The Last of the Mohicans Summary

Summary (Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Major Duncan Heyward has been ordered to escort Cora and Alice Munro from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry, where the young women’s father, Colonel Munro, is commandant. Also in the party is David Gamut, a Connecticut singing master. On their way to Fort William Henry, they do not follow the military road through the wilderness. Instead, they place themselves in the hands of a renegade Huron known as Magua, who claims that he can lead them to their destination by a shorter trail.

It is afternoon when the little party meets the woodsman Hawkeye and his Delaware Mohican friends Chingachgook and his son Uncas. To their dismay, they learn that they are but an hour’s distance from their starting point. Hawkeye deduces that Magua has been planning to lead the party into a trap. His Mohican comrades try to capture the renegade, but Magua flees into the woods. At Heyward’s urging, Hawkeye agrees to guide the travelers to their destination. After the horses are tied and hidden among rocks along a river, Hawkeye produces a hidden canoe from among the bushes and paddles the party to a rock at the foot of Glenn’s Falls. There they prepare to spend the night in a cave.

That night, the party is surprised by a band of Iroquois led by Magua. Hawkeye, Heyward, and the rest might have a chance of victory, but unfortunately their ammunition, which was left in the canoe, has been stolen by one of the enemy. Their only hope then lies in the possibility of future rescue, for the capture of the little group is a certainty. Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas escape by floating downstream, leaving the Munro sisters and Major Heyward to meet the savages.

Captured, Cora and Alice are allowed to ride their horses, but their captors force Heyward and David to walk. Although they take a road paralleling the one that leads to Fort William Henry, Heyward cannot determine the destination the Indians have in mind. Drawing close to Magua, he tries to persuade him to betray his companions and deliver the party safely to Colonel Munro. The Huron agrees on the condition that Cora be given to him to live with him among his tribe as his wife. When she refuses, the enraged Magua has everyone bound. He is threatening Alice with his tomahawk when Hawkeye and his friends creep up silently on the band and attack. The Iroquois flee, leaving several of their dead behind. The party, under David’s guidance, sings a hymn of thanksgiving and then pushes onward.

Toward evening, they stop at a deserted blockhouse to rest. Many years before, it had been the scene of a fight between the Mohicans and the Mohawks, and a mound still shows where bodies lay buried. While Chingachgook keeps watch, the others sleep, and then at moonrise they continue on their way. It is dawn when Hawkeye and his charges draw near Fort William Henry. They are intercepted and challenged by a sentinel of the French under Montcalm, who is about to lay siege to the fort. Heyward is able to answer him in French, and they are allowed to proceed. Chingachgook kills and scalps the French sentinel. Then, through the fog that has risen from Lake George and through the enemy forces that throng the plain before the fort, Hawkeye leads the way to the gates of the fort.

On the fifth day of the siege, Hawkeye, who has been sent to Fort Edward to seek help, is intercepted on his way back, and a letter he carries is captured. Webb, the commander of Fort Edward, has refused to come to Munro’s aid. Under a flag of truce, Montcalm and Munro hold a parley. Montcalm shows Webb’s letter to Munro and offers honorable terms of surrender. Colonel Munro and his men will be allowed to keep their colors, their arms, and their baggage if they vacate the fort the next morning. Helpless to do otherwise, Munro accepts these terms. During one of the parleys between the English and the French, Heyward is surprised to see Magua in the camp of the French. He was not killed during their earlier skirmish.

The following day, the vanquished English leave Fort William Henry and start for Fort Edward. Under the eyes of the French and their Indian allies, they pass across the plain and enter the forest. Suddenly an Indian grabs at a brightly colored shawl worn by one of the women from the fort. Terrified, she pulls the shawl closer and wraps her baby in it. The Indian darts to her, grabs the infant from her arms, and dashes the child’s head against a rock. Then, under the eyes of Montcalm, who does nothing to hold back his savage allies, a monstrous slaughter begins. Cora and Alice, entrusted to David Gamut’s protection, are in the midst of the killing when Magua swoops down upon them and carries Alice away. Cora runs after her sister, and faithful David follows her. They are soon atop a hill, from which they watch the slaughter of the garrison.

