329--Week 3 Questions/Comments

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1 Movie as secondary source about the past (What did it get right? What did it get wrong?)

1a Right:

A common theme that is definitely true in real history (mentioned in lecture as well as World Turned Upside Down/Calloway article) as well as its portrayal in Last of the Mohicans, is that Native Americans gained little from interactions with Europeans, and they lost everything (their land, their race, their culture, their lives). Hence, the last of the Mohicans. In that respect this film did a good job of demonstrating (if even to the slightest degree) the plight of the Indian race due to European involvement. -Elle Weaver

Cora had to ask Nathaniel why the murdered family was isolated, to which he responded that after 7 years of indentured servitude in VA, these people needed to go somewhere farther away to get any land. That seems right that she, the daughter of a general, raised in London, would not be fully aware of the causes for some threats the settlers faced, of some of the less obvious issues that helped make the war what it was. -Whitney Holcomb

I can see why the Mohicans didn't want to bury the family that they came across while they were running. It makes sense that if they were to move them others would know that someone had been there. Was it common for the Native Americans to try to cover their tracks? -- Kellye Sorber

Last of the Mohicans does a good job at depicting the past as many examples arise in the movie, such as the costumes that are accurately portrayed, as well as the battle scenes (Indian guerilla warfare vs. the organized European style), along with the Indian and European interactions. It was interesting to note that the movie shows the notion that Indians absorbed certain European ethics; For example, as the Indian reported to his chief with the women prisoners, he also ambitiously expressed his concerns about seizing and controlling other Indian territories while capitalizing on trade with the French. His plans of takeover sound parallel the plan of the English.

Indians probably viewed themselves differently after interacting with Europeans over a period of time, as Europeans have probably viewed themselves differently after interacting with the Indians. The movie also does a good job at portraying how a European might have turned out if raised by Indians, and to a lesser extent, the movie slightly portrays what aspects may have attracted Europeans to the lifestyle of Indians, or in some cases, what may have repelled Europeans from wanting to live like some Indians. Daniel Day seemed to have enjoyed living the Indian lifestyle, showing no desire to return to European ways, while on the other hand the little girl would rather have jumped off a cliff than have continued her journey with what she may have thought to be brutal savages. Overall good movie and historically accurate. James D.

It was also obvious in the movie how easily the Native Americans could play the settlers off of each other. It was effortless, or so it seemed to us, for Magua to act as a scout for the British, but secretly support the French because of what he would get out of that relationship. That was something we definitely studied and I thought the movie did a decent job representing that. -Kelly Wuyscik

I think the backdrop of the movie was actually fairly historically accurate. It captured British superiority towards the colonists and the beginnings of the tensions that would lead to the Revolution. Also, the British did surrender to the French at Fort William Henry and they were attacked by the Indians as they left the area. Of course, the attack had more to do with the Natives wanting their promised war spoils rather than one vengeful leader, but the movie did show that the Indians started retracting their alliances with the French following the fort’s surrender. --Taylor Brann

'Right' in this case is totally different in regard to the original book or to history. While looking through some of the chapters of the book, I was actually shocked to know that they called Hawkeye 'The Long Rifle.' I can't lie, I thought that was totally 1990s Native American sexual innuendo. -- Amanda Russell

The European mindset that they held the right to control the country and live on and dominate the land as they saw fit seemed pretty accurate to me, not to be too harsh. --Mallory C.

The mindset that the land was for the taking (by England). The movie also managed the 'superiority complex' of the British army towards the colonist militia. The costuming and makeup departments seem to have been able to get the 'look' of the Mohican as compared to the picture shown to us in class on Tuesday. --Ashley Wilkins

A far as the historical accuracy of the films is concerned, I was pleased to read in the articles that Indian adoptions of colonists were actually practiced. This at least means the basis of Nathaniel as adopted is sound. – Wesley Weeks

To me, the way the movie portrayed the Europeans and the Native Americans fighting was accurate. They showed the Europeans fighting in neat, organized rows, with an officer telling them when to shoot, while the Native Americans were shown fighting all over, and without someone to tell them when and where to shoot. ~Katherine Stinson~

