Jessie (Toy Story)

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Toy Story character
Jessie (Toy Story).png
Jessie in a promotional image of Toy Story 3
First appearanceToy Story 2 (1999)
Last appearancePixar Popcorn (2021)
Voiced by
In-universe information
SpeciesHumanoid pull-string doll
  • Cowgirl
  • Sheriff (post Toy Story 4)
De facto leader of Andy's former toys (in Sunnyside)
Co-leader of Bonnie's room
Bonnie's room sheriff
Significant otherBuzz Lightyear
Place of originWoody's Roundup television series

Jessie is a fictional cowgirl rag doll from the Disney/Pixar Toy Story franchise. Created by John Lasseter, she first appears in Toy Story 2, and has since appeared as one of the three central characters of the films and spin-offs. Jessie is primarily voiced by Joan Cusack in the films and television specials. In the original manuscript of Toy Story 2, a doll by the name Señorita Cactus was originally supposed to be one of the main antagonists of the film, but was subsequently replaced when Lasseter's wife suggested that Toy Story 2 should have a strong female lead, which led to the creation of Jessie.[2]

In the Toy Story franchise, Jessie is a very excitable, brave, and very athletic rag doll that carries a great deal of sadness, as she was abandoned by her original owner, which left her somewhat distrustful. She was later founded by Al of Al’s Toy Barn, who wanted to sell her to a toy museum in Tokyo, Japan. Between the time Emily abandoned her and when Al found her, it is evident that she had no owners during those years and spent a long time in storage. Years of being in storage have made her somewhat withdrawn, and noticeably afraid of the dark, to the extent of hyperventilating whenever she is inside dark enclosed spaces, or even at just the thought of being abandoned. But she longs to again be a source of joy to a child, and this wish comes true at the end of Toy Story 2 when Andy accepts her and Bullseye into his toy collection.

The character has received critical acclaim since her debut in 1999, often cited as one of the best characters of the franchise. In October 2000, Jessie received the Patsy Montana Entertainer Award from the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.[3] Jessie is also the namesake of version 8 of the Debian operating system — the code names of Debian releases are names of characters from the Toy Story films.[citation needed]



Toy Story 2[edit]

In Toy Story 2, Jessie and other western toys make up a group known as the Roundup gang, based on Woody's Roundup, a western-themed children's television show from the 1950s. They are also part of a collection of valuable Woody's Roundup merchandise owned by Al McWhiggin. When Jessie is introduced, she tackles Woody with excitement about finally meeting a Woody doll. She is happy that she and the other toys are finally going to come out of storage and go to the toy museum in Japan that they are destined for.

It is Jessie who introduced Woody to the facts about the character on which he is based. She shows him the Woody's Roundup merchandise, and Stinky Pete the Prospector explains how the show was canceled after the launch of Sputnik and the resulting interest in the Space Race and science fiction, diminishing the popularity of westerns.

Woody indicates that he has no intention of going to Japan, leaving her bitter. Woody comes to suspect her of attempting to sabotage his escape, including waking Al to prevent Woody from recovering his damaged arm. After Woody is fixed, he learns Jessie's tragic back story about her previous owner through a flashback scene accompanied by Sarah McLachlan's song "When She Loved Me". Woody tells Jessie that, if only she knew his owner, Andy, she might understand why he wants to return to his home. He attempts to explain his bond with his owner to her, but she interrupts him, guessing that Woody is going to say that Andy is a "real special kid". Woody, shocked by the accuracy of her statement, asks how she knows that about him. She says simply: "Emily was just the same. She was my whole world." As the song begins to play, the audience sees that Jessie once had an owner who loved her as much as Andy loves Woody.

The flashback shows Emily, her horse-loving young owner, happily playing, laughing, and cuddling with Jessie. The two are clearly inseparable, with Emily even bringing her toy along with her on car rides. Emily's childhood bedroom is designed with a Wild West-equestrian theme of sorts, with figures of horses, toy guitars, cowhide and plaid patterns, and horseshoes decorating the room. Various Jessie memorabilia, like lunchboxes, alarm clocks, and picture frames, also are present in the room; Emily even dresses in plaid shirts, denim shorts, cowgirl boots, and a replica of Jessie's signature cowgirl hat(There are strong visual clues that may or may not indicate that Jessie's Emily has grown up to be Andy's Mom).

However, the audience sees that, as the girl grows older into her adolescence, she begins to forget more and more about her childhood interests and begins to explore things like make-up, nail polish, and vinyl records. Jessie fell through a crevice and laid underneath it for quite some time, forgotten. While Emily once loved playing pretend with her toys, now — as the audience sees from Jessie's point of view beneath the bed — she prefers inviting her friends over, painting each other's nails, listening to music.

