Film / The Last of the Mohicans

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The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 film directed by Michael Mann and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It is based on The Last of the Mohicans, an 1826 historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper which has experienced Pop-Cultural Osmosis and been adapted for film numerous times.

A story about the American Frontier, The Last of the Mohicans takes place in the British colony of New York in 1757, against the backdrop of the French and Indian War, the 9-year American version of the Seven Years' War which heavily involved Native Americans on both sides. The story mainly concerns the adventures of Hawkeye, a white man accompanied by the last two surviving members of the Mohican tribe, Chingachgook and his son Uncas, as the three trackers try to protect the two daughters of a Scottish colonel.

The novel had been adapted into a number of movies before this one, first in 1911, then again in 1920, 1932, and 1936. The 1992 film has been said by its director to be more of an update of the 1936 film than a straight adaptation of the book, so the resulting adaptation has led to a significant level of controversy among the book's fans, although it is generally regarded as an exceptional film in terms of modern action-adventure epics.

For more on the novel The Last of the Mohicans and other books in The Series, see The Leatherstocking Tales.

The 1992 film contains examples of:

  • Abandoned By The Cavalry: General Webb's reinforcements.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While not evil, Duncan Heyward comes across as a more unpleasant character than he does in Cooper's novel (or for that matter the 1936 version, in which he was more of a Romantic False Lead).
  • Adaptation Distillation: Omitted portions include redundant portions where the women are captured and quickly freed, a deranged white man at the Huron camp, a shooting contest, and Natty Bumpo disguised as a bear. The changes generally streamlined and improved on some lengthy and confusing segments in the novel.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The settlers express the fear that while they are away from their homes as a militia, the French and their Indian allies will attack their homes. Indeed, when Hawkeye, Chingachgook, Uncas, Cora, Alice and Heyward stop by John Cameron's village after the first ambush, the home has been razed and all the occupants murdered.
    • Chingachgook and Hawkeye watch helplessly (while running to catch up) as Magua cuts Uncas down and throws his body from the cliffs.
    • Likewise, Cora watches from afar as Alice takes her own life by jumping from the cliff, her body landing beside Uncas.
  • Age Lift: In the book, Hawkeye and Chingachgook were both thirty-four while Uncas was between seventeen and twelve. Since Chingachgook is portrayed as the adoptive father of Hawkeye in this it would seem, based on the fact that Russell Means was fifty-three, that Chingachgook was aged up some nineteen years.
  • The Alliance: In a Slice of Life montage, we see settlers and Iroquois assembling peaceably at Cameron's frontier cabin for a Harvest dinner and a traditionally violent Indian-style Lacrosse game with basketball hoops (settlers vs. Indians).note 
  • Always Someone Better: For most of the film, Magua is made out to be the biggest Badass on the frontier. And then he makes the mistake of pissing off Chingachgook.
  • An Axe to Grind: Tomahawks. Every Indian warrior carries one, except for Chingachgook, who carries a gunstock club which is used like an axe. Magua has a distinctive tomahawk with a shaft like a palm tree. Even Heyward uses one during the first ambush to kill an attacking warrior.
  • Anyone Can Die: Verges on Kill 'em All in the Hamlet-style ending, specifically Col. Munro, Heyward, Uncas, Alice and Magua.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The movie implies that General Montcalm knew the Indians were going to attack the survivors of fort William Henry in violation of their surrender and did nothing to stop it. In real life, Montcalm made the agreement in good faith and did everything he could to stop the Indian attacks on the retreating column after they occurred.
    • The real Colonel Monroe survived the attack on his retreating army after they left Fort William Henry, though he died a few months later.
    • Reports vary wildly on casualty figures from the attack on the retreating British troops from the fort, with some putting it up at to 1,500 of the 2,300 soldiers, while others at less then 200, making it unclear if the amount of the death depicted in the battle was accurate.
    • Also, the real Mohicans still exist, in spite of the title.
  • Ass in Ambassador: General Marquis de Montcalm is a French general, diplomat, scholar and aristocrat. How do we know he's a bad guy, aside from that? He wins every battle against the British.
    • In the novel he is described not so much as a bad guy as too weak to keep his Huron allies in check and preventing the massacre.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Major Duncan Heyward and Colonel Munro are the highest ranking British officers and they have the most success in battle against enemy Indians.
