Jerusha Abbott is a poor, teenaged orphan who has spent her life at the John Grier Home. An unnamed benefactor decides to send her to college to be educated as a writer. From a distance, Jerusha gets a brief glimpse of this mysterious benefactor as he leaves the orphanage. She notices his height and nicknames him ‘Daddy Long Legs’. Daddy’s only requirement for providing her the scholarship is that she write him a letter once a month. However, he will not write her back or reveal his identity. Although she knows that he will never respond to her letters, she grows more and more curious about this elusive and kindly “old” gentleman. Meanwhile, another relationship begins to develop in Jerusha’s life with Jervis Pendleton, a well-to-do uncle of one of Jerusha’s roommates. Through her monthly letters with Daddy and her growing intimacy with Jervis, Jerusha’s letters chronicle her growth from a doe-eyed orphan girl to a strong, independent woman. In the end, Jerusha also finds love with a man she never expected to enter her life.