Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the princess of Tabor, daughter of King Magnus (Noah Huntley) and Queen Eleanor (Liberty Ross). After his wife's death, King Magnus marries the beautiful Ravenna (Charlize Theron) after rescuing her from the Dark Army, an invading force of glass soldiers. Ravenna — who is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army's master — kills Magnus on their wedding night after noting that men like him exploit the beauty of women and discard them. As Ravenna seizes control of the kingdom, Duke Hammond (Vincent Regan) escapes the Castle with his son William, but is unable to save Snow White who is captured by Ravenna's brother Finn (Sam Spruell). Snow White is then locked away in a tower of the Castle.
Tabor is left in ruins under Ravenna's rule as she periodically drains the youth from young women in order to maintain a spell once cast by her mother which allows her to keep her beauty. When Snow White comes of age, Ravenna learns from her Magic Mirror (Christopher Obi Ogugua) that Snow White is destined to destroy her unless Ravenna consumes the young girl's heart which will make her immortal. Ravenna orders Finn to bring her Snow White but she escapes into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna has no power. The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), a drunken widower who has survived the Dark Forest, is brought to Ravenna who orders him to lead Finn in pursuit of Snow White. In exchange she promises to revive his deceased wife Sarah. Duke Hammond learns that Snow White is alive and has fled into the Dark Forest, and his son William (Sam Claflin), Snow White's childhood friend, later infiltrates Finn's band as a bowman to find her.
The Huntsman locates Snow White in the Dark Forest but Finn admits that Ravenna cannot resurrect the dead. The Huntsman then helps Snow White to escape, promising to escort her to Duke Hammond's Castle in exchange for a reward of gold. The two leave the Dark Forest and pass through a fishing village where all the women have disfigured themselves in order to escape Ravenna, and where he learns Snow White's true identity. He then leaves her in the care of the women but returns when he sees the village being attacked by Finn's men. They eventually are found by a band of dwarves, formed by Muir (Bob Hoskins), Beith (Ian McShane), Gort (Ray Winstone), Coll (Toby Jones), Duir (Eddie Marsan), Quert (Johnny Harris), Nion (Nick Frost), and Gus (Brian Gleeson). Muir discovers Snow White's identity as the only person who can defeat Ravenna and end her reign.
As they travel through a faerie sanctuary, the group is attacked once more by Finn's men, resulting in Gus's death when he jumps in front of Snow White to prevent an arrow from hitting her. The Huntsman kills Finn after learning he abetted in the murder of his wife Sarah. William reveals himself and helps defeat the soldiers before joining the others in their journey to Hammond's castle.
Ravenna learns of Finn's death, disguises herself as William and tempts Snow White into eating a poisoned apple, but is forced to flee when the Huntsman and William attack her. William kisses the now comatose Snow White without seeing that a single tear has fallen. They take her corpse to Hammond's Castle. As she lies in repose, the Huntsman professes his love and regret for not saving Snow White who reminds him of his wife and kisses her, breaking the spell as she awakens after a second tear falls. Snow White then takes command of the Duke's army and leads them into battle against Ravenna.
The Dwarves infiltrate Tabor through the sewers and allow the Duke's army to invade the Castle after opening the gates. Snow White confronts Ravenna, but is overpowered. Ravenna is prepared to kill Snow White and consume her heart when Snow White stabs her in the heart instead, causing Ravenna to wither and die. Hammond's army is victorious. Snow White is crowned Queen as the kingdom is restored.