[[quoteright:320:[[Literature/LastOfTheMohicans http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mohicans-comic1_9651.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:The [[Literature/FenimoreCoopersLiteraryOffences further]] [[{{Marvel}} comics]] of J.F. Cooper]]

The book series by James Fenimore Cooper.

One of the first [[SeriesFranchise Franchises]] of [[NineteenthCenturyLiterature modern literature]].

In chronological order, the books are:
* ''The Deerslayer: The First Warpath''\\
-- 5th published
* ''Literature/TheLastOfTheMohicans: A Narrative of 1757''\\
-- 2nd published and most [[PopCulturalOsmosis famous]]
* ''The Pathfinder: The Inland Sea''\\
-- 4th published
* ''The Pioneers: The Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale''\\
-- 1st published ([[ColonCancer hence the]] [[InWhichATropeIsDescribed long subtitle]])
* ''The Prairie: A Tale'' -- 3rd published

They're probably most famous these days for [[TropeCodifier codifying]] the romantic concept of the [[MagicalNativeAmerican Native]] [[{{Eagleland}} American]] [[TheWildWest Frontier]], and for their [[HeroicFantasy heroic]], [[KnightInShiningArmor chivalrous]] [[PurpleProse prose]] being [[Literature/FenimoreCoopersLiteraryOffences relentlessly mocked]] by MarkTwain. (Incidentally, the Defenses are [[http://external.oneonta.edu/cooper/articles/other/1988other-schachterle.html here]]) Nonetheless, they represent the first real ''American'' adventure stories, are the ancestors of the {{Western}}, and one of the first literary appearances of the NobleSavage. (Montaigne was the first to apply this trope to the North American Indians, and the trope itself is OlderThanFeudalism -- Classical Greek writers spoke of the Gauls this way.) Anyway, back then it was a [[FairForItsDay very progressive]] portrayal of Native Americans, and he was congratulated for presenting Chingachgook and his son Uncas as ''heroes'' (as opposed to thieving, cunning, drunken, heathen assholes). Of course, now we see it as just another stereotype -- but Cooper ''was'' the [[SeinfeldIsUnfunny first to use this in a novel]].

The main concern Natives have vis-a-vis Cooper is not so much the romantic portrayal of [[TheStoic Stoic]], [[OurElvesAreBetter slender and superior]] [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy warriors]], nor the prose; Native warriors were renowned as orators throughout the Indian wars and are still quoted today in Military History and Political Science classes.[[note]]due to the consensus nature of tribal government, they were required to be great public speakers to attain positions of influence.[[/note]] But the enduring stereotype is that Indians, while [[NobleSavage noble]], are [[YourDaysAreNumbered doomed to be eclipsed]] by the technologically superior white man and [[EverythingFades fade away]]. Although it was a common belief in Cooper's day, even among Indian rights advocates, this has become a bit of an UndeadHorseTrope (pun intended) and native tribesmen (including the Mohicans themselves) are quick to note that [[NotQuiteDead reports of their death are greatly exaggerated]].

The thing which ties the five books into a series is the recurring [[ArchetypalCharacter archetypal]] [[SupportingLeader character]] of [[MightyWhitey Natty Bumppo]], the [[TheGunslinger Long Rifle]], who also goes by the names of [[IHaveManyNames Deerslayer]], [[ImprobableAimingSkills Hawkeye]], [[ScarilyCompetentTracker Pathfinder]], [[LimitedWardrobe Leatherstocking]] and [[HunterTrapper The Trapper]]. In that order. (They're called The Leatherstocking Tales because he was known as Leatherstocking in ''The Pioneers'', the first book.) In four of the five books, he is joined by [[BigBrotherMentor Chingachgook]] ''("Great Serpent")'', and in ''Literature/LastOfTheMohicans'' by Chingachgook's son [[LastOfHisKind Uncas]], [[spoiler:the eponymous Last of the Mohicans, who dies in battle at the end of the novel]].
!! The ''Leatherstocking'' series provides examples of:

* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Hurons. Really. I swear.
** One would expect the Iroquois in this role, but the Hurons were allies of the French, while the Iroquois, while hostile to the English, were mostly neutral in the Anglo-French question until they wiped out the Hurons in about the 1760s. The two cultures were very similar to each other, though; this is more a question of who's pointing a gun at the hero.
* CelibateHero: Natty Bumppo/Hawkeye, [[AdaptationDisplacement surprisingly enough]].
* ComeWithMeIfYouWantToLive: The Mohican rescue in ''Last of the Mohicans''.
* DawnOfTheWildWest: Mostly set in the wilderness of western colonial New York during the latter part of the 18th century.
* FailOSuckyname: Natty Bumpo.
* TheGunslinger: First ever! And hence [[UnbuiltTrope rather lacking in some of the more fancy tricks]]. This might also have something to do with the fact that Natty uses a Kentucky Rifle.
* HalfBreedDiscrimination: Cora, the daughter of a Scotch colonel and a Creole mother. One of the first interracial romance plots in American literature.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Natty and Chingachgook.
** {{Retcon}}ned into adoptive father and son for [[Film/LastOfTheMohicans the film]].
* HunterTrapper
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Natty/Hawkeye.
* InjunCountry: Played painfully straight.
* KnightInShiningArmor: Natty/Hawkeye.
* LastOfHisKind: Chingachgook after the death of Uncas.
* LightFeminineAndDarkFeminine: Taken almost to parody with Alice (Light Feminine, all the way to golden hair and utter helplessness) and Cora (Dark Feminine, at least as far as her looks and refusal to be anyone's doormat) Munro in "The Last of the Mohicans".
* LostInImitation: The book ''Literature/LastOfTheMohicans'' has been adapted into film [[SturgeonsLaw so many times]] that the 1992 film was explicitly based on an earlier 1936 screenplay in the credits, and [[BrokenBase praised for it]] -- due to avoiding perceived narrative pitfalls of the book. Of course, by making [[MightyWhitey Day-Lewis]] the romantic lead, the film also [[UnfortunateImplications conveniently avoided]] the book's mid-19th century interracial romance subplot, although it added [[StarCrossedLovers another]].
* {{Malaproper}}: Cooper himself. MarkTwain has a LongList of examples.
* MightyWhitey: Arguably subverted or averted; Hawkeye's abilities come from living like an American Indian, and the whites who try to fight like whites are so ineffective that they could have been played for laughs...
* NobleSavage: Chingachgook.
* PistolWhipping: Natty has a habit of using his rifle as a club once he's fired. TruthInTelevision given that these things were pretty dang heavy and took a long time to reload.
* PrintLongRunners: Since 1826. Multiple [[Film/LastOfTheMohicans film]] adaptations.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy
* PurpleProse
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: all of them.
* SoMuchForStealth: Origin of the trope quote. To quote MarkTwain:
-->Cooper wore out barrels of moccasins in working that trick. Another [[{{Trope}} stage-property]] that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was his broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn't step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn't satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can't do it, go and borrow one.
* SpoonyBard: As a character type, not as a sub-optimized RPG class: David Gamut in ''Last of the Mohicans''.
* TheWisePrince: Uncas of the Mohican tribe.
* YouAreACreditToYourRace: Sort of. Played horribly, horribly straight.
** Or rather, "I Am a Credit to My Race" -- Hawkeye constantly talks about how he, "a man without a cross" of American Indian blood, can nonetheless fight effectively among them. The American Indians mostly ignore the subject...
* YourDaysAreNumbered: The Mohicans.