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The Last of the Mohicans (1920) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • As Alice and Cora Munro attempt to find their father, a British officer in the French and Indian War, they are set upon by French soldiers and their cohorts, Huron tribesmen led by the evil Magua. Fighting to rescue the women are Chingachgook and his son Uncas, the last of the Mohican tribe, and their white ally, the frontiersman Natty Bumppo, known as Hawkeye.


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The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In the summer of 1757, Chief Great Serpent (Chingachgook in the novel, but that name is not used in this film) tells the last surviving Mohican brave, Uncas, to warn the English at Fort Edward of the threat of Hurons allied with the French. Sisters Cora and Alice Munro are entertaining soldiers by playing music and dancing when Uncas arrives. Cora is impressed with his noble appearance, and is chided by English officer Captain Randolph for admiring a savage.

    The sisters' father Colonel Munro, defending Fort William Henry, learns of the approach of a large army of French, allied with Huron warriors. He sends a request for reinforcements to Fort Edward by way of the "indian runner," Magua. The sisters do not accompany the troops, but instead Magua leads them on a shortcut through the forest. Magua (who, in the novel, has old bad blood with the Munros, but here is just villainous) abandons them to find some Hurons to capture them. Running into Uncas, Hawkeye, and Chief Great Serpent, the girls and their escort (Major Heyward, who is in love with "capricious Alice") take refuge in a cave. Magua and the indians arrive in the morning. Several of the men run from the cave, hoping to draw off the Hurons, but they find the sisters and their fellow travellers and take them prisoner. Uncas and Hawkeye liberate them, and get them to Fort William Henry.

    Being snubbed by Cora, who now admires Uncas even more, Captain Randolph secretly visits the French General Montcalm and exposes the fort's weaknesses. Armed with this knowledge, the general negotiates the surrender of the fort, with the agreement that the women and children will not be harmed. But the French have given the Hurons firewater, and in their drunken wildness, Magua is able to incite them to attack the wagon train, massacring the women, then destroying and burning the fort. Magua kidnaps Cora and Alice. Hawkeye, Uncas, and the chief follow him to his refuge among the peaceful Delaware Indians. Dispensing justice, the Delware chief awards Cora to Uncas and Hawkeye, but Alice to Magua. Cora offers herself in Alice's place, since she knows she's the one Magua really wants, and they leave. The Delawares declare sanctuary until sundown, after which Hawkeye, Uncas, and the chief follow.

    Escaping from Magua's campsite, Cora flees to the top of a huge cliff and threatens to throw herself off. Magua sits, waiting for her to fall asleep. Uncas arrives just as Magua seizes Cora's wrists, and she tries to throw herself off the cliff, while Magua holds on tight. Seeing Uncas arrive, Cora tries to climb up again, but Magua stabs her hands with his dagger, causing her to fall to her death. Magua and Uncas fight, ending up at the bottom of the cliff, where Magua stabs Uncas, who falls, dying, next to Cora's body. Arriving too late, Hawkeye shoots Magua, who falls into a river and is swept over a high waterfall.

    Cora is buried in a sunlit valley, while Uncas receives an Indian funeral on a ridge. Chief Great Serpent laments "Woe for the race of red men! In the morning of life I saw the sons of my forefathers, happy and strong -- and before nightfall I have seen the passing of the last of the Mohicans!"

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