Johanna Spyri's perennial children's favorite Heidi was retailored to the talents of Shirley Temple, resulting in one of her best vehicles. Orphaned early in the proceeding, Heidi is left in the care of her bitter, misanthropic grandfather Adolph Kramer (Jean Hersholt). It doesn't take long before the sweet little child has melted grandpa's hardened heart, and the two "outcasts" become inseparable. But things take a sinister turn when Heidi's cruel and avaricious aunt (Mady Christians) kidnaps the girl and sells her into servitude in the home of wealthy Segemann (Sidney Blackmer). Making the best of the situation, Heidi befriends Segemann's invalid daughter Klara (Marcia Mae Jones), encouraging the girl to walk unassisted for the first time in years. The grateful Segeman promises to reunite Heidi with her grandfather, but Jones's wicked governess Fraulein Rottenmeier (Mary Nash) contrives to keep the girl and her grandpa separated once more -- until the very, very last moment! Perhaps feeling that the Alpine setting of Heidi did not allow Shirley Temple full scope for her musical talents, the screenwriters contrived to include a dream sequence, wherein Heidi imagines herself to be in Holland and clogs to the tune of "In My Little Wooden Shoes."
by Hal Erickson synopsis