Leatherstocking Tales

The Leatherstocking Tales is a series of novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper, each featuring the main hero Natty Bumppo, known by European settlers as "Leatherstocking," 'The Pathfinder", and "the trapper" and by the Native Americans as "Deerslayer," "La Longue Carabine" and "Hawkeye".


Publication history

Title Subtitle
The Deerslayer The First War Path
The Last of the Mohicans A Narrative of 1757
The Pathfinder The Inland Sea
The Pioneers The Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale
The Prairie A Tale

The "Story Dates" are derived from dates given in the tales, but do not necessarily correspond with the actual dates of the historical events described in the series. This may have been done for convenience's sake, for instance to avoid making Leatherstocking 100 years old when he traveled the Kansas plains in The Prairie.

The Natty Bumppo character is generally believed to have been inspired, at least in part, by the real-life squatter David Shipman and the pioneer Thomas Leffingwell.[citation needed]


  • Natty Bumppo is the protagonist of the series. Although he is the child of white parents, he grew up with Native Americans, becoming a near-fearless warrior skilled in many weapons, one of which is the long rifle. He respects his forest home and all its inhabitants, hunting only what he needs to survive. When it comes time to fire his trusty flintlock, he lives by the rule, "One shot, one kill." He and his Mohican "brother" Chingachgook champion goodness by trying to stop the incessant conflict between the Mohicans and the Hurons. He is known as "Deerslayer" in The Deerslayer, "Hawkeye" and "La Longue Carabine" in The Last of the Mohicans, "Pathfinder" in The Pathfinder, "Leatherstocking" in The Pioneers, and "the trapper" in The Prairie. The novels recount significant events in Natty Bumppo's life from 1740-1806.[1] Critic Georg Lukacs identified Bumppo as similar to the middling characters of Sir Walter Scott, who, because they don't represent the extremes of society, can act as tools for social and cultural examination of historical events, without portraying the history itself.[2]
  • Chingachgook is a Mohican chief and companion of Bumppo. Chingachgook married Wah-ta-Wah who bore him a son Uncas, but she died young. Uncas, "last of the Mohicans,"[3] grew to manhood but was killed in a battle with renegade Magua.

In other media

Many depictions of Natty Bumppo and his adventures appear on film. Most used one of his nicknames, most often Hawkeye. In the 1992 film version of Last of the Mohicans, Hawkeye's name was changed from Bumppo to Poe. Bumppo is also featured in the comic book series Jack of Fables, along with Slue-Foot Sue, as trackers hired to capture other "Fables". Natty Bumppo is a member of the 18th century League assembled by Gulliver in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen alongside Dr Syn, Fanny Hill, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Orlando.


  1. ^ James Fenimore Cooper Society's online plot summaries of the chronologically first (The Deerslayer)[1] and last (The Prairie)[2] novels, indicating the initial and final years of the Leatherstocking saga.
  2. ^ Lukacs 69-72
  3. ^ "Uncas will be the last pure-blooded Mohican because there are no pure-blooded Mohican women for him to marry." University of Houston study guide

Works cited

  • Lukacs, Georg (1969). The Historical Novel. Penguin Books. 

Other sources

External links

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