    • Magua is a villainous example, as he, a Huron war captain, is the only one who lasts more than a few seconds against the Mohicans, personally dealing out a Curb-Stomp Battle to Uncas.
  • Badass Boast: Magua, and how.
    Magua: The Grey Hair's children were under Magua's knife. They escaped. They will be under it again... When the Grey Hair is dead, Magua will eat his heart. Before he dies, Magua will put his children under the knife, so the Grey Hair will know his seed is wiped out forever.
  • Badass Family: Chingachgook, his son Uncas, and foster son Hawkeye are all formidable warriors on their own and when they fight side by side, they are unstoppable.
  • Badass Grandpa: Chingachgook, while not old by modern standards, is treated as such by the other characters. When Magua, who up until then had been an unstoppable killing machine, finally fought Chingachgook he didn't stand a chance.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Magua does this to Col. Munro.
    Magua: Grey Hair, before you die, know that I will put under the knife your children, so that I will wipe your seed from the earth forever.
  • Best Served Cold: Magua's motivation.
  • Beta Couple: Alice and Uncas aren't as overt as Cora and Nathaniel, but there's at least some feeling there.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Alice throws herself off a cliff at the end, rather than go with Magua (who'd just got done killing Uncas and making Chingachgook the last Mohican.)
    • Also, when Heyward is being burned alive at the stake, Hawkeye shoots him from afar to keep him from suffering.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas' first interaction with Cora, Alice and Heyward is rescuing them from an ambush from Magua's warriors.
  • Big "NO!": Silent, as Chingachgook watches Magua stab Uncas, slit his throat, and throw his body down the cliffside.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Native characters slide in and out of multiple languages, including the dead languages of Huron and Mohican, which are subtitled. Magua, being a Huron enslaved by the Mohawk who became a French war captain turned British scout, seems to speak more languages than any other character; in the final parlay, he alone understands the whole conversation, and (he is not pleased). note  Then there's this:
    Heyward: You there! Scout. Must. Stop. Soon. Women. Are. Tired.
    Magua: Three leagues. Better water. We stop there.
    Heyward: No, we stop in the glade ahead. Understand?
    Magua: (subtitle) Magua understands the white man is a dog to his women. When they grow tired, he puts down his hatchet to feed their laziness.
    Heyward: What did you say?
    • When Hawkeye and company are hiding in a burial ground, the Ottawa refuse to enter, telling their French companions, "Ne pas possible!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alice and Duncan are dead, along with Uncas, so Chingachgook is the last of his tribe, and will probably have no more children. However, Cora and Hawkeye are alive and together and Magua is dead as well.
    • The 1936 version added a level of ambiguity, as Duncan has also survived and it is not made clear whether the remaining Munro daughter prefers Hawkeye or him.
  • Blade Lock: One of Magua's warriors tries this on Col. Munro, only for the colonel to grab his pistol and shoot the assailant.
  • Blatant Lies: Heyward when asked about what was found at the Cameron homestead (occupants murdered, home burned, nothing taken). Hawkeye calls him on it.
    Heyward: I saw nothing that would lead me to the conclusion that it other than a raid by savages bent on thievery.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Magua when Chingachgook breaks his left arm.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Mostly averted, but played straight in two instances when Cora shoots one of Magua's warriors in the head at close range and when Hawkeye snipes Heyward, where there's only a small, bloodless hole in his head.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Chingachgook wears blue and his gunstock club is blue.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. All the firearms are single-shot weapons and depicted as such. There are also reloading scenes.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Surprisingly realistic; the Native tribesmen wear homespun like their colonist neighbors, and both they and the colonist wear leather breeches and authentic hairstyles for the most part.
  • British Stuffiness: Heyward! With that "priggy nose of his" as one reviewer delicately put it.
  • Broad Strokes: The film is more an adaptation of the 1936 film than the original novel. Who lives, who dies, and who hooks up with who at the end are all adapted from the older film rather than the book.
    • The screenplay for the 1936 film is actually credited as an alternate version. Also Hawkeye's real name, which was Anglicized from Natty Bumppo to Nathaniel Poe.
  • Broken Bird: Alice; Cora is clearly concerned about the effect the constant danger surrounding them is having on her mind.
