The story opens with Ishmael, his family, Ellen and Abiram slowly making their way across the virgin prairies of the Midwest looking for a homestead, just two years after the Louisiana Purchase, and during the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They meet the trapper (Natty Bumppo), who has left his home in New York state to find a place where he cannot hear the sound of people cutting down the forests. In the years between his other adventures and this novel, he tells us only that he has walked all the way to the Pacific Ocean and seen all the land between the coasts (a heroic feat, considering Lewis and Clark hadn’t yet completed the same trek).
The Prairie: A Tale (1827) is a novel by James Fenimore Cooper, the third novel written by him featuring Natty Bumppo. His fictitious frontier hero Bumppo is never called by his name, but is instead referred to as "the trapper" or "the old man." Chronologically The Prairie is the fifth and final installment of the Leatherstocking Tales, though it was published before The Pathfinder (1840) and The Deerslayer (1841). It depicts Natty in the final year of his life still proving helpful to people in distress on the American frontier. The book frequently references characters and events from the two books previously published in the Leatherstocking Tales as well as the two which Cooper wouldn't write for more than ten years. Continuity with The Last of the Mohicans is indicated by the appearance of the grandson of Duncan and Alice Heyward, as well as the noble Pawnee chief Hard Heart, whose name is English for the French nickname for the Delaware, le Coeur-dur.
James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper was an American writer of the first half of the 19th century. His historical romances depicting frontier and Native American life from the 17th to the 19th centuries created a un...More about James Fenimore Cooper
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