A Synopsis and Analysis of The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans was a fast paced thriller in which the setting was the French and Indian War. The battles were raging and the fighting was fierce. Back on the American frontier there were cold-blooded murders and devastating betrayals and few could be trusted. It was a time of courage and valor in battle and the courageous armies that fought each other knew each term first hand. It was a time where the strong prevailed and the weak died miserably writhing in the dust with lost scalps and choking hearts.

It was a time of honor and sacrifice and those of great passions gave their all for their heart’s undying faith. As for this movie, the story was an epic story of those who strived for their love and those who let their deepest inner passions guide them on their crusade of primitive instinct and self held morals. Honor and diligence were the way of the Mohican tribe. They would let no war come between their unity and love for their family and brotherhood. They were the Mohicans and they would stand strong, together united as brothers under all costs.

The story started with the English Army short of troops. The raging battles of the French and Indian war were devastating and both sides suffered heavy casualties in the line of duty. Now, the English were in desperate need of reinforcements. Many of them entrusted local Indian guides to lead them to aid their suffering allies. One group of unfortunate English men was on its way to Fort Henry. Unfortunately, as played out in the start of the story, many of those Indians were covertly enemies to the English. Magua, a playing guide of the English, let a group of English troops astray in the intrepid jungle.

He then called out his fellow Indians and laid siege upon the vulnerable and surprised troops. Chaos quickly ensued as the Englishmen desperately tried to fight their way through with unloaded rifles. The Indians, who were ruthlessly primitive, came barging headlong into battle with knives and hatchets in hand. Rifle butts were no match for the scalp shearing reflexes of the lightning quick Indians.

The English soldiers were about to be annihilated when out of the brush three Mohican Indians sprang into action. Their names were Chingachgook, Uncas, and Hawkeye. The picture on the left is Hawkeye sprinting to help his allies. They came soaring from the underbrush only to eradicate the enemy Indians in a matter of minutes. A few English soldiers survived, one of which was Major Heyward. Two women survived the battle as well, the two of which were Alice and Cora Munro, daughters of the commanding Colonel Munro. Each of which would later on play a key role in the outcome of a tragic love story and disunion of families. Hawkeye was immediately grasped by the beauty of Cora and they soon got to know each other better in the following scenes. The story would unfold.

After the brutal betrayal of the hateful Indian Magua, the remaining Englishmen made their way back to the local villages through the honest guiding of the three Mohicans. There they made their rendezvous at Fort Henry where there were several English cavalrymen rallying the townsfolk in search for an English militia against the French. Most of all the men were reluctant at first to join the militia. The reasoning behind this decision was that if they left their homes to fight the war, their families would be left unprotected and vulnerable to massacre by the ruthless local Indian enemy.

Many feared neither for their own lives nor for the outcome of the war, but rather for those of their loved ones. I too would agree and refuse to fight the war unless I was secured that my family would be protected. Otherwise, no man would be at rest to know that at any moment their family could be slaughtered. In the end however, the English commander agreed for the men to be granted leave from the militia if the Indians were to threaten their families. However, it turns out that later in the battle such an agreement was broken when the militia was uninformed of their families’ demises.

And still the story progressed to the front lines of the battle. Here fighting was heated and no soldier had the leeway to rest. They were at war and even through the night they had to continue working sleeplessly amongst bombarding shells and mortars from the French. Hawkeye and his companions successfully led the survivors of the assailed English reinforcements to Fort Henry where the Munro daughters were reunited with their father. It was a fleeting joyous time when they were assured that their family was still intact.

Only later would they have to face the difficulty of mortal separation when their family would be decimated by brutal Indian surprise assault. The Englishmen now were barely clinging to their lives in a desperate chance of hope. They needed more reinforcements, but none would come. Colonel Munro pleaded to General Webb, but there was no definite response. Things were looking wary for the English Army. Munro was beginning to realize that they might not win.

Hawkeye realized this too and made a bold move to help free some of the militia back to their now dead families. Their families were slaughtered and it was abiding to the English treaty made with the militiamen that they would have permission to leave. But Munro denied this right and felt that they should still believe that help was coming and they still had a chance. But I feel that they all knew that they were going to lose. Hawkeye’s lone ventures in helping militiamen escape duty put him in a dangerous position. By nightfall Munro had learned of his doings and arrested him to be put on death row. It was a sad time.
French mortars and shelling was incessant. English casualties were escalating and it was now apparent that they could not win this battle. They had been clinging to this fort long enough and any further battle would only result in a vain loss of a life.