  • Carolina Doubling: See "Ghibli Hills" below.
  • The Cameo: Colm Meaney as Major Ambrose, the man at the very front of the company that accompanies Heyward, Cora and Alice. He gets gunned down by Magua in the first ambush.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Chingachgook's gunstock club.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The scene was shot in a Real Life cave behind a waterfall. The dialogue had to be overdubbed and the cameramen had to be really, really careful.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The Mohicans, primarily endurance running among other things.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quite literally — the pistol that Cora picks up from a dead officer near the beginning of the film most likely saves her life when she later uses it to shoot dead a Huron attacker.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: According to the incompetent General Webb:
    "You have scant need for a colonial militia... because the French haven't the nature for war. Their Latinate voluptuousness combines with their Gallic laziness, and the result? They'd rather eat, and make love with their faces than fight."
  • Chiaroscuro: Particularly the fort scenes. The outdoor scenes are shot to look like a Thomas Cole painting (see above).
  • Clothing Damage: Uncas uses it to his advantage to make silk bullet casings and bandaging wounds.
    Hawkeye: You 'bout done holdin' hands with Miss Monro?
  • Climbing Climax: Not quite the original clifftop ending, but close.
  • Colonel Badass: Col. Munro. He's a Reasonable Authority Figure compared to General Webb and can hold his own in a fight.
  • Color Wash: Autumnal orange and green.
    • Interestingly, Director Mann who is known for his neon urban color schemes, says this is the only film he ever did that had no artificial color wash. He wanted to capture the American woods without artificial lighting because he said they are rarely seen that way in media. Of course, this results in some pretty dark scenes.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Cora is the pragmatic brunette, Alice is the romantic/sentimental (strawberry) blonde.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Chingachgook and his sons, and how. They know how to reload their muskets while running (keep in mind it's a several step process), and will quickly pick up unfired weapons to use to save time - also while running.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live:
    Heyward: Why's he loosing the horses?
    Uncas: Too easy to track. They'd be heard for miles... (picks among dead bodies) Find yourself a musket...
    Hawkeye: We're movin' outta here, fast. Unless you all's'd rather wait for the next Huron war party to come along.
  • Coup de Grâce: See Impaled With Extreme Prejudice.
  • Covers Always Lie: You might get the impression that the titular "Last of the Mohicans" refers to the white guy on the cover, but it really doesn't.
  • Cower Power: Alice.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Heyward is burned on the stake with his legs together and his arms outstretched.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Chingachgook versus Magua.
    • Every battle is a curb stomp. The British are on the receiving end of these, while Chingachgook, Hawkeye, and Uncas are on the giving end. Uncas ultimately is on the receiving end of these from Magua.
  • Damsel in Distress: Alice during the climax, since Cora is out of danger thanks to Heyward.
  • Dark Reprise: The cheerful dance music they play during the night at the fort is somberly reprised for the tragic climax of the film.
  • Dawn of the Wild West: Set in the wilderness of western Colonial New York.
  • Daylight Horror: the massacre.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Cora and Heyward ask the Mohicans how they plan to get to Kan-tuck-ee Territory, Hawkeye's reaction is priceless.
    Heyward: There's a war on! How is it you are going west?
    Hawkeye: Well, first we face north, then, real subtle-like, turn left.
    • Hawkeye's response to someone joshing him:
      Jack: That reason wear a striped skirt and work in the surgery?
      Hawkeye: It does. And no offense, but it's a better lookin' reason than you, Jack Winthrop!
  • Death by Adaptation / Spared By Adaptation: Alice and Heyward live (and get together) and Cora dies in the book. This is only "spared by" because the sisters' roles have been switched. Heyward - and Colonel Munro - are clear Death by Adaptation.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Hawkeye, to a certain extent, since he is not in fact the title character.
  • Dies Wide Open: Magua.
  • Dirty Business:
    Heyward: Things were done. Nobody was spared.
    Munro: (sighs) Those considerations are subordinate to the interests of the Crown.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Sachem's (non-) response to Magua's parting words. He nods to the heroes and says something untranslated.
  • Doomed by Canon: Uncas, Magua and Cora. Natty and Chingachgook were originally introduced in The Pioneers, in which they were lonely old men who had no one but each other.
