Buckaroo Bugs is a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short released in August 1944, starring Bugs Bunny and directed by Robert Clampett. It runs for about nine minutes, and is in color with a mono sound mix. This is the only short in which Bugs Bunny served as a bona fide villain; while his shorts often portray him as mischievous and violent, he is never actually malicious and is, for the most part, acting as such in self-defense against an aggressor.
Mel Blanc provided the voices for Bugs Bunny, Red Hot Ryder, and some of the villagers. Robert C. Bruce was the opening narrator. Lou Lilly wrote the story, and Leon Schlesinger served as producer. While only Manny Gould was credited as an animator, Robert McKimson, Rod Scribner, and Jack Bradbury also aided in the process. Other uncredited 'staff' includes the composers of several uncredited bits of non-original music--Sanford Faulkner ('Arkansas Traveller'), M.K. Jerome ('My Little Buckaroo', where the title ostensibly takes its name), Gioacchino Rossini ('William Tell Overture'), Franz Schubert ('Der Erlkönig'), and J.S. Zamecnik ('In the Stirrups'). All original music was composed by Carl W. Stalling.
Unlike most shorts, Bugs Bunny serves as antagonist. In the cartoon, he plays a carrot thief called the Masked Marauder, whom Brooklyn's "Red Hot Ryder" (a parody of Red Ryder) must bring to justice. The cartoon portrays Red Hot Ryder as a dimwit who cannot distinguish Bugs Bunny from the Masked Marauder, and his good-natured slowness is consistently mocked: When Bugs Bunny as the Masked Marauder threatens to shoot Red Hot Ryder, saying, "Stick 'em up, or I'll blow your brains out," the latter treats it like a choice, replying, "Well, now, that's mighty neighborly of you." In the end, Red Hot Ryder catches on, but is unable to catch the Masked Marauder, in the end he tricks him into jumping into the Grand Canyon, when underground Red Hot Ryder finally figures out that Bugs is the Masked Marauder. Bugs pops up from beneath the ground with a lit candle and says "That's right! That's right! You win the 64 dollar question!" (a reference to the "big prize" on the famous radio quiz show, Take It or Leave It. He then kisses him and blows out the candle.
The cartoon has been released on VHS in anonymous 'Bugs Bunny' collections, and is also featured on the fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set, released on October 30, 2007. "Red Hot Ryder" serves as a spoof of Red Ryder, borrowing the image of the popular Western serial's cowboy hero Don Berry.
- This was Bugs Bunny's second appearance in the Looney Tunes series. His first was a short cameo in Porky Pig's Feat, but was not a starring role, therefore making Buckaroo Bugs Bugs' first starring role in a Looney Tunes short.
- This was the last cartoon release to bear Leon Schlesinger's name, as he sold his cartoon studio to Warner Bros. around the time of its release.
- The older version of Bugs Bunny would be used again in the next Bugs short, The Old Grey Hare.
- This and Hare Conditioned are the only two cartoons with Bugs Bunny to use the Looney Tunes drum ending with Porky Pig.
- That is because he appeared and replaced Porky in Hare Tonic and Baseball Bugs.
- When, near the end of this cartoon, Bugs blows the candle light, you can hear Robert Camplett's bay-vooop! sound. The next cartoon short will be in The Old Grey Hare.
- Some syndicated versions of this cartoon (particularly one version shown on a TBS station in Illinois) omit the part in which Red Hot Ryder's groin being covered by a fig leaf after the Masked Marauder takes off his belt and diaper pin with a magnet.