Three days later, Hawkeye, leading Heyward, Munro, and his Indian comrades, tracks the young women and David with the help of Cora’s veil, which had caught on a tree. Heyward is concerned above all for the safety of Alice. The day before the massacre, he had been given her father’s permission to court her.

Hawkeye, knowing that hostile Indians are on their trail, decides that they should save time by traveling across the lake in a canoe that he has discovered in its hiding place nearby. He is certain that Magua has taken the Munro sisters north, where he plans to rejoin his own people. Heading their canoe in that direction, the five men paddle all day, at one point having a close escape from some of their enemies. They spend that night in the woods, and the next day they turn west in an effort to find Magua’s trail.

After much searching, Uncas finds the trail of the captives. That evening, as Hawkeye and his party draw near the Huron camp, they meet David Gamut wandering about. He tells his friends that the Indians think him crazy because of his habit of breaking into song, and they allow him to roam the woods unguarded. Alice, he says, is being held at the Huron camp, and Cora has been entrusted to the care of a tribe of peaceful Delawares a short distance away.

Heyward, disguising his face with paint, goes to the Huron camp in an attempt to rescue Alice while the others set about to help Cora. Heyward has been in the camp but a short time, posing as a French doctor, when Uncas is brought in, a captive. Called to treat a sick Indian woman, Heyward finds Alice in the cave with his patient. He is able to rescue her by wrapping her in a blanket and declaring to the Hurons that she is his patient, whom he is carrying off to the woods for treatment. Hawkeye, attempting to rescue Uncas, enters the camp disguised in a medicine man’s bearskin he has stolen. He cuts Uncas loose and gives him the disguise, and the woodsman borrows David Gamut’s clothes. The singer is left to take Uncas’s place while the others escape, for Hawkeye is certain that the Indians will not harm David because of his supposed mental condition. Uncas and Hawkeye flee to the Delaware camp.

The following day, Magua and a group of his warriors visit the Delawares in search of the escaped prisoners. The chief of the Delawares decides that the Hurons have a just claim to Cora because Magua wishes to make her his wife. Under inviolable Indian custom, the Huron is permitted to leave the camp unmolested, but Uncas warns him that in a few hours he and the Delawares will follow his trail.

During a bloody battle, Magua flees with Cora to the top of a cliff. There, pursued by Uncas, Magua stabs and kills the young Mohican; he is then, in turn, sent to his death by a bullet from Hawkeye’s long rifle. Cora, too, is killed by a Huron. Amid deep mourning by the Delawares, she and Uncas are laid in their graves in the forest. Colonel Munro and Heyward conduct Alice to English territory and safety. Hawkeye returns to the forest. He has promised to remain with his sorrowing friend Chingachgook forever.

The Last of the Mohicans Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature)

The Last of the Mohicans, the second of the Leatherstocking Tales published and also the second in the hero’s chronology, picks up the story of Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook in 1757, some fourteen years later. In this, the most popular of the quintet, the scene has moved northward in New York State to Glen Falls and Lake George. The plot centers on a true historical event, the British surrender of Fort William Henry to the French and their massacre by Indians immediately following. Cooper explores the themes of miscegenation, the expansion of America, and the decline of the Indians’ power and domain. Although the story is based on fact, Cooper fictionally realigns the Indians’ true historical alliances to the French and English in order to suit his storytelling needs.

The Last of the Mohicans is first and foremost an adventure story in the tradition of the historical romance. The Delaware are the good Indians; the Huron/Mingoes, treacherous. While Natty, now known as Hawkeye, and Chingachgook remain the moral center of the book, Cooper offers two new creations in his good-evil dichotomy. Uncas, the son of Chingachgook and Hist (who has died), is a living example of physical and moral perfection. Ironically (and appropriately) Uncas’s death occurs because he violates his noble instincts and rushes ahead of the rescue party to save Cora, the woman he loves.

