- “On your left.”
- —Steve to Sam
The Winter Soldier
Steve and Sam first met in Washington, D.C. when they jogged the same route one morning. They talked to each other, immediately connecting as they discussed their experiences as veterans. Their conversation was interrupted by Natasha calling him to a mission. Before he left, Sam invited Steve to come by the VA where he worked.
After the mission, Steve went to the VA, catching the last few minutes of the group therapy session Sam led. They talked again, with Sam telling Steve about his friend who'd been killed in action.
A few days later, Sam returned home after his morning jog and heard a knock on his door. He opened it to find Steve and Natasha Romanoff on his doorstep asking for refuge. He immediately let them in and made breakfast for them. Sam insisted on joining the two of them in their fight, offering his expertise with the Exo-7 Falcon winged jetpack. Steve and Natasha accepted his help. The three kidnapped and interrogated Jasper Sitwell and later fought the Winter Soldier. Joining forces with Nick Fury and Maria Hill, they destroyed the Insight helicarriers and took down both HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sam stayed by Steve's side while he was in the hospital recovering from his brutal fight with the Winter Soldier. He later joined Steve in his quest to find Bucky Barnes, though they were unsuccessful for two years.
Age of Ultron
Sam joined the Avengers along with Wanda and Vision after the Battle of Sokovia, with Steve and Natasha acting as their trainers.
Sam and Steve sided with each other on the Sokovia Accords. Sam later accompanied him to Peggy Carter's funeral in London.
After Bucky was accused of bombing the Vienna International Centre, Sharon Carter informed Steve that he was hiding out in Bucharest, Romania. He and Sam traveled to Bucharest to take Bucky in themselves, as Everett Ross had ordered his agents to kill Bucky on sight. Steve entered Bucky's apartment while Sam kept watch on the roof. Steve and Bucky fought the agents who broke into the apartment. They escaped the apartment, only for the Black Panther to attack Bucky. Black Panther chased after Bucky, with Steve and Sam following close behind. The four were eventually cornered and arrested by Joint Counter Terrorist Centre agents, where it was revealed that the Black Panther was T'Challa, seeking to avenge his father who'd been killed in the explosion. They were transported to the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre in Berlin.
As Bucky was being interviewed by a psycho-analyst, the power cut out. Sam and Steve rushed to Bucky's interrogation room, where they found Bucky in Winter Soldier mode. He fought Sam and then Steve and began to make his way out of the facility. While Steve chased after the Winter Soldier, Sam tried to follow the psycho-analyst as he left, but lost him in the crowd.
With the fight over, Steve and Sam took the unconscious Bucky to an abandoned warehouse and trapped his metal arm in a vice, as they had no way of knowing whether Bucky would wake up as himself or the Winter Soldier. He woke up as himself, and mentioned memories of Steve's childhood to prove it. Steve was delighted to hear that Bucky remembered him, and Sam had to remind him of their dangerous situation. Bucky informed Sam and Steve that there were several other Winter Soldiers being kept in cryofreeze in Siberia, and the psycho-analyst was likely on his way to activate them. The three of them, joined by Wanda, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang, decided to deal with the Winter Soldiers on their own, as the Avengers who'd signed the Accords likely wouldn't be allowed to assist them.
Steve and Sam fought alongside each other at the Leipzig-Halle Airport. As the battle wore on, Sam realized that not all of them were going to make it out of there, and he told Steve as such. He told Steve and Bucky to go on to Siberia while the rest of them kept the other team distracted. Steve agreed to his plan, and he and Bucky escaped on a Quinjet.
Sam, Wanda, Clint, and Scott were eventually arrested and imprisoned in the Raft. Tony Stark visited Sam and asked where Steve and Bucky were heading. Sam told him after making him promise that he would go as a friend.
After Steve and Bucky left Siberia, Steve infiltrated the Raft and broke out his teammates. While Bucky went into cryofreeze in Wakanda, Sam and Steve went on the run from the government together. They were later joined by Natasha, who was on the run for helping Steve and Bucky escape the airport.
After receiving a call from Bruce Banner that Vision was in trouble, Sam, Steve, and Natasha went to Scotland, where Vision had met up with Wanda, and saved them from an attack by Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive. Sam and Steve fought alongside each other in the ensuing battle in Wakanda. Steve survived Thanos' snap to kill half the universe, while Sam did not.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha kisses Steve while undercover. Afterwards, she asks Steve if that had been his first kiss since 1945. Steve tells her no, but does not elaborate. Many fans believe that Steve is referring to Sam here, and that the two hooked up soon after they met, particularly after the scene where Steve goes to see Sam at the VA. Other evidence that shippers cite is Steve knowing Sam's address despite Sam never telling it to him.
- Steve – “I can't ask you to do this, Sam. You got out for a good reason”
- Sam – “Dude, Captain America needs my help. There's no better reason to get back in”
- “Don't look at me. I do what he does, just slower”
- —Sam's loyalty to Steve
- Sam – “You're going after him”
- Steve – “You don't have to come with me”
- Sam – “I know. When do we start?”
- — Together