|One fine Sping day in the Shire, Gandalf the wizard appears at the doorstep of the hobbit, Mr. Bilbo Baggins, and neatly invites himself for tea the next afternoon. Bilbo ends up entertaining not only Gandalf but also the famous Dwarf, Thorin Oakenshield, and twelve of his companions. Tea time turns into an all-night event where Bilbo is told how the dragon Smaug long ago invaded the home of the Dwarves and stole their treasures. Thorin plans to recover it if possible, but he needs a burglar to assist in retrieving the lost hoarde. Gandalf has recommended Bilbo for the position.
The next morning, Bilbo, the Dwarves and Gandalf begin their trip, which soon turns dismally rainy. Gandalf unexpectedly disappears, and the company seeks shelter from the rain. But instead of shelter they find trolls camped around a comfortable fire. Bilbo blunders his first attempt at 'burgling' and the Dwarves are captured by the trolls who spend the rest of the evening arguing how best to prepare and eat 13 dwarves and one frightened hobbit. In the nick of time, Gandalf returns and tricks the dull-witted trolls into arguing on past daylight when, as trolls of their sort do, they turn to stone. They find ancient swords in the trolls' treasure cave, one of which is small enough for Bilbo.
At the Elven haven of Rivendell, Biblo meets Elrond Half-elven, a most ancient and wise person. Elrond deciphers an old map of the Lonely Mountain and discovers a secret way into the Dwarven halls beneath it. The company packs its ponies with new provisions and heads up the trail into the Misty Mountains.
The group is again forced to seek shelter from the weather, and they rest in a cave which turns out to be the Front Porch of the underground Goblin kingdom. Goblins soldiers attack them in the middle of the night, and all but Gandalf are captured and rushed deep into dark caverns where they are brought before the Goblin King. Again, in the nick of time Gandalf reappears to rescue the dwarves and Bilbo from their captors. They rush headlong through the confusing tunnels trying to escape the pursuing goblins. At a turn in the path, Bilbo falls and becomes separated from his friends and lies unconcious in the darkness.
The hobbit wakes hours later, and by the light of his magical sword guides himself slowly down the dark tunnel. He spies a glint of gold and stoops to find a golden ring lying on the cavern floor. He puts it in his pocket and continues on. Deep under the mountains, Bilbo comes to a dead end where the path stops at the edge of a subterranean lake. Just as he is about to turn around, he is surprised by the approached of a loathesome creature who paddles a small boat across the lake.
The creature is Gollum, a sad but treacherous creature who has lived on an island in the middle of the lake for many, many years. He insists on playing a riddle game, gambling Bilbo's freedom for his life. But Gollum is angered when the hobbit wins the game by luck and a bit of creative riddle asking. His prize was to be shown the way out, but Gollum decides that he will eat poor Bilbo instead. The creature returns to his unseen island to get his magic golden ring that will make him invisible. When he finds that he has lost it, he believes that Bilbo must have it (the ring that Bilbo found!!) and he quickly returns to kill the hobbit. But Bilbo slips the ring on just in time, and Gollum runs past without seeing him. The hobbit follows the wicked creature who unknowingly leads him to a door to the outside world. Bilbo escapes into sunlight!
Bilbo finds his friends and discovers that they have all come out on the other side of the Misty Mountains. They hurry forward to escape the goblins who will surely pursue them after the sun sets. Only too soon, the sun goes down and the goblins come out. They quickly corner the company in five tall trees, but lose their prey when Eagles of the Mountains, longtime friends of Gandalf, rescue them. The Eagles set the grateful party down at the great Anduin river and bid them farewell.
Gandalf takes Bilbo and the dwarves to visit Beorn, a suspicious but honest man who lives at the edge of Mirkwood Forest. Beorn aids them and helps them find the correct path to take through the dark forest. As they enter the wood, Gandalf says farewell, claiming more importants duties far away. They clamor that they will never make it through the dreadful forest without the wizard's help, but in the end, muttering and dejected, the Dwarves and Bilbo enter the forest without Gandalf.
In Mirkwood the party finds nothing but trouble. First Bombur, a most overweight dwarf, falls into a poisonous stream which causes him to fall into a deep sleep, forcing the rest of the company to carry him. Afterwards, they see elves in the distance, celebrating in the forest. But each time they approach them, the elves disappear in a flash of blinding light. They finally give up on meeting the elves, but are then captured by giant spiders who hang the dwarves from trees in preparation for eating. Bilbo manages to escape, free the Dwarves and frighten then spiders away, only to find that while he was fighting spiders the Dwarves have been taken prisoner by the Wood Elves.
