Jo tells Marmee she wants to leave home and see more of the world.
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.
Devastated, Jo flees to New York to become a governess and pursue her writing career. There she meets the kind-hearted Professor Bhaer, who challenges her to write more honestly. Upon hearing that Beth is still in decline, and believing she knows the cause, Jo returns to treat her to a seaside holiday. Before they leave, Laurie declares his love for Jo, and after another rejection is taken to Europe by his grandfather to cure his heartbreak.
Back home, the March family gathers as they are faced with devastating news. With new responsibilities, Jo is consumed by grief and frustration, only alleviated through writing. She pens a heartfelt poem, which is publicly well-received and reaches Bhaer in New York. In Europe, Laurie and Amy reunite and grow close, their friendship blossoming into love. They return home to greet the March's with unexpected news. Touched by Jo's poem, Bhaer makes a surprise visit to the March house.