To piggy back on what Katherine mentioned, I too agreed that the movie appeared to depict the manner in which the different groups fought rather well. As was mentioned in the lecture, the Native Americans adapted the technologies to their own liking. Thus they used rifles when applicable, but did not abandon their tomahawks or war clubs. Also it was accurate in the way in which the colonists were not treated well by the British regulars and it did well (though maybe a bit heavy-handed) to illustrate this tension. A last detail that the movie seemed to get right was the way in which both the French and the British used the various tribes with little regard for the Native Americans' interests. Mohicans are decimated and the Huron (and Magua) are left to act at the whim of the French. Though the tribes may have been allied with a European power the movie shows that in the end they were to be left out of the spoils of victory. -Bryan Mull

There were a few things that rang true to me throughout the movie. The mention that the tribes eventually played off each other and the warring Europeans was reinforced very well throughout the movie. Magua's evil cunning was evidenced in all it's brutal glory(?) as he literally hacked and slashed through anyone that opposed him, paying no mind to who he betrays in the process. The French-British and British-American hostilities also seemed very accurate to me. While Manifest Destiny would soon destroy much of the pre-existing diplomacy between the Americans and Indians, for now both sides fully understood that they had to be united to stave off any hostilities forced on them by the other Europeans. Finally, as Mallory said above, the European imperialism struck me as unfortunately accurate as well. As the intro text explained, it was a battle for control of the nation. -Cash Nelson

This is kind of on the border between right and wrong, but when Hawkeye was walking toward the Sachem and was being "attacked" by the Huron, I think that was a sort of running the gauntlet. Although it was a bit more brutal than the one Susanna Johnson described, I could imagine they could possibly do something along those lines. --Shauser 20:36, 10 September 2008 (MDT)

Most of the inaccuracies from this movie seem to come not from the actual facts themselves, but from the way the movie singles out certain aspects while leaving other aspects out. For instance it was true that militias had very unhappy men and in many cases were willing to desert. The movie, however seems to glorify these men by only showing this one aspect of the colonial family man just wanting to go home. This movie does incorporate several aspects that are true, but it conveniently leaves other facts out resulting in a false impression of what is actually going on. - Jonathan Bell

I thought the movie was incredibly accurate in overall use of little historical details mixed in. The French success in forming Indian alliances through gift-giving was reflected in the earliest scene with Le Marquis, the movie made very clear how the Huron were hurt by the terms of surrender at Ft. William Henry, the Mohawk were shown to be the most cooperative nation of Iroquois with the British during the rally on the farm at the beginning of the movie, and so on... - JT Newcomb

I think this movie is also a "success" in its historical accuracy overall. I mean, I think we can all see what is there primarily for cinematic effect. But, for as complicated as inter-tribe relations and Native American-Euro relations were by the mid 18th century, I think "Mohicans" did a commendable job at portraying these relationships, allegiances, and consequences well. Details of costuming and battle styles were pretty much spot on (except, as many have pointed out, in terms of Hawkeye's 100% target accuracy). The attitudes of frontiersmen were portrayed (if not a little too obviously) accurately as well. My only question... How did a Scotsmen become a high ranking officer in the British army? I know Col. Munro was a historical figure, but I really would not expect that from the highly tyrannical and prejudice British at this time. Granted, maybe the Americas were a different story because I know of French rel. refugee who became a governor of Massachusetts ... but I am still curious. --A. Jackie Reed

1b Inaccurate/issues:

Question- I know it was not all that uncommon for a Native American tribe to adopt “white sons” like Hawkeye or Nathaniel, but how common was it for Native Americans to date or marry inter racially. In this case the Mohicans had no women left and therefore had no other option, but I wondered if it was likely that Native Americans and white women would really get together. - Elle Weaver

Question- How rebellious were the settlers at this point toward the British crown rule? I felt that in the struggle between the British crown and the settlers, the mention of tyranny may have been a bit premature (at least to my knowledge on the topic), but I did like that there was a pre-revolution sense of injustice among the settlers. Was this premature or accurate for the time? - Elle Weaver

Remember that the British officers were condescending toward the colonial militia. It's not just the militiamen talking about the British tyranny that indicates the struggle. First, when Duncan (Phelps?)tells Munro that the militiamen negotiated terms of service in the war, Munro responds something to the effect that that was just like them--the colonials think they can set their own terms. And then, when Nathaniel is trying to tell Munro that the militiamen's families are either threatened or being killed, and they should be allowed to go back to defend, Munro says that they can't go (they'd be shot if they did), because, essentially, that the threatened families are trivial in comparison to the army's objectives. He obviously sees himself/the army/the British in general as superior to them, and couldn't care less about these men's families. This attitude is easy to recognize, and caps off the injustice. But I think at that point the settlers wanted fair treatment and mainly hoped or believed that relations could still be mended with the mother country. -Whitney Holcomb

