Natty Bumppo

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Natty Bumppo
Leatherstocking Tales character
First appearance The Pioneers
Last appearance The Deerslayer
Created by James Fenimore Cooper
Aliases Nathaniel Bumppo, Hawkeye among many others
Gender Male
Occupation Scout, huntsman, explorer
Children Jess Bumppo
Nationality Delaware (by upbringing), British Colonial American (in white society until US independence), American (from US independence to 1804)

Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo is the protagonist of James Fenimore Cooper's pentalogy of novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales.

Fictional biography[edit]

Natty Bumppo, the child of white parents, grew up among Delaware Indians and was educated by Moravian Christians.[1][2] In adulthood, he is a near-fearless warrior skilled in many weapons; chiefly the long rifle. He is most often shown alongside his Mohican foster-brother Chingachgook.[3]


Bumppo is featured in a series of novels by James Fenimore Cooper collectively called the Leatherstocking Tales. The novels in the collection are as follows:

Title Subtitle
The Deerslayer The First War Path
The Last of the Mohicans A Narrative of 1757
The Pathfinder The Inland Sea
The Pioneers The Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale
The Prairie A Tale

The tales recount significant events in Natty Bumppo's life from 1740 to 1806.[4]


Before his appearance in The Deerslayer, Bumppo went by the aliases of "Straight-Tongue," "The Pigeon," and the "Lap-Ear." After buying his first rifle, he gained the name of "Deerslayer." He is subsequently known as "Hawkeye" and "La Longue Carabine" in The Last of the Mohicans, "Pathfinder" in The Pathfinder, "Leatherstocking" in The Pioneers, from which the collective title for all the novels is drawn, and "the trapper" in The Prairie.


Bumppo has been portrayed most often in adaptions of The Last of the Mohicans. He was portrayed by Harry Lorraine in the 1920 film version, by Harry Carey in the 1932 film serial version, by Randolph Scott in the 1936 film version, by Kenneth Ives in the 1971 BBC serial, by Steve Forrest in the 1977 TV movie and by Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1992 film version. Day-Lewis received a BAFTA Film Award nomination for Best Actor in 1993, won an Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor in 1993, and won an ALFS Award for British Actor of the Year in 1993 for his interepretation of the character. In the 1992 film however the character's name is changed from Natty Bumppo to Nathaniel Poe.

Adaptions of The Deerslayer have seen Bumppo played by Emil Mamelok in the 1920 film The Deerslayer and Chingachgook, by Bruce Kellogg in the 1943 film, by Lex Barker in the 1957 film, and by Steve Forrest in the 1978 TV movie.

Adaptions of The Pathfinder have seen Bumppo played by Paul Massie in the 1973 5-part BBC mini-series and Kevin Dillon in the 1996 TV movie.

Additionally he was portrayed by George Montgomery in the 1950 movie The Iroquois Trail, by John Hart in the 1957 TV series Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans, by Hellmut Lange in the 1969 German TV series Die Lederstrumpferzählungen, by Cliff DeYoung in the 1984 PBS mini-series The Leatherstocking Tales (which compressed The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans and The Pathfinder into four episodes), and by Lee Horsley in the 1994 TV series Hawkeye.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Bumppo appears as a character in John Myers Myers' 1949 novel Silverlock.
  • Thomas King's 1993 novel Green Grass, Running Water satirizes the character of Natty Bumppo by renaming him Nasty Bumppo and having him shoot himself (while he attempts to shoot his friend, Chingachgook).
  • Natty Bumppo is also the name of the author of The Columbus Book Of Euchre and House Of Evil.
  • The character of Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H takes his nickname from the Native American name given to Natty Bumppo. In both TV series and the original novel on which it is based, it is stated that The Last of the Mohicans is the only book Pierce's father had ever read.
  • Bumppo is known as Dan'l "Hawkeye" Bonner in Sara Donati's series, meant as a sequel to The Last of the Mohicans books, beginning with Into The Wilderness. The series centers around Hawkeye and Cora's son, Nathaniel Bonner.
  • Bumppo is featured in the comic book series Jack of Fables, both in name and as "Hawkeye", along with Slue-Foot Sue (Pecos Bill's first wife).
  • Bumppo is referred to in the graphic novel series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as being part of the 18th-century incarnation of the league.
  • Near the end of Mississippi Jack, the fifth in the best-selling Bloody Jack series of female adventures by L.A. Meyer, an adopted white Shawnee called Lightfoot, a rifleman who always travels with his native Shawnee "brother," reveals his white surname to be "Bumpus" in an obvious tribute to Cooper's Natty Bumppo. Thinly veiled or unveiled characters from the history and culture of the time of the novels are a repeating feature of the Bloody Jack book series.
  • Natty Bumppo was the name of several pop music bands in the 1970s, including bands from Dayton, Ohio and central Utah.
  • The Marvel Comics character Hawkeye takes his name from Natty Bumppo, who he portrayed during his time as a carnival marksman before becoming a superhero.
  • The character Gus Brannhard adopts a Fuzzy and names him Natty Bumppo in H. Beam Piper's novel Fuzzies and Other People ISBN 0-441-26176-0
  • The "Hawkeye" is the mascot of the University of Iowa and was taken from The Last of the Mohicans novel.[5]
  • Song of the Mohicans, written by Paul Block in 1995, is a direct sequel to Last of the Mohicans. Taking up the story a few days after Uncas' death and burial, it recounts the adventures of Hawkeye and Chingachgook as they travel north to discover the connection between an Oneida brave and the Mohican tribe and whether a sachem truly holds the key to the ultimate fate of the Mohicans.
  • In 1989, the Soviet Union issued a series of postage stamps on themes of Cooper's The Leatherstocking Tales.
1989 Soviet postage stamp series on The Leatherstocking Tales
  • Natty Bumppo is featured in the Marvel comic Deadpool Killustrated, as part of a group of time travelling heroes (Beowulf, Hua Mulan, Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. Watson), intent on stopping Deadpool from killing all literary characters.
  • Tinker, a major character in Amor Towles novel, "Rules of Civility", wants to be Natty Bumppo for the day.
  • There is an intelligent dog named Natty Bumppo in John Brunner's novel "Shockwave Rider".
  • Natty Bumppo appears as a character in The 8th book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, "Written In My Own Hearts Blood" published June 10, 2014.


  1. ^ The Deerslayer: Critical Essays: Cooper's Indians, The Deerslayer
  2. ^ Natty Bumppo (fictional character), Encyclopædia Britannica online
  3. ^
  4. ^ James Fenimore Cooper Society's online plot summaries of the chronologically first (The Deerslayer)[1] and last (The Prairie)[2] novels, indicating the initial and final years of the Leatherstocking saga.
  5. ^ "University of Iowa Official Athletic Site Traditions". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]