Bilbo manages to slip into the elven halls and find the poor Dwarves who are locked deep in the dungeons. After weeks of hiding with the aid of his ring, the hobbit manages to free the Dwarves. But to escape the elven caverns, he must stuff each of them into an empty barrel which is rolled into the river. He jumps in after the last barrel and rides it like a raft all the way to Laketown on the Long Lake.
The Men of Lake Town, long in the shadow of the dragon-occupied Lonely Mountain, gladly aid Thorin and his companions. They give the Dwarves and Bilbo food and equipment and quickly send them on their way. The group soon arrives at the secret entrance and use the key that Thorin's father gave to him. At last! Time for Bilbo to show off his burglar skills!
Bilbo creeps quietly down the dark, narrow tunnel hidden by the secret door. At the end, it opens onto a huge treasure-filled cavern. Atop the treasure, snoring loudly, lies Smaug the Magnificent. Shaking in his boots, the hobbit grabs the closest item to him and runs back up the passage to show his friends a beautiful golden cup.
Their pleasure turns quickly to terror. For upon waking, the dragon immediately notices the missing cup. They hear his roaring and know that soon he will emerge from his lair and find them exposed on the side of the mountain. They barely have time to run into the tunnel when Smaug attacks with flame and fury, destroying the secret door and sealing them into the mountain pasage.
The Dwarves and Bilbo huddle in the dark for hours. Finally, Bilbo decides to go back down the tunnel to see if the dragon has returned.
Once again he finds Smaug atop his pile of stolen treasure. But this time the dragon is awake, and he immediately senses the hobbit though he cannot see him (because of the ring). Smaug is still angry but also curious to see who has the audacity to steal from him. He is a bit tired from having eaten all of the company's ponies. So, instead of attacking the hobbit, the dragon has a conversation with him.
Bilbo tells the dragon of his journey to the mountain, and soon Smaug guesses that he must be a Lakeman or at least a friend of the Men of Lake Town. The dragon rises to show the intruder his powerful claws and armor, and Bilbo notices a vulnerablity that the dragon never knew he had. A patch of his scaly armor was missin, leaving a bare spot directly over his heart. But now Smaug is angry with Bilbo. He chases the little hobbit back up the tunnel with a blast of fire and then flies off to punish the town on Long Lake.
The dwarves huddle for hours and hours until it becomes obvious that the dragon may not be coming back. They slowly develope the courage to go down the tunnel to see the treasure lost so long ago. They light torches to find their way in the darkness and run through the gold, silver and gems like children in a toy store. Bilbo's sharp eyes catches a glint far across the great chamber, and he goes to investigate. Amid a pile of treasure he finds the Arkenstone, the greatest jewel ever to be delved from the mountain. He knows that Thorin covets it above all other things, but Bilbo decides to keep his discovery secret for moment.
Meanwhile, Smaug descends on Laketown like a meteor, destroying most of the town and killing many of its inhabitants. Only by the courage of Bard the Bowman and his Black Arrow is the dragon felled from the sky, and the long threat to the area finally ended.
The dragon is dead! And while the Dwarves explore their ancient home, the armies of the Men of Laketown and the Elves of Mirkwood march to the mountain to demand a portion of the treasure. But when they arrive, Thorin and Company refuse to part with the treasure and block the entrance to their newly regained home. Bilbo proves again to be a wise choice as the last member of the journey when he gives the Arkenstone to the Men and Elves as a way to stop the Dwarves from beginning a battle they cannot hope to win. But still war is not averted, for Thorin stubbornly refuses to yield one coin to the sieging armies. He knows that his cousin Dain from the Iron Mountains is on his way with an army of Dwarven warriors.
The army of Dwarves approaches, and it looks as if war will not be averted. But the battle of three armies turns into a battle of four armies when a huge mass of goblins approaches. The Men, Elves and Dwarves quickly join forces and turn to face the new threat. The battle lasts for hours, and it does not go well for the three joined armies. Just when it seems that all was lost, a fifth army joins the battle. The Eagles of the Mountains arrive and save the day, killing most of the goblins and chasing the few survivors far away.
Smaug is dead and the King Under the Mountain has returned. But it is not to be Thorin Oakenshield, for he was slain in the Battle of Five Armies. His cousin Dain takes the throne in his place. As for Bilbo, he recieves his fair share of the treasure (or as much as he can carry) and he begins the long journey home to the Shire.
After many weeks of relatively uneventful riding, Biblbo and Gandalf arrive back in Hobbiton only to find that the people of his town consider him 'Presumed Dead' and are auctioning off his home and all his belongings. His dreadful relatives, the Sackville-Bagginses, were not at all happy to find their presumptions incorrect. In the end, Bilbo's home is brought back into normal order and the hobbit settles down and enjoys blowing smoke rings and chatting with his friend Gandalf.