Question: is it at all a stretch that an angry Huron (Magwa) who wants revenge would want to cut out the heart of his enemy and burn his seed alive? -Whitney Holcomb

I was wondering the same thing that Elle was about adopting white sons. From what I remember learning in the past I don't remember this. What would make a tribe adopt members of the white race? What would make a white settler want to leave other colonists and join the Native Americans? -- Kellye Sorber

One issue I have with the movie is the accents. I mean, what was going on with the different accents scattered throughout? Because based on Munro's accent, he definitely did not raise his daughters and the colonists just seemed to be a bit off as well. Was the "American accent" emerging this early? -Kelly Wuyscik

Question- This may come across, unintentionally, as ignorant but were the Huron unusually violent? The reading First Peoples explains that war parties came prepared with clothing and moccasins when abducting their captives which seems somewhat thoughtful. I know this doesn't describe every war party, especially Magua's tribe because we learn that he is going after Col. Munro in order to avenge his family's death, but it was just something I kept in mind while watching The Last of the Mohicans since in the movie the Huron kill the settlers and pillage their homes. However, I chalked this up to being an example of the film's historical inaccuracy. Again, this doesn't pertain to all tribes but in the movie the women are called "dogs" and "slaves" were as in the reading First Peoples it is said that women and children were treated well because they were being adopted into the community. These two examples prove that the director's main objective was to create an intriguing story. In my opinon, the movie was a little too concerned with the romantic aspect of history (i.e. good vs. evil), similar to Pocahontas, rather than being a sound example of historical facts. --Mallory C.

The Minavavan reading focused on how the Algonkians had not accepted the English as the replacements for the French. Minavavan makes the distinction that just because the French might be out of the power struggle, the Algonkians were by no means going to cede their land and culture passively. "Englishmen, although you have conquered the French, you have not yet conquered us! We are not your slaves." In the final sentences of Minavavan's speech he insinuates a leeriness of the English, but acknowledges no aggression on their part- offering a peace pipe. Sadly, I think the movie took too much creative license and distorted the actual sentiments of the Native Americans (from what I can gather from this particular reading). In the movie the French and English made an agreement that the English would move on from the fort, but on their journey the English were ambushed by a band of native attackers. I think it is safe to say that the American Indians who had fought alongside the French would be upset with a changing of the guard, but I do not get the sense that they were willing to continue fighting independently. - Jason Ward

Question: We're guns already that accurate, in low light, at that point? --Ashley Wilkins

In response to Ashley's question - that is a big giant no. I remember discussing the muskets used during this period in Dr. Hudgin's American Revolution class. At this period of time, a man was considered a good marksman if he could hit a barn door from 100 yards. When the weapons of this time period would fire, the bullet would shoot out of the barrel in a zig-zagging pattern, making it almost impossible to aim effectively. This means that Hawkeye's heroic shooting of the ambushing Hurons as they tried to take out the messenger is just Hollywood's creation of a good cinematic moment. ~Juliann Boyles

"The Abenakis Defy The English": “When the United States held treaties with Indian Tribes in the nineteenth century, American Commissioners often dictated their terms and spoke down to Indian delegates with the arrogance of power. In colonial times the power balance was much more equal and Indian speakers often “gave as good as they got” in their negotiations with Europeans.” I believe this movie is still portraying the Native- Euro relationship through the lens of the nineteenth century, as opposed to the relationship of the 17th and 18th centuries as conveyed in our primary source documents. At the end of the film when Hawkeye and his compatriots were going to rescue the Daughters Munro and Duncan the entire negotiation process was dominated by the romantic/ Anglo demands. The Sachem said that Cora was going to be put to death, but then Hawkeye and Duncan plead to get her off the hook. With seemingly no defense of his position, the sachem changes his mind. Firstly, the reading, “A captive with the Abenakis” makes it seem as though death would not be the course of action taken against a captive, especially a woman. Secondly, I find it suspect that a Sachem would be so easily swayed in decision making.- Jason Ward

Question: Is this how we are now supposed to identify our "question" posts? I thought a simple question mark was a sufficient indicator. haha. - Jason Ward

Answer: In response to Jason's question, in terms of format it appears we are just sheep. There is no official format, but amusing how it continues to be adopted ~Juliann Boyles