Like The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans is a pursuit, capture, and escape story. Hawkeye spends most of the novel either trying to free Alice and Cora Munro from their Indian captors or trying to escape the evil Huron, Magua. Magua, probably Cooper’s best-drawn villain, is portrayed as a once-noble savage whose life has been corrupted by civilization, especially its particular form of poison, alcohol. Magua is actually motivated in his pursuit of Cora Munro by his desire for revenge—he was whipped for showing up for work drunk, and he lost his natural honor. Cooper also borrows from the sentimental romance with the many disguises donned, the comic relief in the form of the crazy Yankee psalmodist (David Gamut), the courtship of Major Heyward and Alice Munro, and the pathos-filled ending, wherein the Indians suggest that the spirits of Cora and Uncas will be united in the afterlife.

Perhaps the main thrust of the novel is the usually overlooked national theme that is often hidden by the critics’ overconcern for the more controversial miscegenation theme. Leslie Fiedler and D. H. Lawrence, in particular, have suggested that the secret theme of The Last of the Mohicans is interracial marriage. Uncas, an Indian, and Cora, of black and white heritage, are undeniably attracted to each other, and even Hawkeye considers this match in the context of its naturalness. In a larger sense, though, the novel has a sociological purpose. Having represented the three main races in America at the time, Cooper seems to be asking whether the country as melting pot is a viable concept. By killing off both Uncas and Cora, Cooper perhaps indicates that the creation of a new race may be a utopian dream.

Just as important, however, he states that the whites and Indians can live in harmony—shown by the prototypal relationship of Hawkeye and Chingachgook. Their friendship endures, foreshadowing future literary endeavors such as Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) and Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884).

Ultimately, The Last of the Mohicans should be read as more than simply a boy’s book or an adventure story. The novel is Cooper’s prediction of the United States’ future success and, just as important, the passing of the Indian. As Tamenund, the old chief, remarks at the conclusion, “The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the redmen has not yet come again.”

The Last of the Mohicans Summary

The Journey Begins
Set in 1757 during the third year of the French and Indian War the novel opens as Cora and Alice...

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The Last of the Mohicans Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1 Summary

James Fenimore Cooper’s historical novel The Last of the Mohicans was first published in 1826 and is considered by many critics to be his best work. The novel is set in 1757 during the French and Indian War; it takes place in the British-controlled North American colonies. Although historic events in this novel are often embellishments of truth, the novel, when first published, provided readers with a look into frontier life and the relationship between Europeans and Native Americans. These factors made the book very popular in the nineteenth century. Although widespread mainstream readership has declined since then, The Last of the Mohicans continues to be studied in American literature classrooms across the...

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Chapter 2 Summary

As they begin their travels, Alice, the younger and more frightened of the two sisters, questions Major Heyward about Magua. The major assures Alice that Magua is considered a hero among his own people and, therefore, should be looked upon as trustworthy. The major adds that they should be grateful Magua is taking them to her father’s post by a route that should prove more agreeable. Despite his assurances, Alice tells Heyward that she does not like Magua. Her feelings become even more agitated when Heyward tells her that Magua’s past is shrouded in some mystery about which he has little detail. All Heyward knows is that Alice’s father, Colonel Munro, had an encounter with Magua that resulted in Magua’s being “rigidly...

(The entire section is 534 words.)

Chapter 3 Summary

The setting shifts to another part of the woods. There, two men are sitting by the side of a stream having a conversation. One of the men is a Native American; the other is of European decent. The Native is Chingachgook, whose head is shaven and body is painted as if prepared for war. The White man is a scout named Hawkeye. They are talking about their personal and cultural histories. Hawkeye also talks of the flow of water in scientific terms, mentioning the pull of the tides. Chingachgook speaks of the river as he references oral histories or stories that have been handed down for countless generations. Although the men’s thoughts reflect different perspectives, it is apparent that they have respect for one another and for...

