En un país inmerso en una guerra civil, las cuatro hermanas March, Meg, Jo, Beth y Amy, emprenden un viaje desde la niñez a la edad adulta. Bajo la mano de su madre, las chicas descubren lo que significa ser mujer en la sociedad estadounidense de mediados del siglo XIX
Christmas, 1861. The March sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy - and their mother Marmee prepare for Christmas without presents and without their father, a Union army chaplain away at war. Learning to appreciate the smaller things in life, the sisters strike up a friendship with their charming new neighbour Laurie and his tutor John Brooke.
As Marmee waits by her husband's sickbed in the army hospital, the March sisters must learn to cope without their parents. Meg is shocked and embarrassed to hear rumours circulating in society that Marmee is trying to marry her off to Laurie, and after an incident at Amy's school, Jo must take charge whilst trying to balance her family responsibilities and her writing.
A year has passed and the March family welcomes Meg's twins, yet Marmee and Jo are anxious as Beth's health and spirits flag. Aunt Carrol arrives with the opportunity for Jo to accompany her daughter on a tour of Europe, but dismayed by Jo's wild spirit, chooses the more refined Amy as a companion.