The Black Rider is a self-billed “musical fable” in the avant-garde tradition created through the collaboration of theatre director Robert Wilson, musician Tom Waits, and writer William S. Burroughs. Wilson, in the original production, was largely responsible for the design and direction. Burroughs wrote the book, while Waits wrote the music and most of the lyrics. The story is based on a German folktale called Der Freischütz, which had previously been made into an opera by Carl Maria von Weber.
Wilhelm, a bookish clerk, is in love with Kätchen, a forester’s daughter, but her father won’t let her marry a man who can’t shoot. So Wilhelm obtains some magic bullets that never miss from a person who’s pretty obviously the Devil, heedless of the fact that the Devil gets to choose the target of the last bullet. After all, there’s no way that could end badly.