John Walton is working away from his family and Olivia is becoming very concerned about how the workload is affecting him and his health. Olivia is a bit concerned about her own health too. Neither John nor Olivia are really comfortable being apart from one another so Jason suggests that perhaps John could take Olivia with him on his next business trip, which he does. At Charlottesville, when John realises that Olivia's forehead is quite hot, she suggests that the pair of them drive over to Alberene and see her Aunt Kate's doctor. The Doctor gives John the all clear, and Olivia too, after doing some tests, but we see the Doctor and Aunt Kate exchange glances as John and Olivia leave.
John takes Olivia on a surprise vacation to the beach, where the two can rest and relax. They arrive home, both feeling much better, however before they have even unpacked, Aunt Kate arrives to tell them that Olivia has the early stages of tuberculosis and must go to a sanitorium near Alberene. The family is devestated but realises that she does need to go.
Olivia is ready to leave the next morning, with Aunt Kate, and she heads downstairs to find her family looking very down. She tells her family to just pretend that she is off to Ike's to buy groceries, instead of looking so forlorn. Jim Bob has been practising a song, Beautiful Dreamer, on an accordian given to him by Zuleika Dunbar, and he plays it for his Mama just as she is leaving, then can't hold back a hug. The others all follow with hugs and kisses of their own and finally, Olivia and Aunt Kate leave.
It is during this episode that Elizabeth is learning to cook, with Grandma teaching her, but her cake doesn't quite taste the way Elizabeth believes that Grandma's does. She wonders what she is doing wrong, and finally Grandma takes a bottle from a cupboard and lets Elizabeth in on the secret ingredient which she has always added to this cake...a little of "the recipe".
- Neva Patterson as Aunt Kate
- NOTE 1: This episode was the final one for the season which Michael Learned appeared. She reappeared intermittently during the final two seasons.
- NOTE 2: Aunt Kate, we are told, is Olivia's mother's younger sister