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Chapter 4 Summary

Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas’s conversation is broken by the sounds of someone approaching. Hawkeye stands in front of his friends with his rifle ready to defend them. He shouts out for the newcomer to identify himself. Someone answers back that those who approach are people who have been traveling all day and are tired and hungry. Hawkeye says they must be lost. The stranger readily agrees. He then asks if Hawkeye knows the distance to Fort Edward, which they are seeking. Hawkeye laughs and tells the stranger he is way off the route. Hawkeye cannot understand why a soldier would take the more confusing paths in the woods when there is an open and well-marked route that follows the lake. The stranger confesses that he relied...

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Chapter 5 Summary

Hawkeye is disappointed that Magua has slipped away. When Major Heyward approaches Hawkeye and his Indian friends, he is surprised to find they have given up and are not chasing the unfaithful Indian scout. Hawkeye explains that it would be all but impossible to find Magua in the woods. It would also be a very dangerous undertaking because the forest is full of hostile Indians. The best thing for them to do, Hawkeye says, is find a safe place to spend the night. They must cover their trail, leaving no scents or signs of their journey. They must also be as quiet as they can be. They should not give away their position to anyone who is lingering in the woods, waiting to ambush them.

It begins to dawn on Major Heyward how...

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Chapter 6 Summary

As the French and Indian War rages around them, Hawkeye, along with his Native American friends, Uncas and Chingachgook, attempt to lead Major Heyward and his two charges, Alice and Cora Munro, along with David Gamut through the woods and to safety at Fort William Henry, where the Munro sisters' father is waiting for them.

After having traveled down a treacherous section of the Hudson River, the young women and the two white men (Heyward and Gamut) think themselves abandoned when Hawkeye and his Indian friends disappear. It is not until Uncas raises a dark blanket from the mouth of a cave in the near distance that they realize that the two Indians and the scout, Hawkeye, have prepared a safe shelter for them.

...

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Chapter 7 Summary

No one of in the cave has fallen asleep when they hear another piercing sound. Hawkeye, although he still does not know who or what is making the shrill yell, commits to discovering its cause. Hawkeye knows enough about the forest to understand that a sound so unnerving as the one they are hearing is a signal that something dangerous is lurking. It makes no matter what the sound's source is; they must honor its warning.

Everyone steps outside of the cave as the men begin their investigation of the sound. When the loud cry is voiced once again, it is Heyward who finally recognizes it. He tells Hawkeye the he has heard that same sound many times before when he was engaged in cavalry battle. Now that he is outside of the...

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Chapter 8 Summary

There is a lull in the battle. Hawkeye warns everyone to be cautious with their shots as their ammunition is running low. Again Heyward believes the Iroquois have left, but Hawkeye is sure that their enemies are only waiting for an advantage. Hawkeye tells everyone to keep their voices quiet or, better, remain silent.

As they hide behind rocks, suddenly bullets whiz by. Although the bullets come close, no one is wounded. This situation changes abruptly when one shot feels as if it were aimed from the skies. The men look up but do not see anyone until Heyward notices movement in a large tree leaning over the river. High on one of the large branches is a young Iroquois man. He aims his gun and shoots again, laughing when...

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Chapter 9 Summary

Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook have left. Only two men remain behind: David Gamut because he was wounded and Major Duncan Heywood because he refused to leave the Monro sisters behind.

Again believing that the Iroquois (or Huron) have retreated, Heywood helps Gamut walk back to the cave where Alice and Cora Munro are in hiding. Once everyone is settled, in an attempt to soothe the young women's nerves, Heywood tells them that he believes they are safe. They have only to wait for Hawkeye to come back with a troop of soldiers.

Heywood gathers the branches the women used as beds the night before and places them around the entrance of the cave so it will not be detected should anyone appear. He then suggests...