Question: Was the tribe fighting along the French in this film Patrilinial? Many times the Chief seemed to be obsessed with wiping out Munro's seed. Or did he just understand that the English were Patrilinial and therefore wanted to make his contempt for Munro clear?- Jason Ward

Watching the film it struck me how insistent Magua was about “wiping out the seed of the grey-haired man.” It seemed unbelievable and if the Huron were matrilineal, it wouldn’t even make sense. – Wesley Weeks

I also liked how the movie portrayed the colonists as already at the time of the French and Indian War as having a national identity as basically Americans. – Wesley Weeks

Based on the film it seemed that the Native Americans mostly used guns at this point in time. This doesn't seem accurate; the film makes it seem like the Native Americans just dropped their native weapons and knew exactly how to shoot a gun within a few days. --Ashley Scutari

The movie seemed a bit off on any Native American sense of inevitability over colonist expansion over the continent, as we discussed in Tuesday's lecture. The Huron Sachem alluded to his tribe's fears of white's advancement, but Chingachgook's speech just before the closing credits about how the land will change and everything in the future will belong to white men was incredibly heavy-handed. - JT Newcomb

One thing Dr. M told us to pay attention to was the dualist theme James Fenimore Cooper originally placed in his adventure tales. A question arose when Alice (the other girl who is always with Cora) killed herself after the death of Uncas. I wondered if the British really shared the same view of dying in honor as the Native Americans. Alice dying in the same manner as Uncas seems like a very ritualistic, Native American style. Was this scene implemented for dramatic effect or was the British-Mohican alliance that profound? - David Flores

In response to David's comment, this dramatic moment made little sense to me. Although a flirtation had developed between Alice and Uncas throughout the course of the movie, there was no real development. Once the sachem decided to spare the life of Alice and give her to Magua, Magua had become her master, and Alice part of the tribe. This meant that Magua would not consider raping her or inflicting harm. Once Alice jumped off the cliff, Magua didn't seem to quite understand why she would do such a thing. He even extended a hand out to her, to bring her back to the tribe once Uncas had been killed - but she of course chose to end her life, joining the fate of her doomed "lover" in dramatic Hollywood fashion. ~Juliann Boyles

2 Film's relationship to scholarship/primary sources from the time

Kellye asked why the Indians would adopt white settlers. Calloway says on page 169 of "A Captive with the Abenakis," the reason for the tribes to adopt white people was to replace those that had died, to balance out the population levels. The sachem of the Huron in which Magua belonged to in the movie seemed to adopt Alice into the tribe when he made her Magua's wife to replace Magua's dead children and to continue the Munro blood. -Lauren

To comment on Elle’s question of “how common was it for Native Americans to date or marry inter racially,” I don’t think it was rare, for instance, on page 177 of “A Captive with the Abenakis,” Susanna Willard mentions that her second master Gill married a woman of “true Indian blood.” Though Gill was well adopted into the Indian culture, he still had an interracial marriage. I think the issue is whether there were many intercultural marriages between captive whites and non-captive whites like the movie. -Lauren

In Last of the Mohicans there is a definite good vs. evil battle going on. There are good and bad Indians, the good being the 3 Mohicans who save everyone on countless occasions (who are also conveniently more civilized seeming and dressing) and the bad being the Hurons – especially Magwa. There are also clearly defined lines between colonial settlers and the British military. The military breaks its promises and uses the colonists for its own purposes, neglecting their rights to defend their families etc. They are of course not as bad as the French who work with the bad Indians who ambush the British. In short, there are any levels of good and evil but they are clearly defined. This could be an appropriate source to describe how settlers would feel about this conflict. - Elle Weaver

Going off of Elle's comment about "Good vs. Bad," you could definitely see a bit of bias throughout the movie. Magwa and the Huron's were the "bad guys" in the film definitely indicating strong anti-French sentiments throughout. It's clear that, if this were based explicitly on Cooper's novel, that it is definitely from the point of view of the British. It just emphasizes that this war was fought on multiple levels and it shows how often the Native Americans were "trapped" into picking sides. -Kelly Wuyscik

I think that the movie had good insight as to how the settlers felt about fighting a British/French war. Where it was obvious that some showed a loyalty to Great Britain it was clear that most truly didn't think of themselves as under British rule. Many clearly didn't want to fight but preferred to be with those on the frontier. -- Kellye Sorber

