Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl (better known simply as Jessie) is a major character in the Toy Story franchise, first appearing in Toy Story 2. She is a vintage pull string cowgirl toy from the 1950s and a former member of Woody's Roundup Gang. At first, she only intends to be collectible, and dislikes the fact that Woody has an owner, Andy, and a space toy friend, Buzz, but when the cowboy and space ranger rescue Jessie from the plane bound for Japan, she accepts her true purpose: to be played with.
Jessie is a friendly, excitable cowgirl doll. She likes being loved by any child and has the power to yodel. She hates being in storage -- as it makes her claustrophobic -- and not having someone to love her. A girl named Emily had once loved her until she gave her up and put her in a charity box, which emotionally scarred Jessie forever.
Jessie is a lanky plastic doll. She has green eyes, hair made from red yarn with a ponytail in braids and a yellow ribbon that has tied to the bottom of her ponytail, pink lips, rosy cheeks, auburn eyebrows, small nose white long-sleeved western-style shirt with both yellow blouse and cuffs that have red doodles, blue jeans, a belt made from brown plastic with a buckle made from gold plastic, white chaps that have cow spots all over, cowgirl boots made from brown plastic, a cowgirl hat made from crimson plastic, and a pull string on her back with a white loop attached to it.
In Toy Story 2, she is the second toy that Woody meets in Al McWhiggin's apartment after Bullseye and before Stinky Pete the Prospector. She is sassy, sweet, cute, athletic, and has a habit of yodeling when happy or excited. They reveal to Woody that he is a vintage Sheriff Woody collectible doll and the star of a forgotten children's TV show, Woody's Roundup. After watching an episode of when Woody has to save her and Pete being trapped in an abandoned mine & Pete accidentally lit a stick of dynamite thinking it was a candle, she turns it off, and Pete tells Woody that the show was canceled after the launch of Sputnik 1 led children to become more interested in Space Toys. When they revealed that they're going to the Konishi Toy Museum in Tokyo, Japan, Woody refuses to go since he still has an owner and has no intention of going there with the Roundup Gang. Jessie begins to hyperventilate for fear that she'll go back into storage again. She then begins to mock Woody for still having an owner. When Al went back to his apartment with his camera and placing the toys, Woody's arm was ripped when the string was caught.
That night, after Woody's attempt to retrieve his ripped-off arm is foiled when the TV suddenly turned on, causing Al to wake up and put Woody back in his case, Woody spotted the remote in front of Jessie's case and accuses Jessie of turning on the TV, to which Jessie responds by fighting Woody. The Prospector breaks up the fight, and Jessie still feels bitter about Woody caring only about Andy. The next day, after Woody's arm has been fixed, Jessie sarcastically lets Woody leave, but the Prospector convinces Woody to speak with Jessie to make amends. When Woody talks to Jessie, she tells him the story about Emily (seen during the "When She Loved Me" musical sequence), a little girl that had been her owner. Throughout her years as Emily's toy, Jessie has enjoyed being played with, such as being taken for a horseback riding, a drive in her car, and a swing on a tire. However, years have passed, and Emily has found more mature activities to do, forgetting about Jessie until finding her under the bed one day. Jessie had spent one more time in the car with Emily, only for Emily to place her in a charity box, leaving her shocked and heartbroken that she has been given away. Being in a box for a long period of time, Jessie has developed claustrophobia. After hearing that story, she said that "you never forget kids like Emily & Andy, but they forget you". Woody felt sorry for Jessie, but she tells him to go, but with more of the Prospector's convincing, Woody, thinking that the same fate will happen to him as Andy grows up, warms up to the idea of going to the museum, and Jessie's feelings of bitterness and sadness brightens up to happiness and excitement. Later that day, they have a little fun by making a show with Woody, who accidentally falls off Bullseye, then Jessie tries to help, but soon tickles him after he stated that he is ticklish.
Woody's friends, Buzz, Potato Head, Slinky Dog, and Hamm, burst through the air vent using Rex's head. Slink ties Jessie & Bullseye so they can escape with Woody, but they were stopped by Andy's Buzz, which the other one was a Utility Belt Buzz from Al's Toy Barn. Woody refuses to go back to Andy & his friends left. But after watching a video of him singing "You Got a Friend in Me" on the TV, Woody decides to go back to Andy so he wouldn't miss him growing up, but not until offering to take the Roundup gang with him back to Andy's house after having a change of heart and deciding to go back to Andy's room with Buzz and the other toys. Jessie initially feels uncertain, but Stinky Pete, now showing his true colors, locks them in Al's apartment. He even turned off the TV revealing that last night, he turned it on and framed Jessie. Woody and Jessie try to stand up to the Prospector, but they learn that the Prospector has never been sold from a dime store shelf, which makes him feel more determined to get himself and the others to Japan, where he believes he will finally be appreciated. Al started to come & Jessie, Bullseye & Woody were packed up to be taken with Al to the airport.