  • Doomed Hometown: Cameron's frontier settlement.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Magua plays this to the French General Montcalm. He technically works for Montcalm, but his actions and vendetta against the Munro family are central to the film's plot, particularly after the fall of Fort William Henry.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Chingachgook just before the Huron ambush of the former Fort William Henry garrison.
  • Driven to Suicide: Alice.
  • Dual Wielding: Somewhat ridiculously, Hawkeye picks up another musket and kills two enemies, one with his own musket and one with the borrowed musket. How he managed to aim both heavy rifles at different targets at the same time, even though he was shooting them at close range, is a mystery.
    • More realistically, several characters are shown wielding a tomahawk in one hand and a knife in the other.
  • The Empire: The British and French Empires, of course. Back when France was still a monarchy, no less.
    Herald: Are you not a patriot!? A loyal subject to the Crown!?
    Heyward: (later) British policy is "Make the world England," sir.
  • End of an Era: Sachem notes that the sunset of the Huron has come with the arrival of the white settlers.
    • Chingachgook's final speech (in the Director's Cut):
      Chingachgook: The frontier moves with the sun, pushes the red man of these wilderness forts in front of it. Until one day there will be nowhere left. And then our race will be no more, or be not us.... The frontier place is for people like my white son and his woman, and their children. And one day there will be no more frontier... then men like you will go too, like the Mohicans. A new people will come. Work. Struggle. Some will make their life... But once, we were here.
  • Enemy Mine: The settlers and Iroquois' reason for signing up to fight together against the French.
  • Epic Movie: The music alone is freakin' huge.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Subverted; see Wicked Cultured below. While the colonists came to see the French and their native allies this way, the British had just as many (sovereign) native allies, not least the Confederacy of the Five Nations (Iroquois), and they, despite being designated heroes, were notorious jerkasses towards the tribes in general. Meanwhile, the settlers and Iroquois coexist peaceably, or so we'd like to think.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mague's thirst for revenge against Colonel Munro stems from his children being killed in a British/Mohawk raid on his village that Munro led, then his wife marrying someone else while he was a Mohawk slave, thinking he'd died.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Magua isn't happy with the Sachem's order to marry Alice rather than kill her, but he abides by it anyway.
    • Also, the Ottawa raiders that murdered the Cameron family (and probably others along the frontier), absolutely refuse to trespass into the burial ground where Hawkeye's party take refuge (this is due to a spiritual taboo about disturbing the dead).
  • Evil Brit: The film's sympathies are with the colonists and natives, in contrast to the book where the "good" Indians are allied to the crown.
  • Evil Gloating:
    Magua: Grey-hair! Before you die, know that I will put under the knife your children, so your seed is wiped from the earth forever.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: Twice.
    • Hawkeye kills an enemy warrior menacing Cora by slashing him repeatedly with his tomahawk.
    • Chingachgook kills Magua with multiple strikes to his torso and breaking both his arms, then delivering a final blow that spears Magua through the abdomen.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Magua, the only one in the entire film. He simply exchanges long glances with Chingachgook. In fact, he's learning forward, ready for the final blow.
  • Famous Last Words: "My compliments sir, take her and get out!" Heyward
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The only indication of the first ambush is Magua drawing his tomahawk before he slashes the throat of a British soldier.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Chingachgook at the end of the film.
    • Hawkeye also does this during the Huron ambush, running toward the unnamed Indian who is assaulting Cora. He pushes aside at least one guy.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The title, Last of the Mohicans, says it all.
  • Fragile Flower: Alice.
  • Friendly Target:
    • Cameron and his whole family.
    • Jack Winthrop is killed during the ambush of the Fort William Henry garrison.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Col. Munro. "British promises are honored... and I will not release the militia unless I have more than this man's word that the settlements are being attacked."
  • General Failure: The obese General Webb.
  • The General's Daughter: Or rather, the Colonel's daughters. Two, Cora and Alice.
  • Ghibli Hills: America. An undeveloped, unbroken forest teeming with wildlife and adventure. Specifically, Upstate New York / The Great Smoky Mountains.
    • Most of the film was shot in North Carolina. For example, the last fight scenes were filmed at Chimney Rock State Park. However, this was a stand-in for the Adirondacks near the Canadian border.
