Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of Lieutenant Colonel Munro, are traveling with Major Duncan Heyward from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry, where Munro is in command and acquires another companion in David Gamut, a native singing teacher. They are guided through the forest by a native named Magua, who leads them through a shortcut unaccompanied by the British militia. Heyward is dissatisfied with Magua's shortcut, and the party roams unguided and finally join Natty Bumppo (known as Hawk-eye), a scout for the British, and his two Mohican friends, Chingachgook and his son Uncas. Heyward becomes suspicious of Magua, and Hawk-eye and the Mohicans agree with his suspicion, that Magua is a Huron scout secretly allied with the French. Upon discovery as such, Magua escapes, and in the (correct) belief that Magua will return with Huron reinforcements, Hawk-eye and the Mohicans lead their new companions to a hidden cave on an island in a river. They are attacked there by the Hurons, and their ammunition is soon exhausted. Knowing they will be killed instantly but that the English party will make valuable captives, Hawk-eye and the Mohicans escape, with a promise to return for their companions.
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