Buckaroo Bugs is a 1944 Looney Tunes cartoon, directed by Bob Clampett and starring Bugs Bunny. It is notably the first Looney Tunes short to star Bugs (all of his previous appearances were in the Merrie Melodies series) and the last Warner Bros. cartoon produced by Leon Schlesinger.
In the small town of "San Fernando Alley", an unseen thief named the Masked Marauder attacks and steals many of the townsfolks goods, especially their carrots. They call upon the help of a hero named Red Hot Ryder, who turns out to be a pint-sized dimwit.
As one can guess, the Marauder is none other than Bugs Bunny, who is so amused with his newfound foe that he decides to screw around with him for the heck of it.
- Anachronism Stew: Despite being set in the old years of the Wild West, there are a lot of in-jokes related to World War II sandwiched in.
- Bowdlerization: Some syndicated versions of this cartoon (particularly one version shown on a TBS station in Illinois) cut the scene of Red Hot Ryder being shown naked from the waist down (with only a fig leaf covering him, even though nothing explicit is shown thanks to Hays Code censorship) after the Masked Marauder has his belt and diaper pin taken off by a magnetnote .
- Additionally, in Boomerang France airings, the line "Stick 'em up or I'll blow your brains out!" is shortened to just "Stick 'em up!"
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Bugs briefly talks to the audience when he first appears.Bugs: (to us) Get him...a fugitive from the funny papers!
- Butt-Monkey: Red Hot Ryder is basically a walking punching bag for Bugs throughout the whole cartoon.
- Dawn of an Era: Up to this point, all of Bugs' cartoons were placed under the Merrie Melodies banner, but, aside from his cameo appearance in Porky Pig's Feat, this is the very first Bugs cartoon to be released under the Looney Tunes banner.
- End of an Age: This is the very last Warners cartoon to be produced by Leon Schlesinger.
- Expy: Red Hot Ryder is clearly meant to be a stand-in for Elmer Fudd, yet he somehow manages to be so much more incompetent and harmless, that he makes the pitiful Elmer look like a professional assassin in comparison.
- Foe Romance Subtext: The ending gag where Bugs delivers a (mocking) kiss to Ryder, says "Good night, sweet prince!" and blows out the candle.
- Hollywood Magnetism: Bugs' magnet yanks away Red's lead bullets and his gold fillings too.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Zigzagged; at first, Red's horse is too stubborn to stop until he bludgeons it with a club, yet later on the horse is shown to be much more intelligent than his master, such as when the horse takes off, but notices that he left him at a hitching post.Ryder: Look at me go! I'm a-ridin' sidesaddle! I'm a-ridin' sidesaddle!
(He sees his horse glaring at him.)
Ryder: Well, I am...
- Idiot Hero: Red Hot Ryder, who is so incompetent that he never once poses a real threat to Bugs.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Bugs' Masked Marauder disguise is nothing more than a handkerchief over his face. Ryder is too stupid to tell the difference, though.
- Poke the Poodle: Stealing carrots (instead of robbing a bank) seems like a minor nuisance on the surface. But, considering that this was made around World War II, the fact they were stolen from the town's Victory Garden makes the otherwise petty theft a moral outrage. Bugs also later runs off with quantities of gas, butter, sugar, shoes, and tires. All were rationed for the military at the time and stealing them would be considered a crime against the Nation on top of being more serious thefts.
- Red Hot Ryder is a parody of Red Ryder, and character-wise is a mix of Red Skelton's radio characters 'Sheriff Deadeye' and 'Clem Kiddlehopper' with their catchphrases "Whoa horse! Come on horse whoa!" and "Here I am".
- That's right! That's right! You win the $64 question!" Is a reference to the then-popular radio quiz show Take It Or Leave It.
- Roses Are Red: "Violets are pink. / Flowers smell pretty, / But you sure CENSORED". Of course, Bugs ends up shouting the last word, which is "STINK!!!"
- Simpleton Voice: Red Hot Ryder speaks like this for the bulk of the cartoon, fitting for someone as profoundly dimwitted as him.
- "Take That!" Kiss: Bugs mockingly kisses Ryder goodnight at the end of the cartoon, after Ryder finally realizes that Bugs was the Masked Marauder.
- Too Dumb to Live: Red Hot Ryder is so stupid that he makes Elmer Fudd look like a genius by comparison!
- Troll: Bugs, who decides to mess around with Ryder for no reason other than for his own amusement.
- Villain Protagonist: Bugs is this yet again, but this is notably the only cartoon in his entire filmography where he's explicitly given a role as a villain, (unless one wished to count him becoming public nuisance number one in Rebel Rabbit), for the given value of a villain.
- Vocal Dissonance: While the bulk of the cartoon has Mel Blanc using a dopey voice for Ryder, his first appearance has him shouting in a loud and hoarse voice—the same voice he would end up using for Yosemite Sam, no less!
- His voice becomes this again when he screamed all the way down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
- Wartime Cartoon: The cartoon was released late into World War 2, and features several topical references to it, such as Bugs stealing things that were heavily rationed at the time, and one town resident having grown a Victory Garden, whose carrots Bugs robs.
- Wild Take: Ryder, unsurprisingly, initially has a very understated reaction to leaping headlong into the Grand Canyon. Ryder's horse? Not so much: The horse pulls an exaggerated Eye Take at how high they are before inexplicably reversing his entire body without turning around and scrambling back toward the edge of the cliff.