An ignored and unhappy Jessie lies on the floor until Emily finds her under the bed for the first time in several years. She takes the toy along with her to share a day on a car trip, like they did when Emily was a child. Jessie feels loved once more, as if things will go back to the way they were. The car comes to a stop, however, and their relaxing day together is put to an end when Emily places Jessie in a donations box on the side of the road, to be given away to charity.

The shocked Jessie looks on as her owner drives away and leaves her, and the song draws to a close. Jessie then states, "You never forget kids like Emily or Andy, but they forget you." Woody, realizing he could easily suffer the same fate with Andy, then chooses to stay, which Jessie finds thrilling, especially when he begins to anticipate his journey to Japan in excitement.

Ultimately, it is Prospector that is revealed as the attempted saboteur when Woody finally decides to take Jessie and Bullseye with him back to Andy's room. Because of Prospector's sabotage, Al packs the Roundup gang into a luggage case and heads for the airport. There, Buzz Lightyear and Andy's other toys free Woody and get rid of Prospector by stuffing him into a backpack belonging to a little girl who loves to decorate her toys. Despite this, Jessie still remains trapped as the case gets loaded into the luggage transporter, while Bullseye manages to escape in time. Buzz and Woody mount Bullseye and chase after the luggage transporter, which Woody climbs onto.

Woody follows the case into the plane's cargo hold and frees Jessie from inside. When Woody offers to take Jessie to Andy's home with him, she is rather uncertain at first, but eagerly accepts when she learns from Woody that Andy has a baby sister named Molly. However, the two toys become trapped in the cargo hold, but Woody locates another escape hatch. Using his pullstring, Woody and Jessie swing down from the plane and land on Bullseye right behind Buzz just before the plane takes off. At the very end of the film, when Andy returns from camp after the toys return home, he is pleased to have the new toys added into his collection, calling Jessie "Bazooka Jane," and Buzz develops a romantic interest in her as seen when he nervously compliments her hair.

Touched and amused by this comment, Jessie describes Buzz as "the sweetest space toy" she has ever met. She performs an impressive athletic feat to let Buster out to use the bathroom(much to Buzz's astonishment as his wings automatically pop out). Jessie and Buzz are later seen together alongside Woody and Bo Peep as they watch Wheezy sing his version of "You've Got a Friend in Me."

Toy Story 3[edit]

In Toy Story 3, after Andy seemingly throws them away, it is Jessie who convinces the other toys to be given to Sunnyside Daycare, refusing to relive the trauma she felt when she was given away by Emily. She fails to realize that Andy intended to put them in the attic and that his mother threw them out by accident, and stubbornly refuses to listen to Woody when he tries to clear up the misunderstanding, arguing that Andy has moved on and that they must do the same.

Jessie is thrilled to learn that the children at Sunnyside are replaced with new children when they grow older, meaning the toys can never be outgrown. She tries to persuade Woody to join the others in beginning their lives anew at the daycare, but Woody reluctantly calls her and the other toys selfish; leaving to return to Andy alone. Jessie the other toys discover they have been placed in a room with very young children, who abuse them in an extremely rough(yet innocent)way. Jessie gets her hair painted green, much to her disgust.

Afterward, Mrs. Potato Head sees Andy searching for his missing toys through her eye that was left in his room, allowing Jessie and the others to realize that they were wrong about Andy. They decide to return home, only for Lotso to order his minions to imprison them with the help of a reset Buzz. Even in his demo mode, Buzz still remains somewhat attracted to Jessie(at least to an extent); calling her a "temptress" and being immune to her "bewitching good looks".

Following another rough play date with the young children, Andy's toys are reunited with Woody, who had a change of heart and returned to rescue his friends. Jessie apologizes for not listening to Woody, who apologizes in return for leaving. The toys carry out their plan to break out of Sunnyside but matters are further complicated when they accidentally reset Buzz into a Spanish version of his deluded self. The Spanish Buzz makes his love extremely apparent; passionately wooing his crush with athletic moves and other impressive feats. Jessie is initially uncomfortable with this drastic change, but quickly grows to like this romantic side of Buzz.

When the toys get stuck in a garbage truck along with Lotso, Jessie is rescued by the Spanish Buzz, who gets crushed by a broken television set. Jessie despairs over Buzz's apparent death, but he sporadically reawakens as his normal self with no further injuries aside from a minor form of amnesia. Jessie hugs him in relief before repeatedly kissing him on the cheek in saying thanks for saving her(much to Buzz's confusion). The toys end up dumped in a landfill and nearly killed in a trash incinerator from Lotso abandoning them. Andy's Alien toys rescue them all using a crane.

