A former US Army soldier, he is the serious and stern authority figure in Jellystone Park, in contrast to the antics of the troublesome Yogi, and he greatly disapproves of Yogi's picnic basket thievery, mainly because it repels parkgoers and creates a lot of extra work for him.
In the original Yogi Bear shorts on Huckleberry Hound, the then-unnamed character that would become Ranger Smith had a much different appearance, appearing older and with a white mustache, though his voice was the same. Even after his trademark appearance had been established, Ranger Smith's design was notably inconsistently drawn throughout each episode of "The Yogi Bear Show". In one episode, he appears as his young self, but this is apparently his first actual encounter with Yogi as he doesn't recognize and refers to him as that bear.
Ranger Smith's relationship with Yogi seems to change with every episode. Sometimes he's very friendly with Yogi and was even reluctant to send him to a zoo in one episode; in other episodes, he wants nothing more than to send Yogi to the St. Louis Zoo. The attitudes of Ranger Smith towards Yogi often seem to parallel Yogi's behavior; if Yogi is up to no good then Smith wants to be rid of Yogi, but if Yogi is trying to do the right thing, the ranger will often be supportive. There seems to be a deep down if not grudging respect for Yogi. Although the two have a somewhat antagonistic relationship, if serious trouble were to befall one of them, the other, out of sheer guilt, usually attempts to rescue them. They also have a long-running friendly rivalry.
Ranger Smith is usually Boo-Boo's friend, because Boo-Boo always tries to do the correct thing, unlike Yogi. Yogi, for example, steals picnic baskets and doesn't even feel guilty about it.
Messick served as narrator for the Yogi Bear episodes, using his natural voice for both the Ranger and the narrations, implying that the Ranger himself was narrating.
In one episode, Ranger Smith clearly states that his first name is Harold.
- Ranger Smith has appeared in some episodes of Yogi's Gang. In those appearances, he is seen with blond hair instead of black.
- Ranger Smith was a supporting character in Yogi's Treasure Hunt.
- Ranger Smith appeared only once (Quebec/Baghdad) in Scooby's Laff-A-Lympics.
- In Yo Yogi!, Ranger Smith is shown as Officer Smith who is a security guard at Jellystone Mall. Officer Smith is voiced by Greg Burson.
- Ranger Smith has become a starring character in parody shorts produced by the now-defunct animation company Spümcø, including Boo Boo Runs Wild, A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith, and Boo Boo and the Man. In those appearances, Ranger Smith was voiced by Corey Burton.
- Various designs for Ranger Smith made non-speaking appearances in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Identity Theft", referencing the noticeable inconsistencies the design experienced in the original cartoon.
- Ranger Smith appeared in the Robot Chicken episode "President Evil" voiced by Seth Green. In a movie trailer segment that featured Yogi and Boo Boo, Ranger Smith tells the sheriff that the cops won't catch Yogi since he's smarter than the average bear.
- Ranger Smith appears in the Yogi Bear feature film that was released December 17, 2010. He is portrayed by actor Tom Cavanagh. In this film, Ranger Smith learns that Jellystone is being shut down by Franklin City's Mayor R. Brown and he tries to avoid this with a firework celebration during the 100th anniversary that is accidentally ruined by Yogi and Ranger Smith is sent to a fake patch of land. However, this does not to stop him from helping Yogi and Boo Boo stop Mayor R. Brown from cutting down all the trees and revealing the rare frog-mouthed turtle that lived in Jellystone which Boo Boo kept as a pet.
- Ranger Smith can be briefly spotted in a Metlife commercial that aired in 2012.
- The Huckleberry Hound Show
- The Yogi Bear Show
- Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! (1964)
- Yogi's Gang
- Yogi's First Christmas (1980)
- Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper
- Yogi's Treasure Hunt
- Yogi's Great Escape (1987)
- Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears (1988)
- The New Yogi Bear Show (1988)
- Yo Yogi! (Officer Smith)
- Yogi the Easter Bear (1994)
- Yogi Bear (2010)
- Yogi Bear 2 (2017)