This is more of a question about the Onandogas and Cayugas reading, but I noticed that they used the word "Sachem" frequently and even to describe some of the colonists. I know sachems were like chieftans, so was this a term of respect in regards to the colonists as well? -Kelly Wuyscik

Kelly, I interpret the usage of sachem by the Indians for the European authority figures as a sign of respect, but also their interpretation of what the equivalent position of the colonists. The Indians, from my understanding by the reading, didn't have the hierarchy in the same way the Europeans did. Through interpretation,a word like general equaled sachem because there was no word for general in their language. -Lauren

I know Hawkeye’s past isn’t completely far-fetched, one of the readings even mentioned a fellow who had been captured by Indians as a boy and spent several years with them, but I wonder how common it was. How often did Natives accept white kids as their own? --Taylor Brann

The Captivity Narrative is a really great source to contrast with not just this movie, but any movie about Native American/white interactions at the time. The Natives sound to be about as nice as they could be, given the situation. While Susanna Johnson is quite whiny and put-upon, I don't think the Natives were attempting to torture her. It was just a cultural difference, since English women were too dainty for forest travel (though giving birth in the woods is impressive). Interestingly, the main woman in the movie was quite a trooper (too much so?), especially when contrasted with this source. --Amanda Russell

Question: Did they actually battle at night like that? (Like around 37 minutes into the film) --Ashley Wilkins

I think the film does show how seeds were laid in this war for the later American Revolution. --Ashley Wilkins

Comparing the film to the Captivity Narrative, the film showed mostly that Indians would torture their captives and burn them at stakes for sacrifices. In the Captivity Narrative, it states that many of the tribes before the war would take you captive and adopt you into their families or replace a deceased relatives with you. How common was this? --Ashley Scutari

The way the Indians treated prisoners in the reading seemed to ring in common with the movie except for one aspect it does not seem likely that the Indians would have though of burning the girl instead of the man in relation to the readings because they tended to treat women kindly. If they had a British officer it would be more likely they would ransom him rather than just let him go or kill him. When Mogwa took the women prisoner it did not seem he had any ill will towards her and seemed to treat her fairly well. - Jonathan Bell

One thing that bothered me throughout the movie was Duncan. How could he openly lie to Munroe about the deal made with the colonists about being allowed to go back to the frontier if their homes were attacked? This was a decision made by his superior officer and then he openly defied it when he lied to Munroe. Were such dynamics between British officers common? Of course, in grand Hollywood fashion, all of Duncan's trespasses are forgiven when he surrenders himself to the Huron's need for vengeance to save Alice. Another point - would Native American tribes, like the Huron, ever choose to burn a British officer when they could instead ransom him? - Juliann Boyles

3 Movie as primary source about makers/time/setting/genre

This movie definitely represents the time in which it was made. First of all, the early to mid 1990s seemed to be a good time to make movies about Native Americans (Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves, Geronimo, and probably more). One reason could be that, in 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act was passed, as was the Native American Languages Act. While these weren't really spectacularly progressive, our gov't was at least showing a recognition of their rights. It seemed to be something of a turning point in the way we looked at Native Americans (or perhaps it made us look at them in the first place). --Amanda Russell

I think this movie represents classic American culture. That sense that we emerged from a nation of frontiersmen who had to fight for everything they wanted with their women right beside them. There's Hawkeye who lives with the Indians and can shoot anything no matter how far away and right beside him is Cora who when the battle gets rough pulls out a gun and kills an Indian to save herself and her sister. However, her noticeably weaker sister doesn't survive in the end. - Christine W.

I agree with Christine that the movie in many ways played into the traditional ideas of our frontier spirit in America, especially with the blonde frontiersman who appears to lead the militia. The movie also played into the idea of the noble savage in many ways. Hawkeye, though brought up by Native Americans, is of Anglo descent and served as a way for whites to envision themselves as Indians. But the true Indians in the movie, especially Magua and the Huron, embody the view of the natives as savages for their underhanded and brutal tactics in battle. Even the "good" Indians fall into the traditional "noble savage" paradigm as they rarely speak in the movie, only really at the end do you get an idea of what the Father is thinking. Ultimately this movie would fit right into the noble savage canon. -Bryan Mull

