This would have been a great episode to open the series: it focuses wholly on the Walton family and it gives each member something to do. The writing is sharp and JB&E's little adventure at the end is a good twist. Some nice acting too.
I admit I was rooting for John all the way through this. It's all very well for the children to get mushy over selling the family livestock but they don't have to pay the bills. At least John-boy seems to understand this. I did think it was harsh of Mr Anderson to tell Jim-Bob and Elizabeth that the calf was going to be sold for slaughter, but you do have to wonder where they think their sausages come from.
I loved Olivia's face when she took the decision to buy back the calf. Now that's determination! Was hoping for a bit more of a fight when John came home but he just seemed to shrug it off. If I were John I'd have fixed the car then taken the money they spent buying the creature back out of their rations.
Lastly, I love that the only characters to keep their names from Spencer's Mountain are Olivia and the family milkcow. Class!