The story starts with a lonely couple that wants a child. They live next to a walled garden that belongs to an evil witch named Dame Gothel. The wife is pregnant with a girl. When she gives birth, Dame Gothel takes her newborn and names her Rapunzel.
When Rapunzel turns twelve, she is taken into a tower to be shut out from the world. One day a prince chances upon Rapunzel and asks her to marry him. She agrees.
Dame Gothel finds out about the prince who is planning to free Rapunzel, so she cuts Rapunzel's hair off and sends her to a faraway desert. The following night the prince climbs up the tower only to find Dame Gothel instead of Rapunzel. Dame Gothel throws the prince out of the tower, leading him to fall on thorny bushes and become blind. Months later, the prince, who is still blind, finds Rapunzel through her singing. Rapunzel cries into his arms, and her tears bring back the prince's sight. The prince takes Rapunzel to his kingdom, where they lived happily ever after.