The merciful General Montcalm of the French Army then ordered a ceasefire so that the English would have a chance for humanitarian surrender. Colonel Munro reluctantly accepted for the sake of the lives of his English soldiers. I feel that such further mindless killing would be purposeless and therefore Munro’s decision was a wise one. Further conflict would have been meaningless and a great loss of life. In addition, the surrender terms drawn by the French were very generous. The terms stated that the militiamen did not have to be deported to England; rather they could stay and live on the land in harmony.

The English Army however did have to return to England but still the terms were generous in that the English did not have to become French prisoners in war who would have to be locked up for years in French fortresses. And so the terms were agreed upon and the English began their honorable march back to sea with dignity and pride for having fought such a worthy enemy. Both sides held their heads high and marched with respect for one another. Things were going well, so the English believed. They were making an honorable surrender and they thought the last of their worries were behind them. Unfortunately they were wrong.

Hidden in the shadows, Magua planned a secret assault. He still craved the blood of the English commander who had slaughtered his people and brought about the leaving of his wife for another man. Magua had inner hatred within him that would not be quelled without the fresh warm taste of fresh spilled English blood. He vowed that he would take the heart of Munro and eradicate his “seed.” As the English made their retreat a sudden whooping came from the forest and the Englishmen became tense with fear. The whooping grew louder and louder as the sounds of over a hundred Indians chanted as one. They all cried out in unison then sprang forward from their hiding place. Firing all at once at the surrounded English Army, the Indians charged forward in a blitz attack wielding rifles and traditional hatchets. Blood sprayed in the air and this battle was going to be one to be remembered.

Amidst the confusion were two lone women and a now arrested Hawkeye. The girls would not have survived the fierce conflict around them had not Hawkeye broken free and come to their rescue. With his lightning fast rifle sharp-shooting skills Hawkeye played his part in the defense of the English Army. The Mohican Indians were superior fighters and took down more than their share of enemies. Unfortunately, in the heat of battle, Magua came to find his intended target: Colonel Munro. With a sum of all the hatred welled up inside of him he pummeled the Colonel and pulled him off of his steed. With the hatred stored from decades of consequential slavery, Magua dug his dagger deep into the Colonel’s chest and emerged from the bloody crevice only to hold a still faintly beating heart of a defeated Munro. Fortunately, the innocent Munro daughters did not witness the cold-blooded desecration of their father. But, later on, they eventually had to bear the terrible news.

And so the surviving group of the Mohican Indians, the Munro sisters, and Major Heyward began their frantic retreat from battle. They coasted down a white water rapids in an effort to lose the closely tail-gating Indians. Only riding in frail Indian canoes, the group managed to escape under a nearby waterfall. It wasn’t until nightfall had the pursuing Indian’s picked up the group’s trail and discovered their hiding place underneath the falls. In a heroic and sacrificial attempt at saving lives, Hawkeye and the Indians abandoned the group vowing to come to their rescue soon after. It was a difficult departure for Hawkeye and Cora as you can see in the picture above. And with that the warriors jumped from the falls and left the Munro sisters to be defended by Major Heyward. And so the group was inevitably found and captured. Hawkeye’s plan however worked as there was no conflict.

However, the Indians then took their captured prisoners back to their village where their fates would be judged and tried. During the movie it was clear the sisters were frightened for their lives. The Indians formed a congregation and the lives of the Munro sisters were being determined but neither of the Munro sisters knew what was going on. They stood there not knowing the fates that lied ahead of them. The eldest and what seemed the chieftain or wise man was Tamenund. He spoke French and was revered by the Huron as one who was experienced at making choices for the village. Then, as he had promised, in the middle of the congregation of the Huron, Hawkeye took a bold step into the enemy stronghold. As he approached Magua and the others he was continuously assailed by the other hateful Indians.

