Robin Hood and his men resist the oppressive power of Prince John, win Marian over, and help King Richard regain his throne.
While England's King Richard is imprisoned in Austria, Prince John (Claude Rains) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) grab more power. As Guy is about to kill Much (Herbert Mundin) for hunting a royal deer, Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn) wings Guy with an arrow. At Guy's castle John feasts with Marian (Olivia de Havilland). Robin brings in the deer and complains of taxes. John claims rule; but Robin calls him a traitor and promises revolt. Robin fights with sword and bow before escaping.
On a log-bridge Robin confronts Little John (Alan Hale), and they fight with staffs. Little John joins Robin, and men gather in Sherwood Forest with Robin to rob the rich and help the poor. Robin Hood kills officers that are oppressing Saxons. Robin takes meat from sleeping Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette) and makes him join them. Will Scarlett (Patric Knowles) tells Robin of Guy's shipment, which they ambush, capturing Guy and Marian. The goods are shared, but the treasure is kept to ransom Richard. Robin shows Marian the homeless poor. Robin releases Guy and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Cooper) on foot. The Sheriff tells John to hold an archery tournament in order to catch Robin. Guy's soldiers close in as Robin in a disguise wins but is captured. Guy sentences Robin to be hanged. Marian learns from Bess (Una O'Connor) how to find Robin's men to help plan a rescue. At the public execution Robin's men rescue him. Robin closes the gate and climbs over the wall.
At night Robin sneaks in to see Marian and says that he is in love with her. Marian tells Robin that she can help by staying there. Five men dine, and a traveler complains that he was robbed by Robin Hood. John learns that Richard is back and sends Dicken to kill him. Marian heard and writes; but Guy comes in, takes the letter, and arrests her. John plans to execute Marian. Bess warns Much. From a tree Much jumps Dicken, and they fight. Robin stops Richard (Ian Hunter), who is dressed as an abbot. Robin blames Richard for leaving England to be held by outlaws like himself. Will finds Much, who tells Robin of the plot to kill Richard. King Richard shows himself to Robin and his men. Dressed as monks, they follow the bishop into Nottingham castle for John's coronation. As John claims to be king, Richard appears. A battle begins; Robin fights Guy and kills him. Richard banishes John and injustice. Robin and Marian ask for each other, and Richard makes Robin an earl.
In this classic version of the Robin Hood legend he is given a more prominent role in the return of King Richard than is historical. Yet the spirit of the Saxon fighting Norman oppression for the poor is presented in swashbuckling style.