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Anne Shirley, a newly appointed vice principal, arrives in the town of Pringleton to assume her post at the local school. Anne soon learns that the entire town is dominated by the tyrannical Pringle family, headed by the dour, old matriarch Hester Pringle. Hester, who was promoting the post of vice principal for her adopted relative Catherine, does everything in her power to insure that Anne's life will be miserable. Anne even has difficulty finding a room to rent until she is finally taken in at Windy Poplars by Matey and Kate, a brother and sister who have little regard for the Pringle family. There, Anne meets Betty Grayson, the little orphan who lives next door with her cruel aunt, Ernestine Pringle. Under Hester's orders, many obstacles are placed in Anne's path as she discovers that her duties are much greater than she had anticipated. However, with kindness, Anne gradually wins over Catherine, her nephew Tony and niece Jen. After Hester suffers a heart attack and dies, all vestiges of gloom are dispelled from the town of Pringleton, and all ends happily as Anne, now a welcome member of the community, plans to marry her fiancé, Gilbert Blythe, and adopt little Betty.