At the airport, Buzz and the toys extricate Woody and get rid of the evil Prospector, but are unable to free Jessie from the case, despite Bullseye being able to escape, as the case gets loaded into a plane bound for Japan. Determined to rescue Jessie, Woody whistles for Bullseye, whom he and Buzz mount and gallop across the airfield to rescue Jessie.
Woody, after being separated from Buzz again, follows the case into the plane's cargo hold. There, Woody again offers to take Jessie back to Andy's house. She initially fears that Andy will not like her, but Woody tells her that it will not be so bad because Andy has a baby sister. Excited, she agrees to go with Woody (and the other toys), but the two become trapped in the plane. Finding another escape route, they exit the plane. But Woody slips, prompting Jessie to grab hold of Woody's arm. Using his pull-string, Woody and Jessie swing down from the plane and land on Bullseye right behind Buzz, finally completing the mission just seconds before the plane takes off. As they celebrate their success, Jessie describes Woody rescuing her as "Woody's finest hour".
Back at Andy's room, when Andy comes home from Cowboy Camp, he is pleased to see Jessie and Bullseye added into his toy collection, calling them Bazooka Jane and her jet-propelled horse. With Andy's name printed on the bottom of her boot, Jessie is overjoyed to feel appreciated again. Buzz clearly, but nervously, develops a crush on her and the two enter a relationship somewhat similar to the way Woody and Bo Peep have done, before Jessie shows off as she uses the Hot Wheels car and track to reach the doorknob to open it and let Buster out to use the bathroom. The two couples are seen standing together as they enjoy watching a newly-fixed Wheezy sing "You've Got a Friend in Me".
In Toy Story 3, she is first shown in an opening sequence taking place in the Wild West. When Woody is knocked off the train by bandits One-Eyed Bart and Betty (Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head's characters, respectively), Woody is seen riding on Bullseye behind Jessie as they chase after the train. After Bart explodes a railroad bridge and escapes with One-Eyed Betty and their stolen loot on a Corvette that the Aliens are driving, Jessie and Woody rush over to stop the train to save the orphans aboard. Woody jumps into the locomotive and pulls on the brakes, but the train goes off the bridge and into a ravine, leaving Jessie to assume that Woody has died, along with the orphans. But then, to Jessie's surprise, the train shoots out of the ravine, lifted up by Buzz. Woody, Buzz and Jessie then attempt to stop the criminals, but they are interrupted by a spaceship controlled by Evil Dr. Porkchop (Hamm's character), who warps the criminals back into the spaceship and executes Death by Monkeys to capture the three heroes. As One-Eyed Bart prepares to finish them off, the scene cuts to Andy's room, revealing that the sequence has actually taken place in Andy's imagination.
During the main events of the film, Jessie continues to have fond affections toward Buzz. When Andy attempts to put her and the other toys in the attic, she and the others do not realize that his mom accidentally threw them out and refused to listen to Woody. To keep herself from reliving the trauma life she had when thrown out by Emily, she convinces the other toys to go to Sunnyside Daycare.
She is excited to learn that the children at Sunnyside are replaced with new children when they get older, meaning that they will always be played with no matter what. She tries to convince Woody into staying, but he turns down the offer and calls her 'selfish', leaving to go back to Andy alone. This hurts Jessie. After recess ends, she and the other toys realize that they have been put in a room where the children that, roughly but innocently, abuse them and are too young to even handle them. Later, after Buzz disappears to talk to Lotso, Mrs. Potato Head sees Andy with the eye that she left in Andy's room. Jessie and the other toys realize that Woody was right, that Andy still wanted them. They decide to return home to Andy but are imprisoned by Lotso, who had Buzz reprogrammed and think that he is a space ranger again, turning him against them. Buzz sets down the prison standards, and in order to make sure they obey them, Lotso gives them Woody's hat (which he left behind). This causes Jessie and the others to believe Lotso killed Woody.
The next morning, Jessie and Bullseye are the ones who have been mourning Woody's apparent "death". Jessie also appeared to be mourning greatly as she felt her decisions had cost both Buzz and Woody. When Woody returns to rescue them, after hearing a sad story about Sunnyside and Lotso by one of Bonnie's toys named Chuckles, Jessie and the others are super happy to see that he's still alive and give him his hat. Jessie apologizes for not listening and Woody apologizes for leaving. They make a plan to escape and Jessie is soon reunited with Buzz, who had been reset to the Spanish mode of his space ranger self; a romantic version of Buzz who is far more outspoken about his feelings for Jessie (the reset had temporarily erased his memories). At first, she is uncomfortable with the change but finds that she also rather likes this romantic version, too.
