Having overcome almost unwalkable thicket, two young men came to the shore of a dazzling shining mountain lake. The first of the travelers - tall, strong man and a braggart Harry March - seeing the admiration of his friend, said that compared with the Great Lakes of Canada this one is a little lake. But for Natty Bumppo, called Deerslayer, a huge water mirror was a spectacle view. To admire, however, they had no time. Especially Harry March (aptly nicknamed by colonists – Hurry Harry): a beautiful Judith is waiting for him.
Having found the hidden pirogue, friends soon reached the "castle" - built on stilts driven into the shallows hermit Tom’s dwelling. The house was empty. Harry assumed an old man and his daughters went on hunting. The young men went searching for them. First, they notice Hutter inspecting traps and then perfectly disguised "ark" - a large flat-bottomed barge. Tom has got the news about war between the British and French, but the fact that the friendly of the French soldiers Indian tribe Ming roam around the lake, he still does not know. With the new arrived he hurries to bring "the ark" on the open water.
The immediate danger was over, but on the lake two pirogues were hidden - Hutter, Harry and Deerslayer not without a reason believed that the Indians would find them soon. Therefore - under the cover of night – it was decided to seize the pirogues. Harry courted for Judith, but the girl did not like him.
In the dark men set off for a dangerous voyage, and captured the pirogues. Harry and Hutter dared to attack the abandoned Indian camp. Knowing that Deerslayer would not agree for such an infamy, he was sent off. Adventurers, however, miscalculated - the woman cried out, and those soldiers who were near came for help. Unsuccessful hunters for scalps are captured themselves. Waking at dawn, Deerslayer can see the pirogue coming close to shore. He heard a shot and hid behind the tree. It was an Indian, Deerslayer offered peace, and the Indian agreed. But, having captured the canoe and going to sail, the young man noticed that the Indian took aim at him. Deerslayer instantly directed the gun at the enemy hiding behind the bushes - two shots merged into one. The boy was not injured - Iroquois warrior was mortally wounded. Dying, the Indian hunter called him Hawkeye.
Deerslayer returned to the "castle". He did not conceal from Tom’s daughters what a serious trouble their father had got into. But encouraged hem - this evening, at sunset, he had an appointment with the Delaware warrior Chingachgook - they would come up with something. The Great Serpent - so Chingachgook is translated from Delaware - came here for his kidnapped bride. All go to the "Ark", and tacking the whole day, Deerslayer brought the barge precisely at sunset the appointed place. From the low cliffs Indian jumped on the vessel. On the shore there are the persecutors, but too late - the ark was already out of reach.
After some discussion with Chingachgook Deerslayer advised sisters to redeem the captives. Girls without hesitation offered their best outfits - but was it enough? Judith decided to reveal the chest of his father. Among the expensive dresses they found elaborately carved chess pieces. Neither Judith nor Deerslayer knew what it was, but the archers, horses and elephants are particularly striking. Arrived for negotiation Indians were simply bewitched. They were happy to exchange prisoners for two elephants.
Both liberated and liberators decided: "Castle" was not a place unreliable, the "Ark" much safer. All moved to the barge and sailed. At night, Chingachgook and Deerslayer went into the enemy camp - for Wa-ta-ya, the bride of the Great Serpent. He lady was guarded. Fortunately, one of the leaders of the Ming told old woman to fetch some water. That woman took the girl and went to the spring. Deerslayer attacked the old woman, Chingachgook with Va-ta-ya run to the pirogue. The woman managed to produce a scream Deerslayer threw the old woman started to run away. At the water one of the Indians overtook Deerslayer. A few more soldiers came and Deerslayer got into captivity.
Hutter and Fidget did not care about the fate of Deerslayer, but Judith did. All the night she - along with her younger sister Hattie - spent in the boat, hoping to find out what awaited the hunter she liked.
Hutter and Hurry Harry directed "ark" to the "castle". It seemed to them it was not captured. Chingachgook warned them recalling the treachery of Ming, but they did not listen. The unwary couple safely entered the house. The crackling, rumbling, a curse – there was a struggle for life and death. Out of doors, plastered with enraged warriors fell Harry March. Thanks to the enormous physical strength, he swept many opponents, but deftly thrown rope entangled the giant and knocked him to the pavement. March did not give up, slipping into the water and with Va-Va-ta’s help got on the controlled by Chingachgook barge. Huron warriors did not dare to prosecute in unfavorable conditions and left the "Castle".
Judith and Hetty came and heard anguished moan, they opened the shutters and found ther father scalped. Besides, he was fatally stabbed. A touching farewell - Thomas Hutter had time to open the girls that he was not their father, and died.
The next evening fleeting on the barge they saw approaching to them Deerslayer. The young man as a bearer of a flag of truce was released. But however the negotiations finished, he had tomorrow to go back to the enemy. Nothing good would accept him there. Judith tried to dissuade him, but Deerslayer convinced the woman that it was impossible for him to break his promise.
Upon returning Huron, appreciating the courage and honesty of Hawkeye, offered him to marry the widow of the Indian he had killed. He refused. Enraged brother of the scorned woman launched tomahawk, but he evaded and intercepted weapons and returning throw killed the assailant.
They tied Deerslayer to a tree and trying to intimidate, toss knives, tomahawks, shoot guns - so as not to cause serious wounds. The hunter did not only turn his head away, but did not even close the eyes. This led Huron furious - they laid out a fire. Hetty appears - she was considered feeble-minded, and was allowed to walk everywhere. She scattered with a stick the burning fire. Indians withdrew the girl aside, intending to continue the torture, but Chingachgook interfered. He jumped out of the bushes, with lightning speed crossed a clearing, cut the rope and gave Deerslayer a rifle. Confusion. However, enemies were in abundance. Friends were inevitably to die. But there are heard heavy, rhythmic tread of the soldiers' feet, drum roll. Huron in panic rushing around, almost all men and women dies.
Hatty was among the injured. And even Hetty bravely endured suffering, surprising military doctor - her life was extinguished. Judith crying beside her sister - friends say goodbye to the dying. Hattie was buried at the bottom of the lake.
After the funeral the orphaned Judith stayed in private with Deerslayer. Straightforward hunter she liked a lot, but quite frank he did not guess it. Understanding that now or never - Judith, overcoming shyness, offered Deerslayer to take her as his wife. Hunter was silent, trying not to offend the girl told her that marriage without love was unlikely to be successful.