James Travis Clark is a young African-American from the slums of Richmond, a city near Walton's Mountain. He arrives at the Walton mill looking for some work. In exchange for his work, he wants food and a bed in their barn. It is soon found that he is there because he wants a place to stay while he trains in the clean mountain air. He is a fighter.
Neither Olivia nor Grandma are very impressed with his boxing aspirations and they insist that he be told to leave. However it is soon discovered that the only reason he wishes to enter a boxing match is so that he can win some money to build a church for his people on Waltons Mountain. It seems that he has "the calling to preach". When he goes into Richmond to sign up for a fight, however, the fight he is scheduled for is a set up where the winner is predetermined, and unfortunately it is not James. He goes ahead with the fight though and does indeed lose, but not through lack of trying. At the last minute his opponent was switched.
Back at the Walton home, while he is recuperating from his wounds, the African-American people on the mountain had taken up a collection to begin building their church. With the Walton lumber, and all the people helping together, the congregation builds the foundations for their church, and James it to be their preacher. The episode ends at the first church service to be held there, even though the church isn't finished yet. The Walton family join the congregation James's church. During the episode Elizabeth and Jim Bob had commented that they didn't enjoy church because the minister spoke over their heads as if they weren't even there. As his first sermon then, James chose to tell a bible story which John Boy had rewritten for Elizabeth, and James specifically directed the sermon to the children.
- Cleavon Little as James Trevis Clark
- Zachary Charles as Ben Rafferty
- Jack Nickerson as Iron Mike McCoy