A Bum Steer for Scooby is episode 11 of Season 1 from the Scooby-Doo Show. These episodes originally aired in 1976-1977 and featured the gang travelling to places further away, such as Mexico, Canada, and Texas (as in this case). If you want to own these episodes, I highly recommend The Complete Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Series on DVD which collects every episode.
With 24 episodes, plus the Dynomutt episodes includes as well, it’s worth the value and will keep you entertained for hours!
A Bum Steer for Scooby Episode Recap (with Spoilers)
While Scooby and the gang are driving on a rural road in Hidden Valley (probably near El Paso Texas which has cliff dwelling ruins) to visit Daphne’s Uncle Matt’s Ranch, Velma declares ‘Jinkies, it’s kind of spooky out here’. Turns out Velma is right as Freddy spots a Flying Ghost Bull in the sky!
The bull spots the Mystery Machine, and there is an exciting chase to a mountain tunnel, where the gang manage to escape.
The gang safely make it to Uncle Matt’s Lazy S Ranch where he tells them that the ghostly bull they saw is all just a local legend. However, his friend Sam Ferran informs them that Tamuka the Ghost Bull might be real as 20 cows vanished from his Ranch without a trace. According to local legend, Tamuka is a spirit guardian of a local burial ground for an extinct cliff dwelling tribe in Hidden Valley.
Shaggy and Scooby spot a floating sheet near the Uncle Matt’s house, and dive into a pile of hay to hide, but are soon coaxed out of hiding upon hearing that it’s just Lenny the Cook shaking out a tablecloth. Daphne gets scared by another monster, but it just turns out to be Carl, Matt’s ranch foreman, who is driving a car with bull horns on the front.
Carl tells Uncle Matt Blake that more cattle have gone missing, so Scooby and Shag go with Uncle Matt to visit the Sheriff (As the Sheriff office would be the safest place to be), and Freddy, Daphne & Velma decide to go the spot where Uncle Matt’s cattle disappeared.
Somehow while driving through the mountain tunnel, Uncle Matt disappears, and Scooby and Shaggy decide it’s best to drive back to the Ranch to tell the others.
Investigating the Ranch, Velma and Freddy see that the barb wire fence has been cut with wire cutters. They feel this is unusual as a ghost should be able to transpose right through the fence. Before they can investigate any further, Tamuka shows up and scares them away.
Shaggy and Scooby return to the Ranch but find an angry bull instead of Freddy and the gang. The bull knocks Scooby and Shaggy into a tree where they wait until the Mystery Machine returns back to Uncle Matt’s Ranch. Scooby and Shaggy then inform Freddy and the gang of Uncle Matt’s disappearance, so all five drive back to where Uncle Matt disappeared.
Searching for Daphne’s uncle, they discover cattle tracks that appear out of nowhere. Following the cattle tracks, they are brought to an ancient burial ground, along with the cliff dwellers ruins, in Hidden Valley. Shaggy wants to bolt immediately. However, Velma, who is unaware of a Medicine Man looking upon them from the cliffs, tells Shaggy that nobody has been here for a thousand years.
Velma notices that the cattle tracks disappear again, but a few feet up ahead they spot tire tracks. The gang follow the truck tracks to a group of ‘double o’ branded cattle, which are Sam Ferran’s cows. A ranch hand rides up and tells the gang that they are trespassing on Sam’s Ranch, and tells them to scoot.
Inside the Burial Mound
Like we mentioned before, we’re pretty certain this episode takes place in Texas, and was inspired by the Mongollon people, who lived in cliffs near El Paso. The image below shows a more specific area where we think this episode may have taken place (X marks the spot!)
Freddy decides they should go back to the Burial grounds to see if they can find Tamuka, and the gang head into a burial mound, leaving Shaggy and Scooby to guard the door. Inside an ancient skull scares Velma and she drops her glasses. Hi-jinx ensues as Daphne walks past a skeleton, and the bony finger of the skeleton catches on her dress and starts walking behind her due to ‘cartoon physics’.
Scooby and Shaggy are scared into the tomb after they spot the Medicine Man dancing in the cliffside ruins. The reunion is cut short as all five run out when they spot Tamuka inside, and in the panic, Scooby are once again separated from the gang.
Throughout the next scenes, the Medicine man chases the two separated gangs throughout the cliff caves and tombs, locking them into various rooms. Freddy, Velma, and Daphne are able to sneak up on the Medicine Man and hear him speaking English. They then follow the medicine man to his lair, where they spot a bull-shaped helicopter. Freddy then watches the Medicine Man get into the bull-shaped helicopter and begin to fly away.
Freddy ties a rope to the helicopter to trap the Medicine man in the air. Meanwhile Shaggy and Scooby decide to walk out of the ghostly burial ground by dressing up in a cattle costume they found. They figure they’ll just look like a wandering cow and the medicine man will ignore them completely. The disguise doesn’t fool Freddy, who spots the clumsy duo trying to sneak off. Freddy figures out that there’s a Cattle Rustling scheme underfoot. You see, costumed cows are leading real cows into trucks where they can be whisked away.
Freddy convinces Scooby and Shaggy to wear the cattle costume as a Trojan horse to figure out who the rustlers are. The plan works too well as Shaggy and Scooby get rustled into a truck by another costumed cow. This is perfect as it allows Freddy and the gang to follow after the rustlers in the Mystery Machine to where they are unloading the cows.
Getting out of the Mystery Machine to find Shaggy and Scooby among the cows, Freddy, Daphne and Velma are lassoed by an evil ranch hand. All looks lost for the gang until Uncle Matt and the Sheriff show up to rescue them.
Freddy explains to the Sheriff that Uncle Matt’s cattle were being re-branded with a double “oo” to mask that they were once branded with an “s”.
Who was the Medicine Man Ghost?
Pulling the mask of the Medicine Man Gang, they recognize Lenny the Cook. They then pull the mask off a criminal in a cow costume who turns out to be Sam Ferran. Sam exclaims “And we would have gotten away scott clean if it wasn’t for that pesky pair in the cow costume”.
Don Messick: Scooby-Doo
Casey Kasem: Shaggy Rogers, Sam Ferran, Sam Ferran’s foreman
Frank Welker: Fred Jones, Matt Blake’s foreman, Medicine Man Ghost, Tamuka the Ghost Bull
Heather North: Daphne Blake
Pat Stevens: Velma Dinkley
John Stephenson: Matt Blake