like to go to all the places they spoke of. Tommy tells him that one day he will. John Boy is frustrated that things he sees and hears makes him restless, he feels that life is rushing past him. They start to walk away John Boy tells Tommy of his desire to become a writer, an achievement he doesn’t think he will make if he stays there. Tommy tells him that he will leave when its time for him to leave and that he will know it, Tommy lets him know he was in a similar situation at one time
The Walton’s praying before they eat, a letter is slipped under the door Elizabeth runs to retrieve it. It’s an invitation from the troupe to go to the barn. They arrive at the barn mildly dressed up. They are treated to their own private performance by the whole troupe, they laugh and applaud. At the station Sam is relaxing with his feet on the desk, a man enters. Sam is surprised to see that it’s his boss Homer. Homer came to tell him his wife has gone into labor. Back at the barn Bell is walking the tight rope. At the end of the performance they take bows and start to sing, the Walton’s join them.
As they started to load things into the truck, Olivia apologizes to Bell for judging her; she helps her with her suitcase. Bell takes out embroidery of flowers she made, she tells Olivia that she never had the chance to settle and grow real ones, she offers it to Olivia. Bell questions Olivia on what it’s like living in one place, raising a family. Olivia tells her it’s the only way she knows. Bell thinks there’d be nothing to be afraid of all the time, Olivia compares it to the tight rope she thinks with her experience that Bell will be good at it.
They drive off and the Walton’s call out goodbyes. When they pull up they are surprised to see Homer, who refuses to let them on the train. Grandpa mentions a train that takes boot leg whiskey, Homer turns his back. After some more talk Homer agrees to let them on, as the train starts to pull away John Boy attempts to give Tommy a book he dropped he yells “Its Yours”. Its turns out to be a copy of Moby Dick
The Narrator – Says that the carnival people left Walton’s Mountain and that they received a post card saying they had arrived safely in Chicago. The narrator mentions that years later when he left home to go to school, he took the book Tommy gave to him and that whenever he opens it he thinks of these four people who gave him his first glimpse of the world beyond the mountain.
- The German episode title is "Der Wanderzirkus", meaning "The Travelling Circus".
- Elizabeth: Where do goblins live?
- Jason: Oh, just about anywhere I reckon
- Jim Bob: How about monkeys?
- Jason: Well, you wouldn’t find any around here
- John Boy: 8 o'clock the train is just going over the trestle at Rockfish. It makes a lonesome sound and far out there in the night it fills me with a restless feeling I don't rightly understand.
- Olivia: I will not have these people inside this house.
- John: Liv--can't judge people, where they came from, or what they wear... what they do. Now we never turned anyone away from this door; we're not going to start now.
- John Boy: Now listen, you all I know grandmother wouldn’t like to admit it, but with out her glasses she just can't even see to read or write her own name.
- Mary Ellen: Or crotchet, and you know how Grandma loves to crochet.