Steal Wool is a 1957 American Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. This is the fourth short featuring Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog. Mel Blanc provided for the voices of all the characters in this cartoon, however, like all Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf shorts, this short is mostly composed of visual gags.
The title is a play on steel wool.
Introduction: Like all Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf shorts, this one revolves around Ralph Wolf trying to steal the sheep which Sam Sheepdog is guarding.
1. Ralph's first plan is to sneak under a sheep and carry it off, wearing it as a disguise. When Ralph is caught by Sam he attempts to push the sheep away and act innocent, but Sam punches him in the nose, turning his nose into an accordion.
2. As in all three earlier episodes, Ralph devises a plan that involves tunnelling under the field and digging very small holes through the surface. This time, he creates the hole a safe distance away and surveys the area with a periscope. After spotting a sheep, he attempts to capture it with a lasso, but accidentally snags Sam, who punches him in the head. This time, Ralph walks away with his entire body turned into an accordion.
3. Ralph's third plan is to build a simple suspension bridge out of firecrackers and lure Sam to the other side. When Sam passes, Ralph grabs a sheep, lights the firecrackers, and runs across the bridge, ensuring that Sam has no way to return. However, Sam uses his uncanny ability to appear at the other end of the bridge, where he prompts Ralph to hand over the sheep. Ralph begins running toward the burning end of the bridge (which is now floating in midair, against the laws of gravity, but not the laws of cartoon physics) and extinguishes the firecracker. However, Sam lit the other end of the bridge, and Ralph's bridge disappears beneath him.
4. Ralph then attempts to place a makeshift teeter totter under Sam and jump on the other end from a great height. However, because of Sam's weight, the board merely acts as a springboard, tossing Ralph into Sam's arms. Sam places Ralph on one end of the teeter totter and slams the other end down as hard as he can, sending Ralph flying through the air.
5. Next, Ralph wheels a giant, lit cannon, up a hill behind Sam. As Ralph runs away, giddy, the cannon begins to roll down after him. As Ralph notices this, he runs as fast as he can, until he reaches the edge of a cliff, which has a very small cliff immediately below it. Ralph climbs onto the cliff and turtles. The cannon stops on the edge of the cliff, but has enough momentum to flip the cannon over so it's pointing straight down at Ralph. Ralph, curious if he's safe, stands up, only to discover that he's inside the cannon just before the cannon is about to fire.
6. In Ralph's final attempt, he sneaks up behind Sam and attaches each end of a very large elastic band to rocks on either side of Sam to create an over-sized slingshot. As Ralph pulls the band back, the rocks loosen and fire past him, anchoring themselves into opposing sides of a chasm, and slinging Ralph through the chasm. On the other side of the chasm, Ralph grabs hold of a tree and holds on for dear life, but the elasticity of the rubber band slings the two rocks into Ralph, sending Ralph, the two rocks, and a piece of the tree flying, while the rubber band is still wrapped around the rest of the tree. Ralph manages to free himself from the two rocks and the piece of tree, only to run into a cliff face and be crushed by the items. As Ralph crawls out from under the wreck, the rest of the tree slings into Ralph.
Finally, the punch clock whistle blows and Ralph and Sam walk home. Ralph has two black eyes, an arm in a sling, and is stumbling. Sam reassuringly suggests that Ralph take the next day off, and that Sam can handle both jobs.
The music played during the title card sequence is Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.