  • Glass Cannon: The British. They're best at long range and their effectiveness drops dramatically in close quarters combat.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Not just the women; see Braids Beads and Buckskins.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The British and the French are both just as bad as one another in this film. The French are nicer to the natives, (whom they try to coexist peacefully with instead of the wholesale exploitation favored by the British) but even then, Montcalm tacitly allows Magua to massacre the retreating British forces down to the last man after they surrender the fort to him. Ultimately, the war itself is merely a backdrop to the more personal conflict between Magua and the protagonists.
  • Guns Akimbo: Hawkeye manages to shoot two Pennsylvania rifles from the hip with deadly accuracy.
    • Justified as he was an expert marksman and the targets were half a meter away.
  • The Gunslinger: Hawkeye is an unbuilt version of the Western Anti-Hero.
  • Herald: Messages are delivered by courier, which leads to a sharpshooting sequence as the courier attempts to break through the lines.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When Magua demands revenge on Munro by burning his daughter Cora alive, Hawkeye offers himself instead. But Heyward deliberately mistranslates, offering himself. The others are released, and Heyward is burned alive.
    • Well, initially, but Hawkeye doesn't leave him to suffer.
    • This is a radical switcheroo from the 1936 film, where Hawkeye (Randolph Scott) actually does get tortured by fire, and Heyward (Henry Wilcoxon) rescues him before it goes too far.
  • Hero Killer: Magua. He's both sides of the trope, with a status as The Dreaded, and personally responsible for the deaths of Colonel Munro and Uncas, which leads to Alice's suicide.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In Hawkeye's Kirk Summation, he asks Magua if he would use the ways of the Yengees and the Francais against other Indians. Magua says yes. The Sachem notes that he has never followed the Huron path.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Gen. Webb, Col. Monro and Gen. De Montcalm.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In real life, General Montcalm not only ordered his native allies not to attack the British leaving Fort William Henry, his troops actively tried to stop them. In the film he agrees to turn a blind eye to Magua's actions after the British leave the Fort.
  • Hollywood History: The 'Company' of the 60th regiment (really an understrength platoon) that accompany Major Heyward and the Monroe daughters who are massacred in order to show that Standard 18th century military tactics will not work in North America. Fair enough this early in the war for a standard British unit who are ambushed. But the 60th (The Royal Americans) were a unit raised in America and trained to specifically fight under these conditions and use them to their advantage.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ongewasgone, the Iroquois leader, commits to stay behind and fight on instead of break out of the beleaguered fort with the colonists.
    Hawkeye: There are too many French.
    Ongewasgone: And so few of us to fight. But we have given our word to the English fathers.
  • Hunter Trapper: The Mohicans.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: A warrior goes to you now, swift and straight as an arrow shot into the Sun.
  • I Call It "Vera": Hawkeye's beloved Long Rifle, Killdeer. Not only that, an inversion: he's nicknamed after his rifle.
  • I Choose to Stay: Hawkeye chooses to not accompany the militia from his settlement instead of fleeing with them.
  • I Have Many Names: As in the book: "I am Natty Bumppo Nathaniel, Hawkeye adopted son of Chingachgook... I am La Longue Carabine!"
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy
  • I Will Find You: "You submit, do you hear? You be strong, you survive! If they don't kill you they'll take you north... up to Huron land. You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you."
  • I'm a Humanitarian: "When the Grey Hair is dead, Magua will eat his heart." Hey, he had his reasons...
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The final swing by Chingachgook goes right through Magua's belly and out of his back.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: During the climax, Magua's warriors can't hit a charging Uncas when he's five paces in front of them.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Straight from the book, in which Hawkeye is a frontier William Tell. Notably, Hawkeye and the Mohicans use 18th century rifles to snipe moving targets 200 yards away - which, though possible, is bloody difficult.
    Uncas: (rips up Cora's skirt) Silk (bullet casing)... another 40 yards!
    • In the climax, check out some of the outrageously improbably shots taken. Hawkeye even manages to fire two LONG RIFLES and kill two Huron warriors at once. At least they acknowledged that they could only take one shot - No Bottomless Magazines - and simply picked up their foes' unfired weapons.
