Back at Frodo's new "home" in Crickhollow, Black Riders accost Fatty Bolger. Fatty escapes and the horn call of Buck is blown, announcing the invasion. The Black Riders flee, but now they know that Frodo and the ring are not there.
Meanwhile, at the Prancing Pony, Strider discovers that the hobbit rooms have been broken into and the bolsters and carpets have been torn to shreds. All the horses have been stolen from the stables and the hobbits have no means by which to travel, except for one pony.
The hobbits load the pony with supplies and set off, creating a stir in Breeland. Their journey begins on the road and continues along paths and woods through bogs and marshes. By the sixth day they are almost near the place they have been hoping to meet Gandalf, who has left a sign scratched on a stone signifying that he was there three days back.
Sam and Pippin find traces of a recent and hasty camp on the mountaintop, left by rangers or perhaps by Gandalf. Strider is concerned that it was a mistake for the hobbits to stand on the mountaintop, because Black Riders can smell the blood of living things. The crusaders make a fire, beside which they sit listening to stories of Elves and Gil-Galad the Elven King and other tales of Middle-earth.
The hobbits notice strange shadows and they realize that the enemy is approaching. Frodo gives in to the desperation of wearing the Ring and as soon as he does he sees the riders clearly. There are five of them, one wearing a crown. Though Frodo is invisible, that Black Rider springs forward with his knife. Frodo manages to strike at the enemy's feet but is himself injured in the shoulder. He manages to slip the Ring off his finger before losing consciousness.
Once again the influence of the Ring on Frodo is powerful. The hobbit cannot seem to resist wearing the ring, though he has been warned not to. And every time he puts the ring on, he gets into trouble.
When Frodo comes to, he still has the Ring, much to his relief. T enemy seems to have withdrawn, thinking Frodo is dead or mortally wounded. Strider prepares a medicine made of leaves in boiling water and the scent calms them all. Though Frodo feels a little relief, he cannot move his arm. In the morning Frodo is put on the pony and they set off. After several days they come to a river and cross the Bridge. Strider finds an Elf stone which brings him hope. The journey proves hazardous and they stray far to the north.
When they turn back toward Rivendell, they meet Glorfindel, an elf who lives in the house of Elrond. Glorfindel tells them that Gandalf had met him nine days earlier and that the Black Riders are after them. Glorfindel tries to help them cross the ford.
Just as they are about to cross the water, the Black Riders catch up to them, accompanied by reinforcements. The Riders attack Frodo's horse, and just as they are about to triumph, Frodo sees a shining figure of white light. The river rises and caries away the Black Riders and their horses.
Frodo's gradual transformation from a scared, skeptical hobbit to a brave one is apparent towards the end. In the same way that Bilbo Baggins gained courage while wearing the Ring, Frodo appears to be maturing into a lion-hearted fighter.