Once safely outside the incinerator, Jessie and Buzz's mutual looks indicate the clear understanding of their feelings for each other. The toys return home to Andy and prepare to be stored in the attic; with Woody's intervention, though, they are instead given to Bonnie, a girl who took Woody to her home while he was away. Andy plays with his toys one last time. Jessie quickly adapts to her new life as one of Bonnie's toys and, at one point, decides to take advantage of Buzz's Spanish personality so they can dance together to "Hay Un Amigo En Mí" (the Spanish version of "You've Got a Friend in Me") which finally seals their romantic relationship.

Toy Story 4[edit]

Since the fourth film focuses mainly on Woody, the rest of the toys don't receive much focus, Jessie included. Early in the film, while picking toys to play with, Bonnie removes Woody's sheriff badge and puts it on Jessie, who later returns it. For much of the film, Jessie and the others stay in the family RV waiting for Woody, Buzz, and Forky to return. When they receive word that they need help, Jessie leads them in taking control of the RV to get to them. At the end, they reunite with Bo Peep and say goodbye to Woody, who gives Jessie his badge. One year later, Jessie introduces Bonnie's toys to a new utensil toy made out of a plastic knife (credited as Karen Beverly), created by Bonnie in first grade.

Other appearances[edit]


Jessie also makes a cameo in Monsters, Inc. as one of Boo's toys that she gives to Sulley.[4]


In Toy Story of Terror!, Jessie is forced to confront her nyctophobia and claustrophobia in this half-hour story which features the rest of Bonnie's toys looking for Mr. Potato Head after he disappears. Each member of the search party vanishes one at time as they are hunted by an unseen stalker, leaving only Jessie to rescue them.

She returns in Toy Story That Time Forgot, a 2014 half-hour special.


In Toy Story Midway Mania!, Jessie and her friends are featured in the interactive dark ride at Disney California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Woody and Jessie are featured in Big Thunder Ranch's outdoor stage and dining area, and Woody's Roundup Village's meet and greet area. They can also be found in the Splash Mountain courtyard in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom. Woody and Jessie are featured in the North America Room of It's a Small World. In 2019, Jessie's Critter Carousel opened at Disney California Adventure.


Disney heavily promoted Jessie following the release of Toy Story 2, as she gave them a character that they could market to girls, something the original film did not really provide. Among the items released were:

  • Several 10" and 12" fashion-style dolls
  • Several plush and rag doll-type dolls
  • Action figures in the Toy Story 2 and Toy Story and Beyond lines.
  • Wallets, purses and other accessories for girls
  • Nightlights and other bedroom accessories
  • Costumes and dress-up sets
  • High-end sculptures and collectibles

Jessie is featured as a playable character in Toy Story 3: The Video Game. She is also playable in Disney Infinity and Disney Infinity 3.0, voiced by Kat Cressida.[5]


Jessie is depicted as being hyper, hearty, energetic, and outgoing, and noticeably more free-spirited and loose than the orderly and calm Woody. She is also slightly tomboyish. In the television series Woody's Roundup, Jessie is portrayed as being equally bubbly, rambunctious, and adventurous, aided by woodland creatures represented by obvious string puppets. She is also a talented yodeler.

Despite Jessie's extreme cheerfulness and sunny personality, she is scarred by a bleak and slightly depressing and melancholy background, when she was outgrown and abandoned by her owner Emily. She spent years afterward as a collector's item owned by Al packaged in a dark cardboard box along with Prospector and Bullseye, and was permanently scarred with claustrophobia and nyctophobia as a result, thrusting herself into horrible panic attacks when in confined spaces or faced with the threat of being stored away again. For years, she also was marked with a strong sense of feeling unloved, which she masked with her extreme playfulness, which was pacified after having been adopted by Andy. However, in the third film, when Andy was preparing to leave for college, she says "I should have seen this coming! It's Emily all over again!".

She has green eyes, red yarn hair pulled into a braid, pale plastic skin, and a small nose. She also has a yellow ribbon tied to the bottom of her braided hair, a white long-sleeved western-style shirt that includes a bright yellow bodice and cuffs complete with swirling red designs, blue jeans, a pair of white chaps with cow spots all over, brown boots, matching belt with gold buckle, red cowgirl hat, and a pullstring on her back with a white loop attached to it.


Jessie holds a positive reception, receiving critical acclaim and has become a fan-favorite of the Toy Story franchise since her debut in the second film.


  1. ^ Plantenga, Bart (2013). Yodel in Hi-Fi: From Kitsch Folk to Contemporary Electronica. Plantenga. ISBN 9780786486946.
  2. ^ "Pixar Animation Studios". Pixar Animation Studios. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  3. ^ Cowgirl Hall of Fame - Special Awards Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Toy Story 2 Archived 2008-03-30 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Pimentel, Joseph (October 27, 2015). "One of Disneyland's many voices has an ear for magic". Orange County Register. Retrieved May 10, 2019.

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