Last of the Mohicans is a good representation of how people in the 1990s liked their movies: epics with a historical setting, graphic violence, and a love story. Braveheart, Dances With Wolves, even Titanic. In Cooper's novel, Hawkeye saves Col. Munro from Magua; in the film we get to see our main antagonist cut out the colonel's heart. Also in the book, Alice and Duncan live happily ever after, and Cora's relationship with Hawkeye is nonexistent. The sweeping, tragic ending of the 1992 adaptation was more palatable to modern audiences. - Sarah Richardson

I see Last of the Mohicans as a film made for the baby boom generation. Most of who would be in their late 30s/mid 40s at this point. Films like this feature, as McClurken put it, the archetypal American hero that baby boomers grew up worshipping. I liken Hawkeye to the Lone Ranger. --Shauser 20:52, 10 September 2008 (MDT)

I definitely see Dr. McClurken's comparison to Mad Max. Daniel Day Lewis might as well have been making those miraculously accurate shots with two muskets in his hands on a motorcycle trapped in the Thunder Dome! The film was period-but the action scenes were for modern day viewers. We are still doing it. 300 (one of my all time favorite historically based action films) is an amazingly great film adaptation of a graphic novel for one, and two, it does a commendable job at portraying Spartan life socially, militarily, and legendarily. However, the cinematography and action sequences are meant to be more than simply accurate. Even if, like in the case of "Mohicans", scalping is appropriately gruesome entertainment, the action needs to be cut and edited just so, in order to appeal to modern day audiences. Even in 1927, Howard Hughes knew it when filming his war epic "Hell's Angels". You can't just show the feats of war and battle, you have to make it so grandiose that the viewer is there in the sense of their fear and adrenaline. I was disappointed in this aspect of the film. For an acclaimed method actor, Daniel Day Lewis sounded way to much like a 20th century, highly moral tough guy with a heart of gold but a chip on his shoulder, not a white guy raised by native Americans in the 18th century. --A. Jackie Reed

4 Public reaction/impact

5 Overall

I have to point this out - near the end please notice that there is an extremely fake rock that Nathaniel (AKA DDL) pushes off of in his hurry to stop his brother from attacking Magwa and company. It shakes but Daniel Day Lewis pays no mind - he can make rocks shake like that.

Overall, now I'm not sure if this is applicable to the discussion or not, but in my opinion this is the type of movie that causes people to stop watching historical films. Yes, there were a lot of good things about it when it came to accuracy, but it was just so dull throughout. Now, "Pocahontas" may have been one of the least accurate movies ever created, but it had a more interesting (and I use that word loosely) storyline. Do we think that there is a way to balance the two out? Is it possible to have a historical movie that is both relatively accurate and entertaining? I understand that it may also be too early in the semester to judge since we're only on our second movie, but I suppose it is something to think about. (Now, I could be alone in my critique of the movie because I had heard excellent reviews about it but I'm sorry, I don't think you could get me to sit and watch it again.) -Kelly Wuyscik

I would like to begin by saying that I love the music in this movie. However, it does not cancel out the way I feel about the rest of the movie. I agree with Kelly in that I don't think I could watch it another time. Clips and pieces of the movie were interesting but overall I found it somewhat dry and boring. I wish the fight scene at the end was a little more dramatic and detailed but instead it just went by quickly. I guess that is up to the discretion of the director. The movie has it's moments but at times I found myself wanting the movie to hurry up to the next scene. -- Mallory C.

I have to agree with everyone so far. This movie was boring as sin, completely not what I expected. I had always heard people talk about it so well, like a classic! While it was pretty and the music was nice, it was dull (even the battles), graphic, and once again, almost everyone in the movie is fluent in at least 2-3 languages. The "love story" is ridiculously bad, much like John Smith/Pocahontas. Perhaps people did have lower standards back then, and didn't take as much time to get to know each other, but this true love in only 24 hours phenom just makes movies seem more unrealistic. Besides, the good Indian v. bad Indian seemed a little heavy-handed. If we were to have a movie where a "savage" had killed the English governor's daughter and wife and entire town, it would be a portrayal of a white guy seeking justice, NOT being an evil murderer. -- Amanda Russell

Just have to put this in here - I liked this movie. In fact enough people seemed to like this movie enough to grant it re-run space on TNT. Certainly there was no "Color of the Wind" moments, but there is something just beautiful about Daniel Day Lewis running through the forest with a half torn shirt. ~Juliann Boyles

