Question: “To what extent is the film ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ an accurate portrayal of historical events?”
“The last of the Mohicans”, the film, was based on a novel by James Fenemore Cooper. It is a fictional story set in an historical time. The movie is based on ‘The French and Indian War’ also known as ‘The 7 Year War’. The war started in 1756 and ended in 1763. The French and English were fighting each other for the land between their two settlements and the possession of America.
At the start of the movie, it tells you that the year is 1757, the third year of the war. But in fact 1757 was the second year of the war because the war started in 1756. This means that the third year of the war would have to have been 1758.
The countries involved in the war were England and France plus the Native Americans (Huron, Ohawa and Mohawks). This was accurately portrayed in the film.
The cause of conflict between the two countries was the fact that the English started to setting up farms in French Territory and the French weren’t to happy. There had been conflict before the war but this was the strew that broke the camels back.
Some Native American tribes decided to side with the countries fighting by making deals with them. The Mohawks decided to side with England but the Huron and the Ohawa tribes decided to fight with the French because the French had always been better to the Native Americans then the English had been.
The locations and their names were accurate in the film. The three forts were Fort William Henry, Fort Edward and Alburney. They were all placed inside the fought over land between the French and English settlement.
In the film there were three Military Leaders. These were General Webb (British), Colonel Munro (British) and General Montcalm (French). It is a historical fact that these three men did exist during this time.
The movie’s terrain was accurate to what it was like back then. They were situated in the mountains with lots of tree cover which made it hard too fight because it gave the troops more places to hide and made it easy to ambush a moving party.
The Costumes of the actors and actress were accurate to what they wear back in those times. The Military wore the red coats with their black hats, black boots and black pants. The colonists were wearing everyday farming clothes that were worn and old and the Native Americans were wearing animal skins, feathers and strange hair styles as they did back then.
The Native Americans used knives and spears as weapons, which were all hand made by their people like they would have been back then. The Troops and colonists used shoot guns, swords and those guns with the swords on the end, which would have been shipped over from England and France. The weapons were accurate to those that would have been used back then.
The Native Americans and France used a different style of fighting to what the English used. The English would just stand in line and fire, making it easy for them to be shot because they were not protected. Where as the French and Native Americans would hide behind trees, bushes, etc, and fire from were they where. This way the English wouldn’t know where they were and they had protection.
We get to see in the movie that the Native Americans were very brutal in the way they killed people and they way they scalped their victims. The English and French killed people as easily and quickly as possible. The Native Americans liked to make people suffer.
But the Native Americans were more caring when it came to the way they respected the environment. Because they lived off the land, they respected the land and I tried to give back to the land. A good example of this in the film was at the start when they killed the dear. Once they had killed it, they prayed for it and thank it for giving them food to keep them alive. They called it brother like it was part of their family.
The British Army didn’t care much for the colonists. For all they were concerned, the colonists were there for their convenience. They were there to help them fight and win the war. That’s all they cared about. The colonists weren’t happy by this. They were promised by Munro that they could go help their families if they were under attack. But when this happened, Munro would not let them go. The colonists were extremely mad. They hated the British Army for this.
But the British Army and the colonists needed to stick together to fight the war. Otherwise they would not win. If they went their separate ways, they would not have enough power to defeat the French.
The French were nice to the Native Americans when they first settled but when it came to the war, all they wanted was for them to fight for the French and they didn’t care about the rest of the deal they made with them. The English were the same but they had treated the Native Americans worse when they had settled, so not many Native Americans liked them.
At Fort William Henry, the English didn’t have enough man power to beat the French. With some of the colonist sneaking out to help their familles and no back up from Fort Edward, they had to surrender because they could not win. The French promised the English that they would become prisoners of war and would be safely lead back to Fort Edward were they could stay with their families and not be harmed.
But the Native Americans didn’t like this. They were promised that they could kill the English and scalp them but the French went back on their word. The Native Americans were extremely mad and ambushed the English Party while they were being escorted to Fort Edward. The Native Americans killed the English and the French and scalped them.
Even though the movie was historical correct in most ways, there was still some fiction in it. It is true that there was an existence of a tribe called the Mohicans (later to disappear due to European settlement) but there is no proof that there was an existence of the three heroes (Nathaniel/Hawkeye, Uncas and Chingachcook) said to be the last of the Mohicans.
Munro didn’t send for his daughters in the middle of the war so they couldn’t have been any romance between the eldest daughter and Nathaniel.
And finally, they portrayed the English to be the heroes and the French to be the villains, when really both of the countries were in the wrong so none of them were heroes.
The film is an accurate portrayal of historical events, as long as you take out the main characters, the love story and the hero and villains aspect. Everything else is historically correct, from what they wore, to what the terrain was like, to the countries involved, to what weapons they used.
Courtney from Study Moose
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