    • Famed method actor Daniel Day-Lewis apparently learned how to reload an 18th-century musket on the run, which the famous real life frontiersman Lewis Wetzel demonstrated is possible, though he never shared he secret of how he did it. Daniel Day-Lewis also spent the entire film living in a tent and wearing leather skins which he made himself, which led him into a career as a cobbler in Italy for the remainder of the decade.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Two of them.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Hawkeye says he and Uncas attended Reverend Wheelock's school. This is presumably Dartmouth College, originally founded as a school to train Native Americans as missionaries (however, it did not open until 1769, after the war ended.
  • Injun Country: Totally averted.
  • Judgment of Solomon: The Great Sachem Tamenund's ruling at the end of the film is a bit of Values Dissonance. From his point of view, it was a just ruling; the Native Americans did not mistreat captive women, but people might be punished for the crimes of their fathers. Women who ran the gauntlet, however, would be respected unharmed; they would be ransomed or allowed to marry into the tribe.
    • Hawkeye tells Cora "You submit, do you hear? You're strong!" for this reason. Takes on a whole new meaning when the deleted lines are added back in: "One of the Hurons may take you as a wife."
    • Ironically, Magua saying he will go to the Hurons of the Lakes to get a second (and more favorable, i.e. violent) opinion) is an anachronism because at this time, the Hurons du Lacs were Jesuits, assimilated and pacifist, and they nearly got wiped out by the British as a result.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The film has a very complex Translation Convention. In the case of General Montcalm, however, since he is a diplomat and speaks English anyhow, this boils down to him keeping a villainous French accent throughout.
  • Karma Houdini: Montcalm never gets a comeuppance for allowing Magua to go on his rampage, and in fact gets absolutely everything he wanted otherwise.
  • Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: Magua's reaction to Alice at the end of the film. He puts down his knife and reaches out with his other hand. Too bad it had her lover's blood on it.
  • Kirk Summation: "Magua's heart is twisted. He would make himself into what twisted him."
  • Knife Nut: Every Indian warrior has a knife, usually carried in the "off" hand.
  • Last of His Kind: The title didn't clue you in that this trope would get invoked somehow?
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The quest to assure the two women safe passage to Fort William Henry.
  • Ledge Gravity: Experienced by several Huron warriors in the climax.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Uncas, intent on rescuing Alice, runs ahead of Chingachgook and Hawkeye when they attack Magua's band. This proves to be a fatal mistake when he reaches Magua.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Uncas and Magua's fight on the edge of a precipice.
  • The Lost Woods: The Appalachians, with all that blue smoke swirling about (that's why they call it the Great Smoky Mountains). Deadly for British troops.
  • Love Triangle: Hawkeye - Cora - Heyward. (Also Uncas - Alice - Magua, but more understated.)
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Partially averted vis-a-vis the book, wherein Cora was mixed-race, but Uncas and Alice turn out to be Star-Crossed Lovers. This is a role reversal from the book where Uncas was in love with Cora.
  • Melodrama: Heroic Sacrifice! Heaving bosoms! Long, flowing hair!
  • Mighty Whitey: Definitely present, but mostly subverted. The story does focus mostly on Hawkeye, but he isn't particularly better or worse at anything than his Mohican family.
  • Mercy Kill: Hawkeye shoots Heyward when the latter is being burned alive and screaming in agony. See: Heroic Sacrifice above.
  • Mobile Menace: Magua.
  • The Mole: Magua again.
  • Motive Rant: Magua delivers one in the final debate.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Hawkeye, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Uncas too.
  • The Mutiny: Semi-justified, if only because these are the forefathers of The American Revolution, so...
    • In Real Life tensions between the British crown and the American colonists were building for decades before the Revolution, and this war was the precursor to it.
  • The Native Rival: Completely inverted in the case of Heyward and Cora.
  • Neologism: The name "Cora." While not as popular as Wendy or Jessica, it still went on to become a viable name after the novel.
  • Noble Savage: Averted. Native characters are portrayed as ranging from noble to brutal and bent on revenge.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Chingachgook's duel with Magua isn't so much a duel as Chingachgook hitting Magua repeatedly in the torso and breaking both his arms, before giving him a Coup de Grâce through the abdomen.
  • No Sell: Cora attempts to pistol whip a Huron, but he shrugs it off and puts her at knifepoint.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: The French letting their Huron allies slaughter the British troops who have already surrendered. We also hear of one offscreen where the French and their Ottawa allies massacred a British settler family.
