THE BACKDROP WAS THE SAN gabriel Mountains, near Los Angeles, not the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. And none of the old TV clan was in attendance. Still the atmosphere was appropriately Waltonesque on Nov. 20 in the Los Feliz section of L.A. when actor Richard Thomas, 43—John-Boy from 1972 to '77—married Georgiana Bischoff, 34, a Santa Fe art dealer. Many of the 50 guests were blood relations—and a fair share took part in the ceremony. "It was a big family picnic," says Thomas. "There was such a feeling of love from the kids."

The wedding party included all four of Thomas's children from his 18-year first marriage to onetime teacher Alma Gonzales, which ended in divorce last year. His son Richard Francisco, 18, was best man, and his 13-year-old triplet daughters, Barbara, Pilar and Gwyneth, served as bridesmaids along with Bischoff's daughters from her two previous marriages, Brooke Murphy, 14, and Kendra Kneisel, 9. When Bischoff walked up the aisle in an ivory velvet dress, she was led by her brother Anselm, one of eight siblings (another stayed home to mind the family's Native American crafts store in Scottsdale, Ariz.) who attended the wedding.

Romance was far from the minds of bride and groom when the pair met in 1992. Recently separated, Thomas was in a play in Scottsdale and feeling edgy when he ran across Georgy, as he calls her, in the family store. "I was rolling around like a pea on a drum," says Thomas. "She was so nice, I kept going back." Bischoff was newly divorced, and the two talked for hours about their heartaches, keeping in touch by phone. "We never wanted to get married again," she says. "But when the passion came, it was great." They plan to renew their vows in a ceremony arranged by Bischoff, who is one-quarter Pueblo Indian, on the Navajo reservation in Arizona next May. "The medicine men won't do weddings in winter, because it is a time of quiet and death," she explains. "Spring is a time of life and new beginnings. But," adds Bischoff, giggling, "we couldn't wait."