Return of the King Book 6, Chapter 3
They shiver together under the cloak. When they wake, they eat and drink what is left of their water. The mountain looms in the distance and Sam realizes that when they get there they will have no food left:
"'So that was the job I felt I had to do when I started...to help Mr. Frodo to the last step and then die with him? Well, if that is the job then I must do it. But I would dearly like to see Bywater again, and Rosie Cotton and her brothers, and the Gaffer and Marigold and all. I can't think somehow that Gandalf would have sent Mr. Frodo on this errand, if there hadn't a'been any hope of coming back at all.'" Book 6, Chapter 3, pg. 234
This dying hope turns into determination as Sam looks over the land and realizes that they will be able to creep over the broken plain without being noticed. They rise the next morning and Frodo feels that the weight of the ring is too heavy. Sam offers to carry it, but Frodo snaps at this suggestion. They decide to lighten their load so they drop everything they don't need into a pit. They turn to the mountain and walk further than they had thought possible that day. During this walk, however, they drink the last of their water.
Sam realizes that Frodo might not make it alive to the mountain and he worries because he has no idea what they are supposed to do with the ring once they get there. They near the last leg of their journey, when the slope turns forever uphill. The air is thick and painful to breathe. They sleep for the night. They sleep huddled together and Frodo has trouble standing when they wake. Sam lifts him and carries him up the mountain, unsure where to go next. He struggles for a long time until he can move forward no more. Frodo thanks him and they are amazed how far up the mountain they have come. Sam feels a little hope for the first time in awhile. He recognizes a path and knows that it will lead into the mountain. He is worried about making it up the slope but Frodo says that he will crawl all the way if he needs to.
They begin to struggle up the mountainside until suddenly a stone comes crashing between them. They hear Gollum's voice hissing, "'Wicked masster cheats us; cheats Smeagol!'" Book 6, Chapter 3, pg. 245. Gollum jumps on Frodo and they begin to wrestle. Sam is amazed by Frodo's sudden strength. He breaks free and orders Gollum to the ground. Gollum submits and Frodo orders him to be gone. Sam tells him that he will watch Gollum while he walks up the mountain. Sam draws his sword and Gollum lies on the ground begging the hobbit not to hurt him. Sam is undone by pity and he tells Gollum to be gone. He turns and flees upward in the wrong direction and Sam follows him fearing for Frodo. He enters a tunnel using the light of Galadriel's phial to guide him. Frodo calls out and speaks in an abnormally loud voice that he will not destroy the ring but will claim it as his own. Sam cannot see him because he has the ring on his finger. Frodo knocks him down and runs off. When Sam rises, he sees Gollum struggling with what must be Frodo, who is invisible. Gollum seems to overcome his opponent and bite down on something. Frodo appears and Gollum dances away holding his severed finger in his hand showing off the ring. Gollum wails with joy but jumps astray and slips into the gulf of the mountain plunging into the depths below. Fires explode from within and the mountain begins to rumble. Sam finds Frodo and tries to sop the blood from his maimed hand. Frodo tells him that they must forgive Gollum because he was the only one who could complete the quest.