The Walton case, which happened in 1975, received considerable mainstream publicity and remains one of the best-known instances of alien abduction. UFO historian Jerome Clark writes that "Few abduction reports have generated as much controversy" as the Walton case. It is furthermore one of the very few alien abduction cases with corroborative eyewitnesses, and one of few abduction cases where the time allegedly spent in the custody of aliens plays a rather minor role in the overall account.
UFO researchers Jenny Randles and Peter Hough write that "Neither before or since has an abduction story" begun in the manner related by Walton and his coworkers. Furthermore, the Walton case is singular in that "the victim vanished for days on end with police squads out searching ... it is an atypical 'Close Encounter: Fourth Kind' (CE4) ... which bucks the trend so much that it worried some investigators; others defend it staunchly." (Randles and Hough, 186)