The orphaned Dorothy lives on the Kansas prairie with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and her little black dog, Toto. When a cyclone hits, Dorothy is looking for Toto, so she doesn’t get to the cyclone cellar in time. Suddenly, the cyclone lifts the house with Dorothy and Toto inside high in the air. Dorothy wakes up in the Land of Oz, where she discovers that her house has landed on and killed the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy meets the Munchkins and the good Witch of the North, who gives Dorothy the dead Witch’s magic silver shoes. Dorothy wants to return to Kansas, but to do so, she must travel to the Emerald City to ask the help of the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy sets out on this challenging journey protected by the Witch of the North’s kiss.
In the first part of the journey, Dorothy finds traveling companions. She rescues a Scarecrow from his lonely life on his pole in a field. The Scarecrow asks to accompany her on her journey so he can ask the Great Oz for a brain. Soon, they come across a Tin Woodman who has been rusted in place for a year. Dorothy helps rescue him by oiling his joints. The Tin Woodman also asks to join the trip so he can ask the Great Oz for a heart. As the travelers continue through the forest, a Cowardly Lion scares them. Dorothy slaps the lion for scaring Toto. The Cowardly Lion admits he is a coward and wants to join the others so he can ask the Great Oz for courage.
The travelers run into a series of challenges for which the Scarecrow often comes up with solutions and that the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodman, and Scarecrow use their special abilities to overcome. Dorothy and her friends must find ways across deep, wide ditches; save themselves from the attack of the part bear, part tiger Kalidahs; and cross a wide, swiftly flowing river. The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman must rescue Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion from the poppy field, which they do with the help of a thousand field mice.
When Dorothy and her friends finally arrive at the Emerald City, the Great Oz agrees to meet with them. Appearing in a different disguise for each traveler, he tells each he will grant their wishes only when they have killed the Wicked Witch of the West. So, the travelers set out for the land of the Winkies in the West. The Wicked Witch of the West makes several attempts to stop them with a series of unsuccessful attacks from a pack of wolves, a flock of crows, and a swarm of bees. The Witch then uses her magic Golden Cap to call on the Winged Monkeys. The Monkeys scatter the Scarecrow and drop the Tin Woodman on rocks, but because Dorothy is protected by the Good Witch’s kiss, they transport her carefully along with the captured Cowardly Lion to the Wicked Witch’s castle.
When the Wicked Witch of the West uses her magic to snatch one of Dorothy’s silver shoes, Dorothy throws water on her, causing the Witch to melt away. Freed from enslavement, the Winkies help find and repair the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. Once again, the travelers set out to return to the Emerald City but call the field mice one more time to tell them how to get there. The Queen of the Field Mice suggests Dorothy use the magic Golden Cap, now in Dorothy’s possession, to ask the Winged Monkeys to fly them there. On the way to the Emerald City, the King of the Monkeys tells Dorothy the story of the Golden Cap.
Back in the Emerald City, the travelers demand that the Great Oz fulfill his promises. Toto accidentally knocks down a screen that reveals the Great Oz is, in fact, a little old man. Still, the Great Oz, who reveals he is from Nebraska, uses his humbug wizardry to fulfill the Scarecrow’s, Tin Woodman’s, and Cowardly Lion’s wishes. The Great Oz then asks Dorothy to help him make a hot air balloon that will transport the two of them across the deserts of Oz and back to their homes. But at the time of departure, the balloon accidentally takes off with the Great Oz but not Dorothy, who is chasing after Toto.
Close to losing all hope, Dorothy learns that she must ask Glinda the Good Witch of the South how to get home. The Scarecrow, now ruler of the Emerald City, decides to travel with Dorothy and the others to Glinda’s Castle in the Land of the Quadlings. On the way there, the travelers encounter more challenges. They must find a way past some hostile guardian trees, cross a country made of fragile china, and help rescue some wild animals from a monstrous spider. When they can’t get past some Hammer-Heads, men who use their heads to punch the travelers when they try to pass, Dorothy again calls the Winged Monkeys to transport them safely to the beautiful land of the Quadlings, where they are directed to Glinda’s castle.
Glinda promises to tell Dorothy how to get home in exchange for the Golden Cap. Glinda plans to use the Cap to return the Scarecrow to the Emerald City, the Cowardly Lion to the forest to be King of the Beasts, and the Tin Woodman to the land of the Winkies to be their ruler. Glinda will then give the Golden Cap to the Winged Monkeys so they can finally be free. Glinda tells Dorothy she can click together the heels of her silver shoes three times and command them to take her home. Dorothy does this after bidding her friends a tearful goodbye. Very soon Dorothy arrives home again in Kansas, without her silver shoes but happy to be home and in the arms of her Aunt Em.