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Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo is the protagonist of James Fenimore Cooper's pentalogy of novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales.

Fictional biography

Natty Bumppo, although the child of white parents, grew up with Native American, becoming a near-fearless warrior skilled in many weapons, one of which is the long rifle. Hawkeye (one of his many nicknames) respects his forest home and all its inhabitants, hunting only what he needs to survive. And when it comes time to fire his trusty flintlock, he lives by the rule, "One shot, one kill." He and his Mohican "brother" Chingachgook champion goodness by trying to stop the incessant conflict between the Mohicans and the Hurons.


Hawkeye is featured in a series of novels by James Fenimore Cooper collectively called the Leatherstocking Tales. The novels in the collection are as follows:



Title Subtitle
The Deerslayer The First War Path
The Last of the Mohicans A Narrative of 1757
The Pathfinder The Inland Sea
The Pioneers The Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale
The Prairie A Tale

The tales recount significant events in Natty Bumppo's life from 1740-1806.

Song of the Mohicans, written by Paul Block in 1995, is a direct sequel to Last of the Mohicans. Taking up the story a few days after Uncas' death and burial, it recounts the adventures of Hawkeye and Chingachgook as they travel north to discover the connection between an Oneida brave and the Mohican tribe and whether a sachem truly holds the key to the ultimate fate of the Mohicans.


Bumppo is known as "Deerslayer" in The Deerslayer, "Hawkeye" and "La Longue Carabine" in The Last of the Mohicans, "Pathfinder" in The Pathfinder, "Leatherstocking" in The Pioneers, and "the trapper" in The Prairie.


Hawkeye has been portrayed most often in adaptions of the The Last of the Mohicans. He was portrayed by Harry Lorraine in the 1920 film version, by Harry Carey in the 1932 film serial version, by Randolph Scott in the 1936 film version, by Kenneth Ives in the 1971 BBC mini-series, by Steve Forrest in the 1977 TV movie and by Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1992 film version. Lewis received a BAFTA Film Award nomination for Best Actor in 1993, won an Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor in 1993, and won an ALFS Award for British Actor of the Year in 1993 for his interepretation of the character.

Adaptions of The Deerslayer have seen Hawkeye played by Emil Mamelok in the 1920 film The Deerslayer and Chingachgook, by Bruce Kellogg in the 1943 film, by Lex Barker in the 1957 film, and by Steve Forrest in the 1978 TV movie.

Adaptions of The Pathfinder have seen Hawkeye played by Paul Massie in the 1973 5-part BBC mini-series and Kevin Dillon in the 1996 TV movie.

Additionally he was portrayed by George Montgomery in the 1950 movie The Iroquois Trail, by John Hart in the 1957 TV series Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans, by Hellmut Lange in the 1969 German TV series Die Lederstrumpferzählungen, by Cliff De Young in the 1984 PBS mini-series The Leatherstocking Tales (which compressed The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans and The Pathfinder into four episodes) and by Lee Horsley in the 1994 TV series Hawkeye.

In popular culture

  • The state of Iowamarker is officially known as the Hawkeye State in honor of this character.
  • The University of Iowamarker Hawkeye sports teams take their name from Natty Bumppo.
  • Natty Bumppo is also the pseudonym of the author of The Columbus Book Of Euchre.
  • The character of Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H takes his nickname from the Native American name given to Natty Bumppo. In the novelization, it is revealed that Last of the Mohicans is the only book Pierce's father had ever read.
  • Bumppo is known as Dan'l "Hawkeye" Bonner in Sara Donati's series, meant as a sequel to the Last of the Mohicans books, beginning with Into The Wilderness. The series centers around Hawkeye and Cora's son, Nathaniel Bonner.
  • Bumppo is featured in the comic book series Jack of Fables, both in name and as "Hawkeye", along with Slue-Foot Sue (Pecos Bill's first wife).
  • Bumppo is referred to in the graphic novel series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as being part of the 18th century incarnation of the league.
  • Near the end of Mississippi Jack, the fifth in the best-selling Bloody Jack series of female adventures by L.A. Meyer, an adopted white Shawnee called Lightfoot, a rifleman who always travels with his native Shawnee "brother," reveals his white surname to be "Bumpus" in an obvious tribute to Cooper's Natty Bumppo. Thinly-veiled or unveiled characters from the history of the day are a repeating feature of the Bloody Jack series.
  • Natty Bumpo was the name of a Dayton, Ohio pop music band in the mid 1970s.


  1. James Fenimore Cooper Society's online plot summaries of the chronologically first (The Deerslayer)[1] and last (The Prairie)[2] novels, indicating the initial and final years of the Leatherstocking saga.

Further reading

External links

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