Nineteen year old Mabel Dunham, accompanied by her uncle - the old sailor Cap - and two Indians (Smashing Arrows the and his wife June Dew) are for many days making their way through the vast American jungle from New York City to a small English castle on the shores of Lake Ontario. They keep the path to Mabel’s father, Sergeant Dunham. On their way travelers notice the smoke of the fire. During the war (and from 1755 to 1763 between the British and the French the battles almost did not stop) random encounters are always dangerous - a small squad with great caution scouts, who is preparing a meal: friends or foes? Fortunately these are friends: Pathfinder (known to us under the names of Deerslayer and Hawkeye, Natty Bumppo) with a constant companion Chingachgook and his new friend, Jasper Uestornom. French allied Indians have appeared in the vicinity of the fortress, and Sergeant Dunham sent a small but reliable detachment to meet the daughter.
The remaining few miles way Mabel remembered for a long time. Possible thanks to the skill of Jasper descent in canoe over the falls, and rapids victorious (led by Pathfinder) clashes with the superior forces of the enemy, desperate courage of Chingachgook - is not forgettable. Sergeant can be doubly pleased: his daughter is delivered safely, and, moreover, by the way, how Dunham was hoping, she could feel the feelings for his old friend Natty Bumppo. Indeed, Mabel was filled with feelings, but daughter like.
Almost forty years old Pathfinder is rather a father for nineteen years old girl than a possible husband. Mabel knows nothing of it; Sergeant decided without her and was able to convince the other that he - a brave and honest - cannot fail to please a girl. Even shooting competition when Jasper "begged" him for victory, do not open the Pathfinder who to whom and what feelings nourishes. He himself – to his sorrow – is enchanted with Mabel and believing her father, falls in love. When the time comes to change the guard at a secret office, Pathfinder allows neglecting duties and does not go with Chingachgook to the shore of the lake, but goes together with a girl and a sergeant on a small single-vessel.
Before leaving the fortress commander tells Sergeant Dunham that he had received an anonymous letter accusing the captain Jasper Western of betrayal. Dunham would look carefully after the boy and if anything happened will remove him from the captain's duties, entrusting the vessel to the brother of his wife, an experienced sailor Cap. And, despite the long-standing acquaintance with Jasper, Sergeant starts reinterpret his, the most harmless, actions in his own.
Finally, the burden becomes unbearable for Dunham - he removes Western from the command of the cutter and trusts the ship to Cap. The brave sailor boldly takes on the case, but lake navigation has its own specifics. Not only that, no one knows anything about the location of the desired island - just a "ride" on the cutter is impossible. A serious storm chases the vessel directly on the stones. And probably, if not persuasion of Mabel and Pathfinder - who by the way, did not to doubt the integrity of Jasper - Cap with Dunham would prefer to die "right" than be saved. But being sorry for the daughter Sergeant returns command to Western. Amazing boy’s art saves the ship.
When everything is right the sergeant - ostensibly for hunting - invites Pathfinder and Mabel go with him to the shore. After landing, the group broke up: Dunham moved to one side, Bamppo with a woman to another, anything does not seem to interfere with an explanation, but a resolute and courageous in battle, Pathfinder is shy with the girl. Finally, breaking the excitement and somehow coped with suddenly numb tongue, he explains himself. Mabel not understanding at first, but when realizing is very confused. She herself has skilled warrior the feelings of another kind – friendly feelings. Appreciation, gratitude - the girl thinks that for a happy marriage is not enough. On the other hand, either father or Pathfinder she does not want to disappoint. The question, however, is put right - she cannot get away from a direct answer. With all possible tact, carefully choosing her words, Mabel refuses to become Pathfinder’s wife.
The further swimming - under the command of perfectly knowing Jasper Western – is calmer. Sergeant prepares the expedition - to intercept the allies’ strategic goods: guns, gunpowder, lead, knives, Tomahawk. Pathfinder with Chingachgook is sent to investigate. At night the garrison, led by a sergeant, advances in attack.
The girl is restless. She worries about her father, and - for some reason - about suspected in treason Jasper. To relieve anxiety, Mabel walks around the island. Suddenly out of the bushes she is called by a quiet familiar voice – it is June Dew. It turns out that her husband - Smashing Arrows – is an old French secret agent, openly stood on their side, and the Indians are going to attack the island. The June Dew advises Mabel to take refuge in the blockhouse, and there wait the attack to cease. Fear replaces causeless alarm - what is now waiting for her father? And her? The June Dew soothes her: to become the second wife of Smashing Arrows is a great honor. But such a prospect seems for Mabel worse than death. And nobody to consult with - uncle and lieutenant have gone somewhere, and Corporal – a stubborn Scot! – does not want to know anything about any Indians.
She tries to convince him, but Corporal is full of contempt for the "savages." Mabel sees Scot suddenly falling face down. She rushes to help, but the corporal emits spirit, having had to croak: "Get in the blockhouse." Girl hiding in the building and locks the door - the Indians out of the bushes shoot the soldiers and take possession of the island. At night Pathfinder sneaks in the blockhouse - frightened Mabel is slightly encouraged. But not for long - headed by a sergeant and returning with victory detachment gets into an ambush. Pathfinder, using the darkness, manages to drag badly wounded Dunham in the blockhouse. He also reflects the subsequent attack, having shot several Indians, intending to set fire to the building. The next morning the winners offer to surrender - Pathfinder refuses. Some cutter appears - position changes, dramatically trapped in the crossfire Indians run away and hide. Now the French captain - the head of the recent winners demands the surrender. Specifying favorable terms, Pathfinder and Jasper agree. Disarming Indians leave the island.
Dying of wounds, Sergeant Dunham had Mabel tie the promise that she will give her hand to the Pathfinder. Then it is - full of thanks to Nathaniel and having no power to refuse a dying father – she agrees. But after the sergeant is buried Jasper with a trembling voice says goodbye to her, and Pathfinder, delighted at first with the agreement, suddenly begins to see: finally it is revealed to him who really is the third in this love triangle.