A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rash?mon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred. Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Taj?maru, who allegedly murdered the samurai and raped his wife; the white veil cloaked wife of the samurai; and the samurai himself who testifies through the use of a medium. The three tell a similarly structured story - that Taj?maru kidnapped and bound the samurai so that he could rape the wife - but which ultimately contradict each other...