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Chapter 10 Summary

When Heyward recognizes Magua (who was supposed to lead Heyward and the Munro sisters to Fort William Henry, where the girls' father was waiting for them) in the group of the Iroquois who have captured them, he asks Magua to interpret what the other Indians are saying. The Indians have tied Heyward's hands, so the major is defenseless. However, Heyward needs to know what the Indians are looking for and hopes to find out what they plan to do with him and the others.

Magua confirms what Heyward suspected: the Indians want Hawkeye. When Heyward tells them that Hawkeye has escaped, they can barely believe it. Magua in particular is disappointed because he is seeking revenge; Hawkeye shot Magua in the shoulder when Hawkeye...

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Chapter 11 Summary

Magua directs his group of fellow Indians and their white prisoners to stop on top of a tall butte. The height gives them a distinct and clear view of their surroundings, an advantage should other, unfriendly Indians or white soldiers happen upon them. 

It is on the butte that Magua finally lies down and rests while the other Indians hunt and kill a deer. The Indians eat the deer without cooking it, which the narrator describes as a disgusting manner of consuming food.

Once again, Heyward approaches Magua and stresses how appreciative the girls' father would be if Magua sees to their safe return. As he speaks, Heyward sees an expression take control of Magua's face, but Heyward is unable to read it. He...

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Chapter 12 Summary

Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook have returned just in time to save the hostages. The Iroquois had carelessly left their loaded rifles to the side of the clearing; when Hawkeye and his men entered the area, they knew they had the advantage.

However, in fairness to the Iroquois, the men decide to fight hand-to-hand with them. Hawkeye had killed only one of them to make the numbers of each side more even.

After untying the major and with Gamut's help, each man fights using hatchets and knives. In the end, only Magua remains alive, and Chingachgook is fighting him. 

It is difficult for Hawkeye and the other to distinguish Chingachgook from Magua as the two men are engaged in a tight battle. They...

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Chapter 13 Summary

As they continue their journey to Fort William Henry to take the Munro sisters to their father, the group grows weary, having traveled all day. Before they stop, Hawkeye remembers an old building he once used somewhere close by. If he has been reading the marks on the trail correctly, they are not too far from a battleground on which Hawkeye, as a youth, fought against the Mohawks.

When he finds a thick grove of chestnut trees, Hawkeye recognizes the spot where he first drew the blood of another man. If they have any luck remaining, Hawkeye hopes they will also find a roughly built lodge in which he and a group of Mohicans (that had included Chingachgook) fought a band of their dreaded enemy, the Mohawks. Hawkeye and...

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Chapter 14 Summary

Hawkeye continues to lead his group toward the fort. After the close encounter with the Hurons, the scout realizes he has to be more cautious. Toward this goal, he leads Heywood and the women to a stream and tells them to take off their shoes and walk in the water so as to leave no trail.

After walking in the water for an hour, Hawkeye believes it is safe enough to return to land. Shortly after they do this, however, they run into a French guard. Fortunately, having seen the women in Hawkeye's group and hearing Heyward speak in French, the French sentinel allows them to pass.

Hawkeye leaves the French guard, very thankful that the French soldier does not suspect them to be enemies. However, after they pass,...

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Chapter 15 Summary

There is now a temporary truce agreed upon between the American/British troops led by Munro, leader of Fort William Henry, and Montcalm, the leader of the French army that has surrounded the fort.

During this truce, Major Heyward wanders inside the fort, climbing to the top of the walls and meditating on the calm of nature around the fort, which appears to be unaffected by the bloodshed that awaits him.

While Heyward reflects on this dichotomy, he sees Hawkeye being led through the French troops outside the fort. Hawkeye's head is bent down, as if he is dejected. Hawkeye had been sent to General Webb at Fort Edward to ask for reinforcement troops to assist in defending Fort William Henry. Hawkeye was on his...

