The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper (1789 - 1851)

The Last of the Mohicans
by James Fenimore Cooper (1789 - 1851)

Type of Work:

Historical romance

Setting

Upper New York region; 1757

Principal Characters

Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo), , a skilled white
scout and frontiersman

Chingachgook, , Hawkeye\'s lifelong Mohican
(Delaware) friend

Uncas, , Chingachgook\'s son and last heir
to the title of chief of the Mohican tribe

Major Duncan Heyward, , Hawkeye\'s Scottish
soldier-friend

David Gainut, , a psalm singer, and comical,
naive, self-proclaimed missionary

Magua (Le Renard Subtil--- "The Sly Fox"),
a dis placed and bloodthirsty Canadian Huron Indian

Colonel Munro, , defender of British Fort

Henry

Alice Munro, , fair and innocent daughter
of Colonel Munro

Cora Munro, her darker, elder half-sister,
and the story\'s real heroine

Story Overveiw

War between England and France had spilled
over into the North American continent. There, amid the various Indian
tribal conflicts, a small party set out from the British Fort Edward toward

Fort William Henry, defended by the Scottish veteran, Colonel Munro. Major

Duncan Heyward, ordered to escort Colonel Munro\'s two daughters, Cora and

Alice, to Fort William Henry, was followed by a tall, awkward, psalm singing
missionary, David Gamut. Fort Edward\'s troops were in a weakened state.

Now Major Heyward, in an attempt to reach Munro\'s fort before the French
forces led by Montcalm could surround it, hired a renegade Huron Indian
guide known as Magua, who claimed to know of a shorter route to their destination.

But now, after traveling most of the day and finding themselves still only
a few miles from Fort Edward, they at last decided the guide must be lost.

Late that same afternoon, a seasoned white
scout bearing the fitting name of Hawkeye, sat by a stream conversing with
his Delaware Mohican friend Chingachgook. By their dress and weaponry it
was obvious that they were not allied with the French or the Iriquois.

The Indian lamented aloud the sad history of his people, who had dwindled
after they foolishly parted with their land. He ended with a vision of
his own death: "I am on the hill-top, and must go down into the valley;
and when Uncas follows in my footsteps, there will no longer be any of
the blood of the [Delaware], for my boy is the last of the Mohicans."

As if conjured up by his father\'s words,
another voice announced, "Uncas is here! Who speaks to Uncas?" and stepping
between the two, a young warrior seated himself.

Soon the three men heard "the horses of
white men" approaching, and Hawkeye was appointed to speak to them in his
native English tongue. He went out to meet Heyward\'s group. When told that
the Indian guide, who was by this time lurking in the shadows, had lost
his way, Hawkeye doubtingly asked what tribe he belonged to. He was Mohawk
by birth, but an adopted Huron, came the reply. At this, both Chingachgook
and Uncas sprang to their feet. "A Huron!" spat the scout. "They are a
thievish race, nor do I care by whom they are adopted .... I should like
to look at the creature." Now, Magua saw that his plan to betray Heyward
and kidnap Munro\'s daughters had been foiled, and he fled into the forest.

Hawkeye and the Mohicans, sensing the danger
the little party now faced, agreed to see them safely to Fort William Henry.

But as Hawkeye had feared, Magua and his fellow Hurons gave chase. The
woodsman guided his travelers to an island cave and hid them behind a waterfall;
but they had been too closely followed, and the cave was soon under attack.

With little ammunition, the capture of the little group was certain. In
order to secure their only chance for rescue, Cora gallantly persuaded

Hawkeye and the Mohicans to try an escape - which they managed to do by
swimming underwater downriver.

Captured, Cora and Alice were taken by

Magua on a path leading far away from the fort. As they walked, Magua spoke
privately to Cora. Long ago, he divulged, after drinking the white man\'s
firewater, he had lost control of himself, and Colonel Munro had ordered
that he be publicly beaten. Magua\'s plan of revenge for this humiliation
was to take Munro\'s daughter as his wife and slave.

Cora hid her fear and responded calmly:
she would not go with him. In fury Magua was about to massacre the whole
lot, when Hawkeye and his comrades rushed the camp, killing all the Hurons
- except their villainous leader, who once again escaped. The group then
journeyed on in the darkness toward Fort William Henry.

It was dawn when Hawkeye and his charges
drew near the fort - only to find it already