Goodman Brown sets off from his home in Salem one evening on a mysterious errand. His wife, Faith, pleads with him to put it off until morning, but he says he cannot.
As he travels the road he encounters a dark traveler, who seems to be expecting him. The two have a meeting, yet at the last minute, Goodman Brown wants to return home. He is constrained by the dark traveler, and they go on together. They meet a few neighbors on the way, who seem to be familiar with the dark traveler. It is soon apparent that the traveler is the devil in disguise, and Brown is on his way to sell his soul to the devil.
They enter a clearing where Brown finds more people, some of whom he knows. They are all there to worship the devil. Suddenly Brown recognizes one of the other worshipers--it is his wife, Faith. She also is involved in the ceremony.
In the morning, Brown awakens in the forest to find himself alone. He returns home, not sure if it was reality or a dream. However, for the rest of his life, he lives as a man apart emotionally from others. At his death, he is buried with "no hopeful verses" to cover his grave.