When the Bott family move into Croombe Hall, William and The Outlaws are horrified to learn that they are banned from playing in the woods. But the worst is yet to come, in the form of the frilly-but-formidable Violet-Elizabeth.
Exotic Uncle Neville has come to stay, and William decides to give a lecture on 'intrestin' animals. But with only a dead dormouse and a caterpillar on the bill, things are not looking too promising.
A bad school report means lessons all summer for William, and Bob the gardener is sacked by Mr Bott! A cunning plan is needed, and portly Mr Bott's unsightly efforts to fight the flab give the pals exactly that...
Tomboy Dorinda has moved into the village, and William seems to approve of this rat-catching, frog-stuffing girl. The impending Shakespeare competition seems the perfect opportunity to impress her, but when Dalrymple gets the part of Hamlet, William and his faithful Outlaws are spurred into action.