Romantic opera in three acts by Carl Maria von Weber
The huntsman Max has to take a trial shot before he can succeed the head ranger Cuno and become eligible to marry his daughter Agathe. The otherwise sure marksman fails under the pressure of this test and is mocked by the crowd. Caspar, another huntsman, shunned by all and disliked, would really have been the candidate for this position which Cuno denies him. He wants to take his revenge for this. He promises to help Max to take a lucky shot with a free bullet if he comes to the notorious Wolf's Glen at midnight.
Agathe is apprehensive on the evening before her marriage about Max's failure to return. In the still inhospitable domicile where the bridal pair in-tend to live, Aennchen, a young relation living in the same household, tries to soothe her friend. Max returns for just a few minutes and tells them he must fetch a stag he has shot in the Wolf's Glen.
In the Glen, Caspar is preparing the cast for the free bullets. Legend says that six go where the marksman will while the seventh is directed by the devil. Max overcomes his fear and casts the bullets with Caspar. Max is given four. Caspar keeps three bullets for himself.
Agathe dreams that she is a dove and Max is taking aim at her. When the bridesmaids present a funeral wreath the next morning by mistake instead of the bridal wreath, her worst premonitions appear to be confirmed. A wreath made from the Hermit's white roses are Agathe's last hope of being able to ward off misfortune.
Prince Ottokar has arrived expressly to witness the ceremony of the trial shot. He orders Max to shoot a white dove. Agathe runs into his line of fire. She falls to the ground but it is Caspar who is struck at this same moment by the shot. Agathe is unharmed. Max confesses that he forged free bullets with Caspar. Ottokar wishes to punish him by making him give up Agathe. The Hermit intercedes and turns this ruling into an act of grace. The trial shot is abolished and replaced by a trial year. If Max proves himself to be "worthy", loyal, honest, good and upright, he will be allowed to marry Agathe at the end of this year.