The Last of the Mohicans

“The Last of the Mohicans: A romantic historical novel (1826) by the US writer James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), one of The Leatherstocking Tales. This tale is set in the hills and forests of northeastern North America at the time of the French and Indian Wars of the mid-18th century, and follows the adventures of Alice and Cora Munro, the frontiersman Natty Bumppo (also called Hawkeye), the unpleasant Huron leader Magua, and Chingachgook and his son Uncas, the last of the Mohicans—the rest of their tribe have been killed off by the Hurons. At the end Uncas and Cora are forced to jump off a cliff to their deaths to escape their enemies.

Historically, Uncas was a 17th-century chief of the Mohegans, an Algonquian tribe of Connecticut. Cooper apparently confused the Mohegans with the Mahicans, an Algonquian confederacy along the Hudson River.

There have been a number of film versions, the finest being those from 1936, Randolph Scott as Hawkeye, and 1992, with Daniel Day-Lewis in the role.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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