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Chapter 16 Summary

After returning to Fort William Henry, Heyward immediately goes to Munro to deliver the message from the French leader, Montcalm. When Heyward walks into Munro's office, he finds Cora and Alice there. Alice is sitting on her father's lap, playing with the old man's hair. Alice appears embarrassed at having been caught in this childlike position and jumps up to a more mature position in front of Heyward. Munro then dismisses his daughters to Heyward in private.

While Heyward waits patiently to deliver the message from Montcalm, Munro seems to want to talk of more trivial things. Eventually Munro teases Heyward, suggesting that he thinks Heyward might make a good son. Heyward agrees and lets Munro know that he indeed...

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Chapter 17 Summary

Montcalm walks around the French camp dressed in a cloak to disguise himself. When he nears Fort William Henry, he hides in the shadows of a large tree. The sun is just rising.

It is the day when Munro will surrender the fort to Montcalm. As he lingers near the fort, Montcalm hears footsteps coming from the direction of the forest. When he looks up, he sees Magua.

Montcalm tries to reason with Magua, telling him that Munro, once considered an enemy, is now a defeated friend. There is no need to harbor ill feelings of revenge against Munro. However, Magua shows Montcalm several scars on his body. These wounds were caused by the American-British soldiers, and Magua cannot forgive his enemy.

Inside...

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Chapter 18 Summary

The massacre is over. The stench of death is in the August air. Five men appear together walking out of the forest into the field, disbelieving the horrors they are witnessing as they search the grounds now covered with dead bodies. They comment that in all their experience in fighting, they have never seen such carnage.

These men are looking for two women, Cora and Alice. The men are Munro, Heyward, Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook. There is no explanation as to where Hawkeye and his two Indian friends have been. Neither is there any description of how Munro and Heyward survived the massacre.

Uncas is the first to find a sign of the two young women. A piece of Cora's green veil lies in the dust. The men...

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Chapter 19 Summary

Hawkeye and his Mohawk friends, along with Heyward and Munro, have settled for the night at Fort William Henry. The mood among the men is somber considering the disasters of the massacre just a couple of days before. Munro in particular is very quiet and withdrawn. Not only has he been forced to surrender and then watch his troops be slaughtered, he also has lost his daughters. 

Heyward and Hawkeye have moved outside the walls of the fort and are sitting in the shadows of the night eating bear meat when Heyward hears a sound near the woods. Although Heyward is agitated by this noise, Hawkeye pays little attention to it as he does not feel threatened.

Rather than discuss the possible sources of the sound,...

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Chapter 20 Summary

Still dark outside, Hawkeye awakens the other men, signaling that it is time to leave the fort and head toward Canada in pursuit of Magua and the Munro sisters. Although the trip from the fort to the river would have been more easily traversed through the grassy fields, Hawkeye leads the men over a path of rocks and wood so they will leave no footprints.

Once in the boat, Heywood asks for an explanation for Hawkeye's caution. Heywood assumes that with the death of the Oneiga Indian the night before, all danger has passed. Hawkeye, however, informs him that when one Indian dies, his tribe seeks revenge. Hawkeye believes that the woods are filled with enemies, even though they cannot see or hear them.

As they...

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Chapter 21 Summary

Hawkeye and his group reach the northern shores of Lake George, where they abandon their canoe and travel by foot. They are searching for Magua's trail. Since they are in the mountains, Hawkeye and his Mohawk friends know that there are only so many ways for people to travel in this region. They must find valleys or other passage ways, possibly along streams and rivers, rather than climb up and down the steep slopes of the mountains. So far, they have found no recognizable footprints.

After walking for a long time, Hawkeye is embarrassed to admit that he might have missed signs that would have signaled which of the valleys Magua might have taken. Although Hawkeye knows that Uncas is a better path finder than he is,...

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Chapter 22 Summary

Hawkeye is obviously happy to find David Gamut in the guise of an Indian. Gamut's appearance confirms that Hawkeye, with his Indian friends, followed the correct trail and now must be near enough to the young Munro women to rescue them.