  • Old Master: Chingachgook.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Hawkeye.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Major Duncan Heyward is a capable and effective combatant, but is often upstaged by Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas. Their first encounter has Heyward drawing his sword to defend Cora and Alice, before the three Mohicans appear and deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to Magua's remaining warriors.
  • Pet the Dog: When Alice stands at the cliff edge, ready to kill herself, Magua lowers his knife and beckons for her. For a brief moment, it appears like he might genuinely care.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: The ten-minute finale plays this trope for all it is worth. Bring a box of tissues.
  • Plot Armor: And how. In the film, Alice, Cora and Duncan are the only survivors of two massacres. Until the end anyway.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy
  • Punch Clock Villain: Magua's Huron warriors.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery
    Magua: Magua's village and lodges were burnt. Magua's children were killed by the English. I was taken a slave by the Mohawk who fought for the Grey Hair. Magua's wife... believed he was dead, and became the wife of another. The Grey Hair was the father of all that. In time, Magua became blood brother to the Mohawk... to become free. But always in his heart, he is Huron. And his heart will be whole again on the day the Grey Hair and all his seed are dead.
  • Race Lift: Cora, surprisingly enough.
    • The film also offers Alice and Uncas as a secondary couple, although it's really subtle unless you're watching the Theatrical Cut and even then it's somewhat subdued. But it definitely comes to the fore in the last scene.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The colonists and frontiersmen.
    Heyward: And who empowered these colonists to come and go without so much as a "by your leave"?
    Cora: They do not live their lives by your leave! They scratch it out of the wilderness with their own two hands, burying their children along the way!
  • Rasputinian Death: Uncas. Magua stabs him twice, slits his throat and pushes him off a cliff.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Colonel Munro, compared to the other Brits. He refuses to honor the colonists' agreement, but he does so for legitimate military worries of losing his fort. Had his superior officers honored their commitment, he wouldn't have needed the militia. Needless to say, the colonists blame Munro for British duplicity.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Both Hawkeye and Magua mock Mighty Whitey with this.
  • Red Herring: At one point, Heyward pisses off Hawkeye to the point the latter darkly promises, "Someday, I think you and I are going to have a serious disagreement," hinting one of them will come to blows in anger. Instead, Fire-Forged Friends (or, at least, Teeth-Clenched Teamwork) result, with Hawkeye giving Heyward a Mercy Kill.
  • Red Shirt Army: The British Redcoats, by definition. Possibly an Unbuilt Trope.
  • Redemption Equals Death: There is a case to be made for this being the ultimate fate of Duncan Heyward through his self-sacrifice.
  • The Resenter: Heyward after leaving the fort.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Uncas goes on one during the climax to save Alice. Thanks to Magua, it fails miserably.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Chingachgook goes on one of these after Uncas is killed. Subverted because he does it silently; even his howl of grief is inaudible, with only the music playing.
    • Magua's motivation is revenge as well.
  • Say My Name: Hawkeye shouts "Uncas!" as his foster brother's body falls from the cliff. It's the only word during the climax.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Surprised this hasn't been mentioned before, because it's the Mohicans' hat! Well, that and Super Running Skills...
    • At one point they track a band of Huron down the middle of a streambed. They know it's a band of Huron because there's only one set of prints (underwater) and Huron always walk single file to hide their numbers.
    • During the "I Will Find You" segment, the Mohicans track Cora and Alice's trail (while running) up a granite rock face.
      • They know where the war party is headed to, and Cora leaves tracks at the edge of the rock face...
  • Scenery Porn: The Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Or Daniel Day-Lewis is about to dismember you in the film's cover.
  • Settling the Frontier: The background setting for the story is the American Frontier and its settlers, and their interactions with the native population.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Inverted as the heroes become fashionably dirtied-up through the course of the story.
  • Shirtless Scene: The 1992 film. Hawkeye's shirt magically disappears while hunting.
  • Shown Their Work: One of the first installments in the trend towards super-detailed historical reenactment. The director built a full-scale model of Fort William Henry and blasted it to smithereens, authentic reproduction muskets were made, leather items were all tanned on-set; a linguist was hired to reconstruct a dead Huron dialect for subtitled scenes.
