The widow of Captain Errol, youngest son of the Earl of Dorincourt, and her young son Cedric are barely subsisting in early-1880s New York City, when the Earl commissions his solicitor, Haversham, to fetch young Cedric from American to be trained for the title of Lord Fauntleroy. When they arrive at the castle, the mother (Dearest), wrongly accused of marrying for pecuniary reasons, is forced to live outside the castle while Cedric captivates the earl with his innocent, childlike wit, and wins the hearts of his royal guests. Haversham appears with a woman who claims that her son is the nearest relatives of Bevis, the eldest son, and she demands the title for him. When New York papers print the story with photographs, Cedric's friends--Dick, Hobbs, and Mrs. McGinty--journey to England to expose the conspiracy. The earl is overjoyed at the news and reconciles with Dearest, and all three live happily together in the castle.