Summary: Cora and her younger sister, Alice, both recent arrivals to the colonies, are being escorted to their father, Colonel Munro, by a troop of British soldiers. Along the way they are ambushed by a Huron war party led by Magua, a sinister warrior with a blood vendetta against Munro. Munro’s soldiers are wiped out and Cora herself is nearly killed by Magua but is saved at the last moment by Hawkeye, a white trapper raised by the Mohican tribe. Hawkeye promises to take Cora and her sister safely to their father, and along the way Cora and the intense Hawkeye fall in love. Together they must survive wilderness, war, and the relentless pursuit of Magua.
Analysis: The introductory moments are somewhat confusing, and it takes about fifteen or twenty minutes to get the characters and situations straight. Madeleine Stowe’s British accent is of the “now-you-hear-it, now-you-don’t” variety, although her performance pretty much makes up for this inconsistency. Finally, the photography surrounding the waterfall is unconvincing. Other than those few things the film was great. From beginning to end, there isn’t a weak performance. Finally, there’s the story, which, while not all that complex, is of epic nature. At first I wasnt expecting this movie to be good but by the end of the last battle I knew that The Last of the Mohicans is a memorable motion picture adventure, and one of the best films Ive ever seen.
Comparison: In the movie, the siege at Fort William Henry is a concentration of a massive French force on an isolated fort of what seems to be no more than 300 people. Also the siege of the fort by Gen. Montcalm was reduced to one night of action and romance in the film. The great portrayal of traditional siege warfare in the movie serves only as a background for the development of the love between Cora and Nathaniel. In actuality, the seven day siege had two major fronts: the fort which held about 500 men and a camp east to the fort which held roughly 2000 men. To the films credit, it does portray the reasons and terms of surrender quite accurately. Montcalm had in fact apprehended a letter to Col. Monroe from Gen. Webb that he was not sending relief. Also, Montcalm did offer Monroe and his men the generous surrender terms shown in the retreat scene of the movie.