In Civil War-era New England, the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy grow up amidst near-poverty as their mother, Marmee, guides them along and their father is away fighting in the war. When a new, spirited wealthy boy, Laurie, moves in next door, the girls become intrigued, but it is would-be writer Jo develops a friendship and eventually wins his heart. Her choices are even more complicated when she meets kindhearted German scholar Friedrich Bhaer in New York. Does an independent woman like Jo have feelings for either of them? But, as all of the sisters are confronted by an ensemble of characters, some even more desperate than they are and others wealthy enough to shun them from high society, they learn one of the most important lessons in life: how to give and receive with dignity. Each girl must deal with hopes for love and hopes for the future in her own way. The tension builds, tragedy strikes, and the girls must find a way to build their lives and carry on. Through love, joy, disappointment, heartbreak, and immense sorrow, the March family rely on each other and learn to be grateful for their lot in life, both good and bad.