Wilfred of Ivanhoe is a Saxon loyal to the Norman king Richard I. Because of this loyalty, and his love for Lady Rowena, Ivanhoe is cast out by his father, a Saxon loyalist determined to liberate the Saxon people from Norman rule. He plans to marry Rowena, his ward and a descendant of the Saxon king Alfred, to Lord Aethelstane, pretender to the throne of England. In so doing, Ivanhoe would unite two rival Saxon houses in their claim for the crown. Ivanhoe returns from the Crusades in secret and is joined in his plans to reestablish Richard on the thrown by the moneylender Isaac of York, his daughter Rebecca, the mysterious Black Knight, Lady Rowena, and Robin Hood and his merry men.