Hawkeye asks about the Munro sisters and Gamut states that they are healthy but very sad. Young Alice, Gamut says, no matter how hard he tries to entertain her, cries much more than she laughs. The sisters have been separated, each living with families from two different tribes. This was done, apparently, to keep the girls from planning their escape.

When Hawkeye asks Gamut why he has been allowed to roam freely, Gamut thinks it might be because the Indians are impressed with...

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Chapter 23 Summary

As Heyward and Gamut move closer to the Huron camp, they come across a group of naked children playing in the fields. Upon seeing the two strangers, the children let out a loud cry of warning to their elders.

Because of the recent complete victory of the Huron over Munro's troops, this tribe of Indians is not in a state of alertness. They expect no surprise attacks by the British as so many of the British soldiers have been killed. So although the adult Hurons hear the children's warning yells, they merely come to the door of the community lodge and watch Gamut and Heyward approach.

Inside the lodge, Heyward does his best to keep from showing any signs of distress, although he is tremendously fearful of...

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Chapter 24 Summary

Heyward has worked his way toward Uncas while the leaders of the Hurans hold a council inside the Indian lodge. Uncas whispers to Heyward that Hawkeye and Chingachgook are safe and that Heyward should not worry about him. Then Uncas tells him to leave so no one will suspect they know one another.

Heyward uses this opportunity to leave the lodge and wander throughout the village, searching for Alice. He looks into each of the huts but does not find her.

Discouraged, Heyward returns to the lodge and sits down at the back of the room so as to go unnoticed. He is not seated for very long when a tall Indian walks into the lodge and sits down beside Heyward. Immediately, Heyward is filled with fear. The Indian is...

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Chapter 25 Summary

Even after Gamut leaves the cave, the bear remains, moving like an animal but acting strangely human. Every time that Heyward tries to proceed with the Indian ritual he is making up as he goes along, the bear makes such loud noises that Heyward must stop. Several times after the bear does this, the Huron people, who believe the conjuror is under the bear costume, decide that maybe the "spirit" (that made the woman sick) wants them to leave. So they go outside to wait, leaving Heyward alone with the dying woman and the bear.

Once the Huron people are outside of the cave, the bear moves as if in convulsion and slowly removes its head. To Heyward's surprise, he sees Hawkeye. Hawkeye explains that he stole the bear robe...

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Chapter 26 Summary

After Heyward and Alice flee to the nearby friendly village, Hawkeye returns to the Huron village, still disguised as a bear. No one bothers him as they believe he is their own conjuror.

When he sees a partially built hut, Hawkeye's curiosity is roused and he goes over to look inside. This is where he finds Gamut. Hawkeye enters the hut and sits down next to Gamut, who is once again startled and confused that the same bear has come after him. After Hawkeye reveals his identity, he tells Gamut his plan to free Uncas. Gamut says that he will do anything Hawkeye asks of him. 

Gamut leads Hawkeye to the hut where Uncas has been taken. There are several guards stationed outside. Gamut, following Hawkeye's...

(The entire section is 505 words.)

Chapter 27 Summary

Stepping back in time to see the escape of Uncas through the Huron Indians' eyes, the narrator informs the reader of how the Indians who had been guarding the hut in which Uncas was being held captive eventually overcome their fear.

They had been scared by the conjuror (Hawkeye in disguise), who had warned them that he was ridding Uncas of his courage. The guards had moved away from the hut so the spell would not rid them of their courage too.

Having waited a sufficient time, the guards finally walk slowly over to the hut and glance into one of the openings, allowing them to peer into the dark interior.

It takes several minutes for their eyes to become accustomed to the darkness, and it is not...

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Chapter 28 Summary

Magua has reached the neighboring tribe of the Delawares where Hawkeye, Uncas, Heyward, and Alice are hiding. It is also with the Delawares that Cora has been placed as Magua's captive.