Usually, there has to be a willing suspension of disbelief for movies, but I still couldn’t help but wonder what the chances were that the main characters would be the only ones to escape in both attacks. In this case, the expendable red shirts were literally wearing red shirts! Seriously though, what happened to the men in the canoe with Duncan during the massacre? I didn’t see them hiding out below the waterfall later on… --Taylor Brann

All in all, it could have been a good movie, but for one thing-- the contrived romance. It sorta of ruined the viewing pleasure for me, though it was pretty funny sometimes. After all, we had such gems as this exchange:

       Hawkeye stares at Cora.
       Cora: What are you looking at?
       *long pause*
       Hawkeye: I’m looking at you.
       *even longer pause*
       Cora stares at Hawkeye.
       Hawkeye stares at Cora.
       Cora stares at Hawkeye.
       Hawkeye stares at Cora.
       Cora smiles at Hawkeye.
       Hawkeye smiles at Cora.

Yeah, that’s some great writing there. Really. --Taylor Brann

Haha, that's funny.--Mallory C.

I remember that I purchased this movie many years ago, however I never tried to look at it in any sort of historical aspect, so I viewed it from a different light this time. I also hadn't watched the movie in quite a while, so I had forgotten quite a bit of it. Although something that I do find annoying in almost all films, the women can go through hell and back and only their hair is a little messed up but their make up still looks perfect. Stupid films and trying to say that women need to be skinny with big chests with perfect hair and faces... -- Ashley Wilkins

Okay- some definitely poor writing here and there for sure... and Duncan all of a sudden becoming conveniently noble... and some hokey romantic moments where Cora's like (paraphrased) "Wow, I really misjudged you" and Nathaniel Po is like "Yeah, so what?" and Cora, "You're pretty deep aren't you?" and then they make-out. But really I don't blame them. What producer would okay the killing-off of the incredibly sexy Madeline Stowe? She is a super strong character without ever getting nearly as cheesey as Daniel Day's character. She didn't need to redeem herself by dying tragically, as we often require in a film like this (ergo the death of her pretty but much frailer sister). Any big box-office movie that is going to be violently graphic, therefore limiting the age of its audience, needs to attract as many viewers as possible, which means include plenty of sex appeal. We all know this.--A. Jackie Reed

Question: Did Native Americans pose as a different tribe during the war like Magua did? --Ashley Wilkins

Question: Because this movie was a book first and the movie is based on the book and subsequent movies should we be judging it for its historical accuracy or how well it followed the book? - Christine W.

Even though the book has a historical setting it is fiction and unlike Pocahontas is not based on anything specific so can we hold it to the same standards? - Christine W.

To answer Christine's question, I don't think this movie should be held to the same standards as movie such as Pocahontas since it is not based on one specific event. And, as we discussed in class James Fenimore Cooper had never met a Native American before, and what he knew of them came from other people, so it's understandable that he might have a skewed impression of Native Americans in his books. ~Katherine Stinson~

I definitely have to agree with Amanda's point that all of the major Native American characters in the film are perfectly good or completely bad. In fact, the only morally ambiguous characters in the entire film are Duncan and Col. Munro! The Cora/Hawkeye love story, undoubtedly added to attract viewers, sometimes seems like comic relief. Although I like the film, I recognize that it has numerous flaws. Someone should have told the costume department that Daniel Day Lewis looked like he came straight off the cover of a romance novel, and not just in his shirtless scene. - Sarah Richardson

The character of Mogwa was very interesting to me when I watched this movie. The movie portrays him as a monstrous savage and a villian, but if you actually pay attention to what he says about what happened to him how could one not feel just a little bit sympathetic for him. He obviously had some serious justifications for his rage although the movie focuses so much on his violence that he can be portrayed as just another bad guy. What really ends up striking me with this movie is how certain groups of people are glorified and others are condemned. -Jonathan Bell

Once again I find the dialog a little stereotypical. Why does Col. Munro have a strong accent and his daughter do not. Why does Mogwa speak in third person?--- Matt DeMarr

On those points of the dialogue, I disagree with you Matt. Col. Munro is a Scotsman with a heavy accent, while his daughters have clearly been portrayed to have been raised in the colonies so would not have the same accent. And I believe other Native Americans are portrayed to sometimes speak in third person. Although from the readings, it is clear that many native americans from various tribes who knew English were able to use proper subject tense, so maybe your right? I am not sure it is entirely inaccurate though. --A. Jackie Reed

I thought that the fighting tactics to be pretty accurate. The English really weren't ready for that kind of fighting.--- Matt DeMarr