Pecos Bill is an animated short from the film Melody Time published on May 27, 1948. It was reissued as a stand-alone short on February 19, 1954, and has also appeared on Disney Sing Along Songs (1986) and Rootin' Tootin' Roundup (1989).
The segment is a retelling of the famous roughest, toughest cowboy in the west, Pecos Bill and his trusty steed Widowmaker. Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers explain to two kids (Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten) at their campsite why coyotes howl at night and end up retelling the story of Pecos Bill. The segment explains life of Pecos and how some of the West's famous landmarks and features have come to be, because of Pecos Bill. Pecos Bill outhissed the rattlesnake. Then, he saved his horse, Widowmaker from the Vultures, and he also roped a raging cyclone out of nowhere, He rolled a smoke and lit it. And he tamed the onry wind down to a breeze. Then, he went to sunny California and he brought rain to save Texas from the drought. Once he relaxed with his horse in the water, Something Awful happened, with a cow mooing to wake them up. It was Bill’s Cow who had been stolen by the Group of Bandits. Pecos Bill lassoed the Rustlers with the cow, Still mooing for help. When the Rustlers saw Pecos Bill Who lassoed and caught them, They were furious at him. Pecos Bill began to knock every teeth out one by one, sending their teeth into the hills. The Rustlers (who are now formed), Began to sing “Yippee I Ay!” With the now rescued cow. As he pulled them back along with him. The Rustlers went back to their home. And the rescued cattle went back to the cow pin.
The feature takes a turn when Pecos falls in love with Slue-Foot Sue. This makes Bill's horse Widowmaker feel abandoned and jealous of Sue for stealing his best friend. Bill and Sue plan on getting married but she insists on wearing a bussel on her backside made from metal and springs. She also wants to get married while riding Widowmaker which makes Widowmaker more angry than ever.
Sue expertly rides the violently bucking horse until the sympathetic bouncing in her bussle launches her off Widowmaker sky-high, with each bounce launching her higher and higher.
The town thought all was lost for Sue, but Pecos did not sweat it, for he (a the greatest champeen of the lasso) was going to effortlessly catch her with his trusty rope... but shockingly, he missed! No one who witnessed it could ever figure out how it happened, but the viewers can see that it was Widowmaker who purposely stepped on Pecos' rope preventing it from reaching Sue.
With Pecos unable to arrest her ascent, Sue kept going higher and higher until she finally landed on the moon, "and that's where she stayed".
The narrator then relates that Pecos left civilization and would howl at the moon every night, with his coyote brothers joining in sympathy; and that is the reason that to this very day, coyotes howl at the Moon that way.
The segment and the film end with Roy Rogers and the Pioneers reprising the song "Blue Shadows on the Trail".
- Pecos Bill has been edited for content in versions commonly seen on Disney television: all tobacco references (both visual and in song: "Pecos rolled a smoke and lit it") are removed and the segment referring to "painted Indian" Native Americans was cut. Though the segments were still cut for the U.S.A. VHS and DVD releases, these were however restored for the PAL DVD and Japanese laserdisc releases, and the scene was also restored when the film was released for streaming on Disney+.
- When Pecos Bill is included in the television film Disney's Rootin' Tootin' Roundup, though the cigarette smoking scenes (including both visual and in song: "Pecos rolled a smoke and lit it") are kept intact, the segment referring to "painted Indian" Native Americans was cut. Also cut from this cartoon is the scene where Pecos Bill shoots the screen with a pistol before the cartoon's titular song begins .
- The character is referenced in Imani Coppola's 1997 feminist anthem "Legend of a Cowgirl" from her debut album Chupacabra. The chorus includes the line, "Pecos Bill couldn't hang for long".