Magua walks calmly through the Delaware village, holding himself as erect as a prince, as he now feels like the best and most noble leader of his tribe of Hurons. He has come to the Delawares with a special message, one that he believes will turn the Delawares against Hawkeye and his group.

After walking through the Delaware village, Magua meets and agrees to sit down with one of the Delaware chiefs. At first the Delaware leader is leery of Magua. The Hurons, in general, are much more warlike than the Delaware. The Delaware...

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Chapter 29 Summary

When the elders are seated, Hawkeye and the others are asked to come to the council meeting. When they arrive, one of the elders asks for the one who is called "La Longue Carabine" to identify himself.

To protect Hawkeye, Heyward steps forward, announcing that he is "La Longue Carabine." Upon hearing this, Hawkeye denies it, saying that he hesitated answering the call to identify himself because he does not accept the French nickname. It is a name that Hurons have used but not one that Hawkeye appreciates or is used to hearing the Delaware call him.

The Delaware chiefs are confused, so they ask Magua to identify the real "La Longue Carabine." Magua points to Hawkeye. Heyward insists that Magua is lying. So...

(The entire section is 487 words.)

Chapter 30 Summary

Uncas is brought to the Delaware council meeting to meet with Tamenund and the other elders who will decide Uncas' fate. Uncas remains as defiant and courageous as always. When Tamenund asks who stands before him, Uncas claims his Delaware heritage.

At first Tamenund and the other Delaware in the group are astounded that someone who sneaks into their village like an enemy could claim to have Delaware blood. To add further insult, Uncas also calls Magua a liar. Upon hearing this, although the Delaware are not fond of Magua, the elders decide that Uncas must face what is referred to as the trial of torture.

Several Delaware men rush at Uncas to prepare him for the torture. When they tear his shirt off,...

(The entire section is 482 words.)

Chapter 31 Summary

Uncas has told Magua that he will give the Huron a a brief truce before coming after him. Uncas warned Magua that when the sun was over the top of the trees, he would seek his revenge for Magua having taken Cora against her wishes. Uncas is determined to save Cora.

While he waits, Uncas meditates on the mission before him. Some of the Delaware warriors gather around him, sensing the impending battle as well as Uncas' growing anger. After sitting quietly with Uncas for a while, the Delaware warriors, in an attempt to brew their own anger before the fight to which they have now committed themselves, strip bark off a nearby tree, paint the trunk of the tree in war colors, and then assault the tree with their hatchets and...

(The entire section is 521 words.)

Chapter 32 Summary

Uncas and Hawkeye have gone separate ways, each with a band of warriors who follow them as they prepare to fight the Huron. The narrator informs the reader that the woods are as silent as they might have been before man appeared on earth. However, Hawkeye, who is very knowledgeable in the ways of the Indians, knows that silence does not necessarily equate to an absence of men. So he moves forward cautiously.

As Hawkeye and his men progress, he senses that something is disturbing his warriors. When he turns, he notices David Gamut, who has been following them. Hawkeye, who is well aware that Gamut is not a fighting man, being untrained in warfare and without a weapon, talks to Gamut, informing him that they are about to...

(The entire section is 538 words.)

Chapter 33 Summary

Although there is reason for a victory celebration as the Delaware have either slaughtered or frightened away the Huron, there is no sign of gaiety in the Delaware camp. Rather, the mood is somber and humble. Warriors have returned from the battlefield, but their emotions are calmed by the scene that lays in front of them.

Everyone of the Delaware tribe is standing outside of their huts, crowded around the center of their encampment. All eyes are on two central points: on one side are the remains of Cora and on the other side is the body of Uncas.

A group of young Delaware girls are strewing wildflowers on the funeral pyre upon which Cora has been lain. She has been covered with Indian blankets and lies with...

(The entire section is 579 words.)

Michael Foster, Ed. Scott Locklear