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Dorothy Gale lives on a Kansas farm with her aunt and uncle. She keeps getting in the way while the adults work, so she finds a quiet place where she won’t get into any trouble. The girl is upset when the mean Miss Gulch comes to take her dog Toto away. However, Toto escapes and joins Dorothy as she runs away from the farm. They meet the kind Professor Marvel, who convinces Dorothy to go back home. When a cyclone hits, Dorothy and Toto seek shelter in her room, where Dorothy is accidentally hit on the head.
When she wakes up, her house has been carried to The Land of Oz, where it lands on and fatally strikes the Wicked Witch of the East, freeing the Munchkins from the Witch’s power. The Wicked Witch of the West comes to avenge her sister’s death and to claim her sister’s magic ruby slippers, only to find them on Dorothy’s feet, where the Witch can’t get to them. Dorothy wants to go back home to Kansas, but the Munchkins tell her she must seek help from the Wizard of Oz. So Dorothy is off to see the Wizard.
Along the way she meets three new friends and travel companions: The Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion.
The group reaches a haunted forest filled with jitterbugs that spook them and make them dance until they all collapse from exhaustion. Then they arrive at the Merry Old Land Of Oz, but the Wizard refuses at first to meet them. The Wicked Witch threatens them again, and they are finally brought to see the Wizard, who will help them only if they prove themselves worthy by bringing him the Witch’s broomstick. So off the foursome goes, through a haunted forest to the land of the Winkies, who guard the Wicked Witch’s castle.
In the forest some winged monkeys capture Dorothy and Toto and take them to the castle, where the Wicked Witch again fails to get the ruby slippers off Dorothy’s feet and threatens to drown Toto. But Toto escapes, just as the Lion, Scarecrow and Tinman come to rescue Dorothy. The Wicked Witch becomes even meaner and threatens the Scarecrow with fire on her broomstick. Dorothy throws a bucket of water at the fire and ends up dousing the Wicked Witch, who screams and melts into nothing. The foursome take the broomstick back to the Wizard, who is revealed as just an ordinary man hiding behind a curtain.
At a graduation ceremony, the Wizard makes the Scarecrow a Doctor of Thinkology, the Lion a member of the Legion of Courage and gives the Tinman a heart-shaped watch. He offers to take Dorothy back to Kansas in his hot-air balloon, but the balloon accidentally takes off without Dorothy and Toto. The good witch Glinda explains to Dorothy how to get home: All she has to do is close her eyes, tap her heels together three times and repeat “there’s no place like home.”
Back in Kansas the storm is over. Dorothy wakes up confused, but soon realizes that there really is “no place like home.”