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THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Michael Mann and Christopher Crowe
Based on the Novel
James Fenimore Cooper
The screen is a microcosm of leaf, crystal drops of precipitation, a stone, emerald green moss. It's a landscape in miniature. We HEAR the forest. Some distant birds. Their sound seems to reverberate as if in a cavern. A piece of sunlight refracts within the drops of water, paints a patch of moss yellow. The whisper of wind is joined by another sound that mixes with it. A distant rustling. It gets closer and louder. It's shallow breathing. It gets ominous. We're interlopers on the floor of the forest and something is coming.
SUDDENLY: A MOCCASINED FOOT
rockets through the frame scaring us and ...
EXTREMELY CLOSE: PART OF AN INDIAN FACE
running hard. His head shaved bald except for a scalp-lock. Tattoos. He's twenty-five. He seems tall and muscled. Heavy, even breathing. We'll learn later this man is UNCAS, the last of the Mohicans.
PROFILE: UNCAS' ARMS
flash as he runs. One carries a flintlock musket. Sweat on the man's skin. A calico shirt is gathered at the waist with a wampum belt of small white beads over a breechcloth. He wears leggings to protect his legs. A long-handled tomahawk is stuffed in his belt.
CUT TO ...
ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST - MASSIVE WAR CLUB - DAY
in the hand of another running man. He's heavier, older ...
A green bear claw is tattooed there. Silver armband. A snake is tattooed over his left eyebrow. Silver rings in his ear. He's forty to forty-five. His head is shaved into a scalp-lock. It says: "Come and lift this from me. Take it, if you can ..." That prospect strikes us as extremely unlikely. This man is CHINGACHGOOK. The French call him "Le Gros Serpent," the Great Snake, because
"he knows the winding ways of men's nature and he can strike a sudden, deathly blow." WIDE ANGLE: CHINGACHGOOK
runs, disturbing no leaves, no branches; making no sound. He's running parallel to Uncas through the cathedral of mature forest. It's heavily canopied. There's very little brush. The girth of the trees is huge. Shafts of light illuminate motes of dust and turn leaves emerald where the sun breaks through. Sometimes there's ferns; rhododendron, sometimes pale grass and outcroppings of rock.
These men run the forest streams, over boulders, fallen trees and down into ravines as if they own them. They do.
CUT TO ...
ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST - LONG BLACK HAIR - DAY
rocketing through trees. His torn buckskin shirt is tied at the waist with a wampum belt holding a tomahawk and a large knife. A long rifle in which is carved the name "Killdeer" is in his right fist. Indian tattooing on his chest.
His name is NATHANIEL POE. He's a few years older than Uncas. The French and the French-speaking tribes know him as La Longue Carabine (Long Rifle). Other frontiersmen in New York colony and the Iroquois and Delaware-speaking tribes know him as Hawkeye. Sweat stains his shirt. He flashes through the tree branches disturbing nothing. Making no sound.
HAWKEYE'S POV: A PIECE OF TAN
two hundred and fifty yards away, a few square inches buried in the foliage ... SUDDENLY HE STOPS
Killdeer's at his shoulder ...
cocks the lock holding the piece of flint: click.
stops dead, holding out his hand ... no sound.
slips through young trees and stops, shouldering his smoothbore musket. Is this an
HAWKEYE'S POV: RACK FOCUS THROUGH THE GUN SIGHT
Five feet and fourteen pounds of rifle is elevated a half inch and shifted left, off target. It's a precise, smooth movement. No human quiver.
holding the flint hits the iron file of the frizzen, shooting sparks into the pan of priming powder which flashes and ...
is a huge elk that leaps at the sound.
CRACKS like lightning.
leaps where the .59 caliber round was programmed to intercept him. On the moment of impact ...
three men approach the fallen elk and each other. We realize they're hunting together. Hawkeye steps aside for Chingachgook. His massive war club is flat and angles to one side with a stabbing blade. Hawkeye is stepson and stepbrother. The two younger men treat Chingachgook with an easy deference and affection.
Hawkeye's a dialectic of two cultures. In his coloration and worldliness he's more the Anglo-Saxon frontiersman. In his independent views and candid manner and in his combat skills and woodsmanship, he's more native American (Mohican). As Chingachgook takes out his long knife and they approach the fallen elk ...]
(low Mohican; sub-titled)
We're sorry to kill you, Brother.
Forgive us. I do honor to your courage and
speed, your strength ...
CUT TO ...
EXTERIOR - INTERIOR CAMERON CABIN - JOHN CAMERON - NIGHT
roasts potatoes on a stick in the stone fireplace next to CAPTAIN JACK WINTHROP, an American in very worn quasi-military gear. On a rough table in the tiny cabin ALEXANDRIA, his wife, is kneading bread. Three children climb on their father. He grabs their wild seven year old son, JAMES, who shrieks laughter and dodges away. The cabin has two primitive rooms, waxed paper windows, log walls. O.S. a dog barks. Others pick it up. Cameron & Jack are suddenly alert, reaching for weapons ... CUT TO ...
EXTERIOR CAMERON CABIN, DOORWAY - CAMERON - NIGHT
appears warily, musket in hand.
Halloo! John Cameron!
Doorway: Cameron towards the interior ...
Alexandria! Set three more places.
(to the fence)
How is Chingachgook, then?
Behind him, emerging from the dark trees are Hawkeye, Uncas, cradling flint locks,
blankets and packs over their shoulders, leading a mule laden with skins and the elk
carcass. Crossing the splitrail fence ...
The Master of Life is good. Another year pass ...
How is it with you, John?
Gettin' along. Yes, it is.
Hello John. Cleared another quarter, I see.
(shakes hands with Uncas)
Yes, I did.
tears past his father & runs full bore. Just before he's going to collide into Uncas,
he leaps into the air and Uncas snatches him with one hand and swings him up onto
his shoulders. The kid screams with delight and rides back towards the cabin that
way. Alexandria comes to the door.
CUT TO ...
INTERIOR CABIN - CHINGACHGOOK - EVENING (LATER)
lights & smokes a clay pipe. The scene says: this is a rustic, frontier home and these
people have known each other & live in dangerous circumstances. ALEXANDRIA
If Uncas is with you, that means he has not
found a woman and started a family yet.
Your eyes are too sharp, Alexandria Cameron.
They see into my heart.
Your farm good to you this year, John?
It was a good year for corn.
Mohawk field we saw was 5 mile long on the river. Chief Joseph Brandt's field.
You take much fur?
That we did. John. But the horicane
is near trapped out.
Tradin' your skins in Castleton?
No, Schylerville. With the Dutch for silver. French & English want to buy with wampum
Pause, then ...
So what is it, Jack? What brings you up here? JACK
A French & Indian army out of Fort Carillon's heading south to war against the English.
I'm here to raise this county's militia to aid the British defense.
Folks here goin' to join in that fight?
We'll see in the morning ...
Fathers of England & France, both, take more land, furs, than they need. They're cold
& full of greed ...
Few'd deny that? Where you headin'?
Trap over the fall and winter among the Delawares in Can-tuck-ee.
So I can find a woman and make Mohican
children so our father will leave my brother & me in peace.
Alexandria laughs. So do Hawkeye & Chingachgook. JAMES
A son like me?
Uncas grabs James & suspends him upside down. UNCAS
No. You are too strong. Turn me old
Hawkeye grabs the kid from Uncas. The kid's laughing & can't stay still. Chingachgook
watches, content, smoking his clay pipe.
That's what he's doin' to his mama ...
She ruffles his hair and lifts the heavy iron pot off the tibbet. Uncas goes to help
her, she shrugs his hand away and carries it to the table herself. The men gather
around. There's pan-baked bread, a dish of salt, and the pot has venison and yellow cornmeal in a kind of stew. Everyone waits.
Dear Father, thank you for rewardin' the fruits
of our labor with plenty. Amen.
As they start to eat ...
CUT TO ...
CAMERON'S CABIN - (DAY)
EXTERIOR CAMERON CABIN - MOHAWK BOY & JAMES CAMERON - MORNING
slam into other kids as they battle through a Lacrosse game. In the background are sixty men, women and children. It's a community gathering held out of doors. We've entered mid-scene. Captain Jack is standing on a box. Some women and kids mill around some tables and boards laid over barrels. Cooking fires. Smoke.
Most but not all around Captain Jack are men, nine settlers, 3 hunter/trappers, eight Mohawk farmers in mixed European and native clothing. Off to the side are an English Lieutenant on horseback and a ten-man escort from whatever regiment's in Albany. A man named HENRI speaks in French. His son, MARTIN, translates.
(O.S. in French)
My father says he was driven out of France by
the black robe priests and he would fight them
now but he lost his arm and so I will go in his
is an unusually large Mohawk in a blue match coat with a little girl holding his hand. He says something to Chingachgook who nods. Hawkeye and Uncas are a little apart in an outer grouping of the men. Ongewasgone is a war chief and wears a white plume and is tattooed. As Martin finishes, he steps forward.
John Cameron, thank you for your hospitality ...
Twin River Mohawk got no quarrel with Les
Francais. Trade furs with Les Francais. Now Les
Francais bring Huron onto Mohawk hunting grounds ...
These people are English, Scots-Irish and Dutch farmers; some French Huguenot "mechanics" (craftsmen). They're in shirt-sleeves and Indian moccasins & leggings. The Mohawks' vast lands and corn agriculture border the settlement. They 've been acculturated for over a hundred years. Some wear European calico hunting shirts. Their heads are shaved to scalping locks and many are tattooed. They've politically and commercially played France & England against each other very adroitly for over
a hundred years because of their military power and geographic position. Their relations
with working farmers and settlers and their families has been mostly one of co-existence because there's always been more than enough for all. This is a WPA mural
of ethnic diversity and plurality of frontier America. The Europeans are former
indentured laborers, farmers exiled by economics or religious persecution, frontier
hunters and trappers ... working people.
?Michael Mann and Christopher Crowe
This Free Ebook is Produced
By "Eshu Space".
Need More Free Ebooks, Pls Go To
Now Mohawk will fight Huron and Les Francais. My brothers have asked me to lead them
in this war so I speak for the Twin River Council.
The importance of this commitment is apparent to the lieutenant. LIEUTENANT
His Majesty King George II is very grateful for your support. IAN
How far up the valley?
To Fort William Henry.
... two days from here.
Some don't like this.
It should be enough to remind you France is the enemy. HAWKEYE
Your enemy ...
Heads turn to Hawkeye at the periphery of the crowd. LIEUTENANT
What did you say?
I said ... France is your enemy. Not ours.
Really? Do you want them to overrun all New York colony?
First place, you started it with the French over fur-trapping claims to the head waters of the Ohio.
Now you're sayin' these people have a fight on their hands ...
Will you men help us stop the French?
... and while they are cooped up in your fort, what if the French send war parties to raid their homes?
What then, Lieutenant?
For your own homes, for king, for country, that's why you men ought to join this fight! HAWKEYE
You do what you want with your own scalp. Do not be tellin' us what to do with ours. LIEUTENANT
(furious; to Hawkeye)
You, sir! You call yourself a loyal subject?
... No ... Do not call myself much of a subject at all.
Nathaniel's right. But if I got to fight, figure I'll try and do it fifty miles north of here instead of my bean field.
Yes. Yeah. No ...
I am stayin' on my farm. And any man who goes, his family is welcome to fort-up with us 'til he comes back.
Boys. My sense of it is enough of us will join-up to fill the county's levy. But only if General Webb accepts a few terms I got in mind ...
HAWKEYE & UNCAS
cross through the people. A few men drift off to their women at the tables. It is apparent two-thirds of the men will join. A couple of jokes, light banter, no hostility.
Webb? what's that, Jack ...?
As they cross through they start removing their shirts and weapons.
You boys marchin' with us? What do you say?
We had our say, Ian.
They approach the Lacrosse field. Chingachgook stands with Cameron in the background, watching.
Uncas joins James. Hawkeye goes on the other side. A couple of young Mohawks and a young blonde farmer shout hallo's and as the bodies crash into each other ... CUT TO ...
EXTERIOR BRITISH ENCAMPMENT, PARADE GROUND - SIX HUNDRED 62nd REGIMENT OF FOOT - DAY in two rows. At each command the crack troops respond en masse. Their hands slap the stocks of their brown bess muskets in unison. These men are drilling in preparation for war.
We witness a state-of-the-art, 18th century, precision killing machine. REGIMENTAL SGT. MAJOR
Order arms! Handle cartridge!
(men bite the paper)
(powder dropped in pan)
Load! Draw ramrods! Ram cartridge! Return ramrod!
(muskets at chest height)
(muskets returned to chests)
(muskets returned to shoulder)
Like a single shot, two hundred fifty black powder muskets fire .65 caliber lead shot at chest height in a scythe of death.
The Dutch roof lines of Albany are in the distance. Nearer, a coach races past. CUT TO ...
EXTERIOR ROAD - HORSES GALLOP - DAY
Six horses, wide with dumb, mute strain. Foam, manes fly, their hooves pound the yellow road into dust. Military outriders are on the three left side horses. CUT TO ...
INTERIOR COACH - MAJOR DUNCAN HEYWARD - DAY
sits erectly in the brilliant scarlet coat of the First Royal Regiment of Foot with gold braid, blue-black facing and blue-black breeches, cavalry boots, spurs, a tricorn, white wig (?) and a gorget (large medallion) around his neck. He's 28-30 and tough. He is self-sure, principled reactionary. He believes human society is static & layered into hierarchies of class and they are absolutely impermeable. He opens a simple gold- clasped case & contemplates its contents ... HEYWARD'S POV: CASE
an enameled portrait of a dark-haired young woman.
as a soldier is militarily first-rate in his milieu: the open battlefields of Europe. Right now, however, he is about to enter the forests of North America. He closes his clasp and glances out the window as we enter Albany and as a facade of buildings & people pass.
CUT TO ...
INTERIOR BRITISH HQ, ASSEMBLY ROOM - DOOR - DAY
Four Grenadiers come to attention as Heyward enters mid-scene.
... if they are not allowed leave to defend their
families if the French or Hurons attack the
settlements, no colonial militia is goin' to Fort
You, there. Help my man outside with the baggage.
GENERAL JEROME WEBB sees Heyward and nods. Three of Webb's Adjutants are on either side. Three remaining Grenadiers in bearskin-covered mitred caps are at the door. Facing Webb are a half dozen colonial representatives, including Captain Jack Winthrop. Heyward watches Jack ...
They will report or be pressed into service!
LARGE COLONIAL REP
Any of the boys worth havin' can disappear into
forest ... time it takes you to blink. Where's that
leave ya, then?
Heyward, preparing to hand over dispatches, is interrupted by the insubordinate tone. Equally wound tightly is the Lieutenant.
They will be found! Arrested ...
I cannot imagine his Majesty, in his benevolence, would ever object to his American subjects defending their hearth & home, their women & children, if threatened by the "scourge" of attack from savages,