On November 18, 1307, the hunter, William Tell, goes to the main town of the region, Altdorf. Crossing the square, the proud man refuses to bow to the hat stuck on a pole. Set there by the local governor, Gessler, the hat is the symbol of imperial authority and anyone failing to bow before it risks death or the confiscation of his property.
In return for his life, Tell is forced by Gessler to shoot an apple from the head of his young son, Walter. Tell succeeds but conceals a second arrow for the tyrant in case his son is harmed. Gessler discovers the second arrow, arrests Tell and has him taken by boat to prison. Tell escapes during a violent storm on the lake.
On the third day, Tell gets his revenge. He ambushes the tyrant, killing him with one shot from his crossbow. The hunter is never heard from again.