Even though Hawkeye came in peace, unarmed, the other Huron continued to hit him with clubs and slice him with knives. Eventually, after withstanding many beatings, Hawkeye arrived to voice his opinion to the Huron elders. He presented a strong opinion and the elders were convinced. The punishments were decided as such that Caro, the eldest Munro sister, would be burned at the stake to compensate for Magua’s lost family, Alice would be given to Magua so that the seed of Munro does not disappear, and the English soldier would be sent back to England in peace.

THe deaths of the Munro sisters, however, would be unbearable for Hawkeye. He spoke English to Heyward who translated for Tamenund the voice of what he thought should be done. Hawkeye even offered his own life in the place of the Caro for the sole sake of his love for her. But Heyward had plans of his own and felt that the sacrifice of his own life would be more worthy as Hawkeye was of more use than he at this moment. And so the verdict was given and Heyward was led to the burning stake and Alice was taken by Magua.

Hawkeye and Caro quickly evacuated the hostile village trying not to look back at the writhing and screaming Heyward as he was burned alive at the stake. Soon upon reaching the mountain where his Mohican comrades were hiding, Hawkeye took up his rifle to deliver a quick merciful shot to Heyward’s head to put him out of his misery. In one fast shot directly to the brain Heyward’s head flung back as the life and pain left his body. The job was not done yet and Hawkeye his fellow Mohican brothers still had one more Munro to save – Alice.

The Magua company had continued on a journey scaling a mountain to their final destination of rest. However, unaware to them the three Mohican Indians were fast on their trail and had a vengeance to repay the deaths caused by Magua’s warriors. The first wave attacks was swift and fast performed alone by Uncas. Uncas had come and intercepted Magua’s warriors in the front of the mountain pass. Here, Uncas fought with great determination and valor and managed to down several of Magua’s warriors. However, his killing spree was soon terminated as he came to confront Magua himself. Magua was on a different level of fighting than Uncas and Uncas was soon quickly defeated. Uncas suffered several devastating blows to the chest and torso before finally having his throat slit by Magua. Then, coldly, Magua pushed the dead limp body of Uncas off the mountain precipice. Chingachgook, Hawkeye, and the Munro sisters all watched in horror as the murder took place. The camera focused on the limp dead body of Uncas seeming floating in the air for a moment before crashing onto the hard rocks below.

And then following in an even more horrible sequence of events, Alice Munro, suffering from shock from all the murders she witnessed that day, made her way to the edge of the mountain cliff. She stood there half dazed and free of thoughts. She looked like a fallen angel who had lost all hope and feeling and had no more purpose to live. Magua realized a certain beauty and purity within her and he lowered the knife that he killed Uncas with. For a moment it seemed as if he was considering why he had been so ruthless to such frail and innocent people.

I think be hesitated a moment, unsure why he had so much hatred for such a defenseless and fragile being. In one puzzling movement he offered his hand to Alice, perhaps in an effort of half-heartedly reconciliation. But Alice Munro just turned and made a soft step into the open air and plunged to her death. Magua paused for a moment, taken aback, and then continued forth on his journey up the mountain. Cora, Alice’s sister, witnessed this suicide and screamed in inner turmoil. The Mohicans were still close on the trail, but sadly too late to save Alice. They still had the spirit of vengeance within them and their vengeance would soon be quelled with Magua’s death.

And so forth they pushed forward past one warrior to another. The Mohicans were further driven by the sights of their friends deaths and this drive pushed them harder killing Magua’s warriors more swiftly and adeptly. Hawkeye had this spirit within him too and now as he killed his enemies he took up their loaded rifles and wielded one rifle in each hand, killing two warriors at a time. And finally, in one climatic moment, Chingachgook reached Magua at the summit of the mountain and they fought the battle of the century. Chingachgook still had the passions of vengeance for his son’s death and was determined to kill Magua to avenge his son at all costs. Magua sensed this power within his enemy and was quickly struck down by many blows. And on the final stroke of an epic battle Chingachgook dug his blade deep into Magua’s torso until the blade emerged from the other side. Magua collapsed defeated eyes still open with blind astonishment. His evil deeds had been repaid.

Finally, with all conflicts resolved and with peace made between the English and the French, the group gazed into the horizon for a more peaceful, hopeful future. Perhaps they would be blessed with a future of prosperity and happiness in contrast to the bloody war that they had just endured. There was everything ahead of them now, and they were looking into the sunset full of promise for the future. Again, despite lost brothers, they stood united and strong as one.

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