Overview

Deerslayer


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Romance by Cooper, published in 1841. An anonymous dramatization was produced the same year. The romance is the first in plot sequence of the Leather-Stocking Tales.

At Lake Otsego, during the 1740s, early in the French and Indian Wars, lives the trapper Thomas Hutter, with his daughters Judith and Hetty. The frontiersmen, giant Hurry Harry and Natty Bumppo, known as Deerslayer among the Delaware Indians, help Hutter to resist an Iroquois attack and return to his log fortress. There Deerslayer is joined by his friend, the Mohican chief Chingachgook, and they attempt to ransom Hutter and Hurry Harry, who have been captured. Feeble-minded Hetty slips away to the Iroquois camp, where she is unharmed because of the Indians' veneration for the demented, and before her return she sees her father and Harry, as well as Chingachgook's bride Hist, also a captive. The trapper and Harry are released, but Deerslayer, who helps his friend rescue Hist, is captured, and Hutter is later killed. Judith, who discovers that she and Hetty are not Hutter's children but are actually of noble birth, tells Deerslayer, when he is released on parole, that she loves him. She tries to prevent his return to the Iroquois, but he keeps his word, returns, and is about to be tortured. Judith appears, delaying the executioners until Chingachgook arrives with a troop of British soldiers. Hetty is killed, and Judith disappears. Although Deerslayer later learns that Judith married one of the titled British officers, he always treasures romantic memories of the affair.

Subjects: Literature.


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Authors

James Fenimore Cooper (1789—1851) American novelist


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