If there were a competition for saddest Disney movie, Bambi would be tough to beat. The 1942 animated film about a fawn whose mother is shot down by a deer hunter is, for unassuming tots, a brutal introduction to the hard knocks of life, its edges softened only by the cuteness of its woodland creatures and plucky orchestral soundtrack.
Bambi, like many of Disney’s disadvantaged heroes and heroines, ultimately perseveres to make a family of his own. In the spirit of persevering deer everywhere, here is a collection of LIFE Magazine’s most peaceful fawns, does, stags and bucks.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.