The Pioneers


  • Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo, aka the Leather-stocking, aka. Hawk-eye - Our hero, an old hunter and patriot, the protagonist of the novel. He is a friend to the Indians and distrustful of civilization. (chapter 1, page 22). He was "a melodious synopsis of man and nature in the West". He emerges as the antithesis to wastefulness demonstrated and embodied in the settlers. Natty represents the frontier in conflict with civilization and the law. In Chapter III, The Slaughter of Pigeons, his character is introduced as one of sustainable living off the land. Whereas settlers hunt for sport and kill too many pigeons, he shoots the one needed for his meal.
  • Judge Marmaduke Temple - A widower and the founder of Templeton (chapter 1, page 18). He is the trail-blazing leader of the group of pioneers that settle the wilderness of Otsego. He is a strong natural leader with a practical and wise approach. He is appreciative of nature and respectful of its ability to both sustain life and destroy it. He has to lead his people when threatened in the early days with starvation. He is nearly crushed by a falling dead tree in chapter 2. He is a cautious, effective leader, but he also holds a genuine love for the untamed back country. His description of its splendor at the top of a mountain he named “Mount Vision” is a testament to his respect for the beauties of nature. Marmaduke’s opinions are synonymous with those of Leather-stocking, yet his seemingly incorruptible attitude is blemished at the end of the pigeon hunt, when he joins in the annihilation of hundreds of the birds. When the hunt is over, the ‘Duke feels a pang of guilt, for “after the excitement of the moment has passed, that he has purchased pleasure at the price of misery to others.” Marmaduke’s character represents settlers who were conscious and aware of their intrusive and sometime destructive ways. Throughout the story he is respectful toward the Indian Leather-stocking as well as the lands he controls.
  • Agamemnon "Aggy" - A slave of the Judge
  • Elizabeth "Bess" Temple - Daughter of the Judge and romantic interest of Oliver (chapter 5, page 66)
  • Richard "Dick" Jones - The cousin of the Judge (chapter 4, page 47), “The Sheriff." He is the right-hand man of Marmaduke. He holds a systematic, “ends-justify-the-means” approach to solving problems. He claims that to avoid falling trees, one needs to avoid every tree in the forest with rotten base wood. When posed with the issue of bringing down the pigeons to feed the village, he uses an artillery cannon. Richard likes to “fish with dynamite,” figuratively speaking. He is the foil of Leather-stocking, who is frugal and weighted by morals. Richard’s character represents settlers who were ignorant of the land and people they disturbed while trying to make new lives. He is generally concerned with his own survival and prosperity with little regard to people such as Leather-stocking and the land.
  • Squire Hiram Doolittle - An architect, justice of the peace, and buddy of Dick Jones
  • Monsieur Le Quoi - A French nobleman before their revolution, and shopkeeper in Templeton (chapter 4, page 47)
  • Major Frederick "Fritz" Hartmann - A German settler in the area and regular visitor to the Judge's house (chapter 4, page 48)
  • The Reverend Mr. Grant - An Anglican minister (chapter 4, page 48)
  • Ben Pump, aka Benjamin Penguillan - A servant to the Judge, and a former seaman who doesn't know how to swim (chapter 5, page 60)
  • Remarkable Pettibone - Housekeeper to the Judge (chapter 5, page 62)
  • Old Brave - The Temples' faithful dog.
  • Dr. Elnathan Todd - The town doctor (chapter 6, page 71)
  • Indian John, aka John Mohegan, aka Chingachgook - The last of the Mohicans and Natty's faithful companion (chapter 7, page 85)
  • Oliver Edwards, aka Young Eagle - The young hunter and friend to Natty and Indian John (chapter 3, page 38)
  • Captain and Mrs. Hollister - Owners of the inn, The Bold Dragoon
  • Squire Chester Lippet - The obnoxious lawyer who talks too much
  • Louisa Grant - The daughter of Mr. Grant, companion to Elizabeth, and a possible love interest for Oliver
  • Billy Kirby - A lumberjack and crack-shot with a rifle (chapter 17, page 190)
  • Squire Van der School - The "honest" lawyer of Judge Marmaduke (chapter 25, page 277)
  • Jotham Riddle - A lazy fellow appointed as a magistrate by Sheriff Jones
  • Sir Oliver Effingham

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