The Huntsman, at the Evil Queen's orders, leads Snow White to a secluded glade in the forest, where he intends to kill her; however, he shows mercy and pleads that the princess flee. As Snow White runs through the forest, it appears to become hostile towards her; an owl screeches at her, trees resemble leering faces, branches become talons snatching at her dress, and floating logs become crocodiles snapping at her heels. After collapsing in fright, Snow White encounters the forest animals, and the forest seems less scary to Snow White, now that she has friends with her. They take her to the Cottage of the Seven Dwarfs. The dwarfs return home from a day at their mine and, taking pity on the princess, allow her to stay.
The Queen, after transforming into the Witch, leaves her castle and, that night, makes her way through a barren, rocky area of the forest to the cottage in order to kill Snow White herself; on the way, she is noticed and followed by two sinister vultures. After the dwarfs leave for the mine, the Witch approaches the cottage and succeeds in poisoning Snow White; however, she is then chased by the dwarfs and animals through a hostile, rocky landscape while a storm rages. Reaching a cliff, the Witch attempts to crush her pursuers with a boulder, but is thwarted by a thunderbolt which throws her (and the boulder) to the rocks down below. Snow White is placed in a glass coffin, in the middle of a peaceful glade, where she is resurrected by the Prince's kiss.
Like all visual elements of the film, the forest was designed primarily by Albert Hurter, who, it was felt, was the only artist able to depict the fairytale landscape Walt Disney desired; rocks, as designed by any other artist, were "not fairy tale types of stuff". Designs for the forest show the influence of Arthur Rackham, whose famous depictions of dryads and other tree-like creatures are likely to have inspired the faces Snow White sees as she flees in terror.
The sequence, which, along with the Queen's transformation, was originally cut from the film by UK censors, relied primarily on staging rather than character animation to engage audiences. Ferdinand Horvath drew many sketches for the sequence, and was responsible for the crocodile-like logs; among Horvath's ideas not used in the final film is Snow White's fear taking the form of a gigantic, spectral wolf, which pursues her. The forest as it appears in Snow White's nightmare, and in the sequences with the Witch and Vultures, was partly inspired by the etchings of Gustave Dore, which feature similarly knarled, twisted trees, and rocky landscapes. Walt Disney stressed that the forest should appear differently as the Witch moves through it in order to stress the differences between the Queen and Snow White.