Looney Tunes contains beloved characters, like Yosemite Sam, who prides himself on being the toughest there is. Here are his best shorts, ranked.
The classic franchise Looney Tunes contains beloved characters, like Yosemite Sam, who prides himself on being the toughest there is. Still, Bugs Bunny has a knack for outwitting him and making Sam look like a fool in the process, much to the amusement of audiences. Sam is easily angered and particularly violent, toting around guns, and harboring a particular hatred for rabbits, especially Bugs.
Nonetheless, the red-haired cartoon, often portraying a cowboy, was fun to watch, calling Bugs a “varmint” and frequently messing up, though he didn’t fall for the same ploy twice, in turn showing Bugs’ cleverness when it came to outsmarting Sam.
“14 Carrot Rabbit”
In the time of the Klondike Gold Rush, Sam’s making a dishonest living stealing gold from others. His attention is turned to Bugs, when he witnesses him carrying a large piece of gold to trade in, and learns Bugs has a knack for finding gold, thanks to a “funny feeling.” He pretends to be Bugs’ partner but double-crosses him, which is definitely a big mistake.
Hilariously, audiences, alongside Bugs, notice Sam is about to dig through a cliff and fall into a lake, and while Bugs tries to warn him, Sam throws a rock and tells him to “shaddup”, which pretty much leads to Sam learning the hard way. Bugs ends up getting Sam thrown into the stockades after a chase, and barely makes a getaway himself in the conclusion of the short.
Wanting to bury his treasure, Sam runs into a lot of problems when he encounters Bugs Bunny. Sam has a lot of cannons fired his way and is tricked several times, even into doing chores before he wises up and goes after Bugs again.
Near the episode’s conclusion, Bugs continuously lights a match and tosses it into the powder room, which horrifies Sam and has him running to retrieve it until at last, he refuses to go after it. When he finally changes his mind, it’s too late. Bugs is particularly tough on Sam this episode, so no wonder Sam raised his white flag in defeat.
“Bugs Bunny Rides Again”
Bullets are flying everywhere as audiences are introduced to the town, and soon Sam appears in the “Gunshot Saloon”, ordering everyone to get out as they disappear in fear of him. The only cowboy to remain is, of course, Bugs. He and Sam soon begin drawing on one another with bigger guns each time, until Bugs shoots Sam in the nose with a pea-shooter of all things.
The two then have something of a dance-off, and then begin daring the other to cross lines, which of course leads to Sam falling off a cliff. It all leads to a game of cards to determine which of them should leave town. Bugs wins the game, but leaves anyway to get onboard the train carrying women wearing swimsuits.
This short contains the ultimate gag: Bugs disguising himself as a widow to trick Sam. After reading the newspaper, Sam learns about a widow coming into a lot of money and plans to marry her and take her for everything she has, as well as getting rid of the orphanage and the police department. Overhearing Sam’s plans, Bugs sets out to foil it.
Bugs becomes another potential suitor for the widow, leading to a challenge between him and Sam, and later, to Bugs posing as the widow to ruin Sam’s chances of striking anything up with her. As fate would have it, Bugs’ plan works so well that Sam, believing Bugs to be the real widow, is set to get married, but finds out Bugs is his bride, leading to Sam taking off and refusing to marry Bugs, who feigns being hurt by the rejection.
“The Fair-Haired Hare”
When Sam builds his cabin over Bugs’ rabbit hole, it leads to a life-or-death situation. The two argue over who should move out until they go to court, where it’s determined they must share the house, and if one of them should die, the other gets everything.
Sam then comes up with a scheme to kill Bugs, but fails every time, ending up on the wrong end of the attempted murders with a concussion and later poison. Sam’s final attempt to kill Bugs fails miserably, as he blows up his own cabin while Bugs gets his home back.
Sam, this time playing the Captain of the Praetorian Guard, is tasked by the Roman Emperor to find a victim to feed to the lion, or else Sam will be the victim. Sam locates Bugs Bunny and decides to use him, but as usual, his plans go haywire.
Sam is continuously fed to the lions thanks to Bugs, and at one point, clobbers one on the head while it’s still imprisoned, only for Bugs to free the lion and Sam to hit the lion repeatedly on the head again, at least until he realizes the lion is free and terror overtakes him.
“Knighty Knight Bugs”
Bugs, a court jester, is tasked by King Arthur to retrieve the Singing Sword, or else face execution. This leads Bugs to Sam, dressed in black armor, who owns a fire-breathing dragon. Bugs has arrived to retrieve the sword at the right time, as the dragon is suffering from a cold and is prone to sneezing fire at any given time.
Sam and his dragon try to get back into their castle to get the sword back from Bugs, who is hiding out in the castle, but Bugs thwarts their efforts various times. Sam and the dragon eventually follow Bugs into a room housing many explosives, and when the dragon sneezes, it sends him and Sam flying to the moon, with a victorious Bugs waving farewell.
Out in the Sahara Desert, Bugs has definitely taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque this time, having intended to get to Miami Beach. Bugs struggles with mirages and Sam, who goes by “Riff Raff Sam” in this cartoon, must deal with a camel that has trouble listening.
Bugs does find refuge in a deserted army base, which Sam continually fails to get into, thanks to Bugs’ traps and quick-thinking. Containing hilarious moments like Sam screaming “WHOA CAMEL!” and Daffy also mistaking the Sahara Desert for Miami Beach, is worth a watch…or two.
“High Diving Hare”
One of the best shorts consisting of Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny, this finds the two at odds over a high diving act. Bugs is trying to attract business for a vaudeville show, which includes “Fearless Freep” and his high-diving act.
When Freep is delayed by a storm, Bugs is in a bind, as an angry Sam, who has splurged on tickets, demands to see the act anyway. Bugs continuously outwits Sam, causing Sam to do the act himself several times, the last of which defies gravity altogether, but hey, Bugs never “‘studied’ law.”
“Wild And Woolly Hare”
Bugs and Sam duel one another, each claiming to be sharp shooters. The duel escalates from a saloon to trains, where Bugs and Sam have each commandeered their own locomotives, declaring neither will be stopping their trains unless the other does so first.
The two are about to hit each other head-on, when in true cartoon fashion defying all logic, Bugs’ train extends its “legs” as Sam’s train passes underneath, only to head for the end of the train’s line and fall into a lake below. With Bugs merrily on his way out, Sam, seething, utters “I hate that rabbit!”