  • Sickening Crunch: The sound when Chingachgook hits Magua in the arm with his gun stock club.
  • So Much for Stealth: These guys will pick up on any sound, even the birds not singing.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Cora (almost too much so for the conventions of her time, in the book).
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Uncas and Alice in the film, practically with no dialogue. Poignantly so. He loved General Munro's daughter Cora, who suffered from Half-Breed Discrimination in the book — one of the first interracial romances in American fiction.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Madeleine Stowe (Cora) and Jodhi May (Alice) are both tall (5'8'), attractive women.
  • Stern Chase: The climax, as Chingachgook, Hawkeye, and Uncas attack Magua's war party to free Alice. It fails.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Whenever there is any disagreement, presumably on the theory that True Drama Requires Shouting.
  • Supporting Leader: Hawkeye.
  • Take Me Instead: When the Sachem's judgment decrees that Cora is to be burned alive to atone for Colonel Munro's sins, Hawkeye tells Heyward to tell the council to have him (Hawkeye) burned instead, as his death would be a victory for the Huron. However, Heyward deliberately mistranslates, so that he, not Hawkeye, is burned to death.
  • Title Drop:
    Chingachgook: Great Spirit, Maker of All Life. A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son. Tell them to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one - I, Chingachgook - Last of the Mohicans.
  • Third-Person Person: Magua speaks of himself in the third person. Just like that, in fact.
  • Together in Death: A case can be made for this at least being symbolically done with Uncas and Alice. The two had been developing feelings for each other through out and after he is killed and his body falls from a cliff she quickly jumps off following him. Their bodies lie next to each other at the bottom of the cliff.
  • Tranquil Fury: Chingachgook shows little emotion when dispatching Magua for killing his son, and doesn't crack a tear til after his final speech.
  • Translation Convention: Used and subverted. When characters who speak French are alone, it's spoken in English (oddly, General Montcalm speaks English anyhow with Just An Accent); but Native characters slide in and out of four different languages, which are subtitled for the viewer as Bilingual Dialogue, so all three tropes are used.
  • Translation with an Agenda: Of a heroic sort. Duncan deliberately ignores Hawkeye's demand to be sacrificed instead of Cora, instead telling Sachem to trade Cora with a British officer. Sachem agrees to Duncan's offer.
  • Trouble Entendre: Magua's and Montcalm's Unspoken Plan Guarantee.
    Magua: Does the chief of the Canadas expect the English to honor the terms?
    Montcalm: Col. Munro would. But General Webb will not honor the agreement and send the troops away. I fear that having let them go — which I must — I shall only fight the same men again when I drive towards Albany. (the two exchange a knowing glance)
  • True Companions: The Mohicans, plus Cora, Alice and Heyward (sort of).
  • Unrequited Love: Heyward's motivation.
  • War Is Hell: Getting involved in a war just because you gave your word and fighting alongside allies who don't like you. Worse is when the war comes to your home and you can't defend it. Then you have the native war parties who come out of nowhere and slaughter everyone, including women and children.
  • War Was Beginning: America 1757.
    It is the third year of war between France and England for possession of the continent.
    Three men, the last of a vanishing people, are on the frontier west of the Hudson river.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Tensions between the redcoats and the colonists over things like expanding into the frontier and going home to protect their homes and families from raids stretch their alliance to the breaking point.
  • Weapon of Choice: Chingachgook's gunstock club gets a lot of use.
  • Wicked Cultured: Subverted in an interesting way. Montcalm is shown receiving Indian chiefs as equals and receiving gifts of fealty from them, including a Jesuit choir of Huron women. This is treated as a Pet the Dog moment showing the different French attitudes toward coexisting with natives, instead of implying that he is backstabbing his Indian underlings.
  • Wild Wilderness
  • World Gone Mad: "The whole world's on fire, isn't it?" (cue sweeping music and mortar explosions)
  • Worthy Opponent: Montcalm specifically describes Munro as such.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: A fairly realistic example. The British at the fort pretty easily defeat the French and Indians in pitched, face-to-face battles. When ambushed in the forest they're virtually helpless.
  • You Rebel Scum!: Heyward's attitude towards the deserters.


Alternative Title(s): Last Of The Mohicans

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheLastOfTheMohicans