Nathaniel Bumppo (Natty Bumppo) is a fictional character and protagonist in James Fenimore Coopers pentology, The Leatherstocking tails. The Leatherstocking Tales compile of these five books in order: The Prairie, The Pioneers, The Pathfinder, The last of the Mohicans and The Deerslayer. These are all set in the early to mid 1800’s and are based in Central New York.
Natty Bumppo and Hurry Harry, about the year 1740, journey toward Otsego Lake in upstate New York. Although they are not always in agreement, the two men realize the need of each other’s protection in case of attack from the Indians (Mingos). Natty, or Deerslayer, is on his “first warpath,” as the novel is subtitled, because he has not yet been in combat with another man nor been forced to kill a human being; in this novel, he will be forced to kill.
The two travelers, finding Muskrat Castle deserted, seek Tom Hotter and his two daughters, Judith and Hetty, in the trapper’s other home, the ark. Hurry Harry, hoping to marry Judith, is treated coldly by her when the two men locate the ark, but Deerslayer is greeted warmly. Hetty is equally friendly to Deerslayer and to Hurry Harry. Suspicious at first of Deerslayer, Tom Hutter, or Floating Tom, realizes that the newcomer will be a valuable ally in case of Indian attack. As the ark is maneuvered away from shore to the open lake, some Mingos try to board the vessel; but Deerslayer proves his worth by repulsing the invasion.
The three men decide to reclaim the canoes hidden by Tom Hutter along the shores of Glimmerglass. Having succeeded in this mission for their protection and defense, Tom Hutter and Hurry Harry scheme to land in the dark, attack the sleeping Mingo women and children, and get scalps for the bounties. Although Deerslayer refuses to join this expedition, he waits offshore in a canoe for the return of Hurry Harry and Floating Tom. The Mingos are not so easily deceived, and the two white men are captured. Unable to help the prisoners, Deerslayer determines to secure the canoes first and to return to the ark where the girls are waiting.
One canoe drifts to the shore, and Deerslayer, trying to recover the boat, is met by a Mingo who also claims the canoe. Thinking that he has persuaded the Indian of the true ownership of the boat, Deerslayer turns away. In time, Deerslayer sees the Mingo preparing to shoot, and he fatally wounds the attacking Indian. Deerslayer, having experienced his “first warpath,” treats his dying opponent honorably by not taking his scalp and by arranging him comfortably. The Mingos, recognizing in Natty Bumppo a great warrior, call him by a new nickname, Hawkeye.