In the forests of Maine, the various animals gather for the birth of the son of the ancient, revered stag known as the Great Prince of the Forest. The fawn is adored by all, especially the young rabbit Thumper who impudently points out his trouble walking, and his mother announces shes decided to name him Bambi. Meanwhile, the Great Prince looks on from a distance, unable to fully be a part of his mate and sons life when the rest of the forest needs him.
Bambi and Thumper become quick friends as Thumper teaches him what various animals and plants in the forest are called, and they also make another friend in the skunk Flower. Bambi is also fascinated by the rain that comes with April, though it briefly picks up into a thunderstorm showing the true frightening power of nature.
Bambis mother takes him to a meadow where she makes sure to caution him to be wary of all the animals greatest enemy, Man. After she makes sure its safe, they frolic together and Bambi meets the female fawn Faline. She comes on very strong and scares him at first, but soon they become friendly as well with both their mothers encouragement. Bambi briefly encounters his father leading a massive deer herd, but theyre quickly interrupted by hunters. Bambi is separated from his mother in the chaos, but the Great Prince leads him back to safety himself.
Winter arrives and Bambi is fascinated by the snow, and awkwardly tries to play on a frozen lake like Thumper can. They also run into Flower, whos hibernating and cant join them. Bambi and his mother go back to the meadow, when she suddenly pricks her head up and yells for him to run. Gunshots pursue them back to their burrow, where Bambi realizes his mother is nowhere to be seen. He desperately searches through a growing blizzard, but finally the Great Prince appears and simply tells him Your mother cant be with you anymore, causing him to break down at the realization that she was killed by Man.
Spring comes again, and Bambi and his friends have grown into adulthood. They run into the grumpy Friend Owl, who warns them against getting twitterpated like all animals seem to do around springtime. They all declare it wont happen to them, but within minutes Flower and Thumper encounter attractive females and run off with them. Bambi also runs into Faline and is quickly smitten himself, but first he has to fight off a rival male (named Ronno in other entries in the franchise) finally kicking him over a cliff.
Bambi and the Great Prince discover that Man has returned, with a larger hunting party than ever before. Several animals are killed despite their best efforts, and Faline is trapped on a ledge by the hunters dogs until Bambi fights them all off, though he takes a bullet himself in the process. Things get worse when the entire forest is set ablaze thanks to their careless campfire placement, and the Great Princes urging gets Bambi to overcome the pain and make several death defying escapes before joining the other surviving animals on a safe island.
A year later, the forest is recovering from the fire and the animals once again all gather for the birth of Bambis children, a male and female. Along with his father, Bambi watches from a distance, having completely grown up and assured the forest of a new generation of rulers.