Homeless orphan Nat Blake is rescued from the streets, and sent to the Plumfield School. Jo Bhaer, the headmistress, insists on taking the boy in and giving him a chance in life. Her husband, Professor Fritz strongly objects, fearing the former street urchin will be a "bad influence" on the other boys. Nat works hard to adjust and is gradually accepted and loved by his teachers. But when money is stolen and all of the evidence seems to point to Nat, only Jo, his true benefactor, believes in the boy's innocence.