When they get stuck in a garbage truck, Buzz saves Jessie but is soon flattened by a television. Thinking that he is dead, she starts to despair but Buzz reawakens to his normal self, not remembering a thing that happened prior to being set to Demo mode and Spanish mode. They soon fall into a landfill and end up falling down an incinerator. As they accept their fate of doom, they are saved by the squeeze-toy aliens, who had run off to the "claw", with the giant "Claw".
They all return to Andy's house and with Woody's intervention, are donated to Bonnie, the girl that found Woody outside of Sunnyside. Jessie and the others are all played with by Andy one last time and quickly adjusts to her new life with Bonnie. Towards the very end, she takes advantage of Buzz's new Spanish side and they dance together to "Hay Un Amigo En Mi" (the Spanish version of "You've Got a Friend in Me").
Jessie returns in the special as the protagonist. During a road trip, she is reminded of her traumatizing years in storage after she gets trapped in a small tool box. They stay in a motel for the night with the Andersons. When her friends are stolen by the motel's owner along with some other toys, it's up to her to save them from being shipped to a toy collector and to do that, she must conquer her claustrophobia.
Woody and Jessie share a sibling-like relationship. Since meeting each other in Al's penthouse, the two share a close bond. The two are shown to have pretty heated arguments from time to time, but they deeply care for each other nonetheless.
Her romantic relationship with Buzz was only hinted at the end of Toy Story 2 when Buzz became instantly lovestruck with her looks and her adventurous personality. In Toy Story 3, their relationship hadn't evolved much since Toy Story 2, but it's shown that Jessie is fond of Buzz, and he is protective of her. While the film progress, Jessie becomes attracted to Buzz because of his Spanish mode. After Lotso leaves the toys to die, Buzz grabs Jessie's hand. After the aliens save them, Buzz is still holding Jessie's hand. At the end of Toy Story 3, the two finally seal their relationship, with Jessie taking the initiative for the two to dance an exciting pasodoble that closes the trilogy.
Jessie's claustrophobia is basically post-traumatic stress disorder as being abandoned in a box and in storage for so long traumatized her.
It is unknown how many sayings Jessie has by pulling her pull string, but in the series it can be assumed she can say nine like Woody and Stinky Pete, including her trademark yodel.
When Jessie first meets Woody, she exclaims, "Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln!" Abraham Lincoln's mother was Nancy Hanks, a blood relative of Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks is a direct descendant of an uncle of Nancy Hanks.
When Jessie fights Woody after he accuses her for turning on the TV, Jessie's position (pinning Woody on the ground, foot on his back, pulling his arms back) is the same as Buzz's when he fights Woody underneath Andy's car at the gas station in Toy Story.
Jessie outgrowing her owner in a flashback is very similar to when Buzz discovers that he's just a toy in Toy Story.
John Lasseter's wife Nancy suggested that in Toy Story 2 that there should be a strong female character, which soon led to the creation of Jessie.
Jessie was originally going to be a cactus called Señorita Cactus, but it was decided later on that she would be a cowgirl.
Notably, in the Monsters, Inc. comic mini-series Laugh Factory, Boo's Jessie doll is prominently featured in the third installment, "Toy Worry". In that story, Sid, using the monsters' door-traveling technology, steals Jessie from Boo while she isn't looking, as he is trying to "save" other kids from being terrorized by living toys like he was. After Mike and Sulley return Boo's Jessie doll to her at the end, they scoff at the idea of toys coming to life, but Boo's Jessie doll gives a knowing wink to the reader.
Jessie is the only female toy in Andy's room who solely belongs to Andy, while the other female toys belong to Molly.
While all the other toys have brown, blue, and black eyes, Jessie is the only one with green. Also, she is the only toy with red hair.
Since Jessie is from the 1950s, it is possible that she is approximately 50+ years old.
She has red hair and a red hat. Meanwhile, Woody has brown hair and a brown hat. It is unknown if this was done on purpose or just a coincidence.
Even though he is Woody's horse, Bullseye seems to be more attached to Jessie. Whenever Bullseye is around, she usually has an arm around him. Other times during dramatic situations, he hides behind her, or Jessie holds him close.
Buzz and Jessie's dance moves during the end credits of Toy Story 3 are choreographed by Tony Dovolani and Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars.
In Toy Story 2, Andy names Jessie "Bazooka Jane". But in Toy Story 3, when Andy introduces Bonnie to her, he calls her by her real name. It is unknown how Andy learned her real name, but it is possible that he found out about Woody's Roundup and learned her name. It is also possible that like real Jessie dolls, one of her pull string quotes does include her saying her name.
Jessie may have romantic feelings toward Buzz, which were briefly shown in Toy Story 2 and throughout several times in Toy Story 3, especially in the Spanish Buzz scene. Whether this will continue into Toy Story 4 is unknown at this point.