Little Amy Dorrit was born in debtor's prison, the youngest child of William Dorrit, a longtime inmate of the Marshalsea. Earning meager wages as a seamstress, she is befriended by he employer's son Arthur, who eventually helps to free Mr. Dorrit from prison. When William Dorrit inherits a fortune, the newly free and wealthy family travels to Italy. Meantime, their benefactor falls onto hard times of his own when he becomes the victim of a gigantic fraud perpetrated by an eminent financier, and is himself sentenced to the Marshalsea. Little Dorrit finds him there, and a relationship develops between them that juxtaposes ambition with humility, acquisitiveness with generosity, regret with optimism.