Last of the Mohicans, The

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The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

The Last of the Mohicans is the 1992 historical war drama based on the classic James Fenimore Cooper novel of the same name and a 1936 feature film adaptation. Directed by Michael Mann, this historical epic tells the story of Nathaniel "Hawkeye" Poe, the adopted son of Huron Indians, who is caught in the conflict between the French and the British in North America during the French and Indian War of 1757.

The character of "Nathaniel Poe" was not named as such in the original book, and is a modern construct from the original character of "Natty Bumppo", whose name did not seem so strange to the audiences of the author's time. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Poe, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig, Johdi May, Steven Waddington, and Wes Studi.


The following weapons were used in the film The Last of the Mohicans:

Contents



Pennsylvania Flintlock Rifle

The rifle used by Nathaniel "Hawkeye" Poe (Daniel Day-Lewis) is the Pennsylvania Flintlock Rifle. The long rifle was developed from the German Jaeger Rifle which eventually evolved into the Pennsylvania rifle by lengthening the barrel, slimming the stock and downsizing the caliber (the original Jaegers were designed to hunt boars and were .62 caliber!).

Pennsylvania Rifle - .40 caliber.
Nathaniel "Hawkeye" Poe (Daniel Day-Lewis) aims the Flintlock during the hunt that opens the film.
Nathaniel gets ready to fire his Flintlock.

Brown Bess Flintlock Musket

The Brown Bess appears as the standard flintlock musket of the British army as well as the French. Always seen with a bayonet. The Huron and the Mohicans use them as well, most notably Magua (Wes Studi). The French army would have actually been armed with Charleville muskets, made in France. The French soldiers in the movie may have used Brown Besses, but they did not do so during the Seven Years War (F & I War, in the Americas).

Brown Bess Infantry musket from 1722-1768 - .75 caliber.
British troops readying their firing line during the ambush.
On the far right, Nathaniel uses the Brown Bess Musket and Uncas (Eric Schweig) uses a trade musket (as evidenced by the straight butt plate not a curved butt plate) to provide cover fire for a runner.

"Trade" Muskets

Other flintlock muskets featured in the film were firearms known as "Trade Guns", a lesser quality flintlock that had fewer parts and less craftsmanship, developed specifically for trade with the Indians (i.e. they let the 'locals' get the more cheaply made muskets). They were issued to the Colonists volunteers to represent 'private purchase' weapons of the civilians. The Trade muskets were issued to Indians allied to the British Army as they were the 18th century equivalent of 'lend lease' to friendly Indian tribes. The muskets seen below were used in the production and were real firing muskets (modern replicas) of civilian muskets. In addition, rubber versions were used by extras and stuntmen for the many battle scenes requiring the weapons to be swung at each other. According to MPM2008 (who graciously provided these images), over 400 Brown Bess muskets were destroyed during the production. Chingachgook (Russell Means) and Uncas (Eric Schweig) both carry these muskets in the film.

Last of the Mohicans background long gun. Actually a slightly anachronistic Pennsylvania Rifle variant which was used during the American Revolution a few decades later, but was not seen during the French Indian war.
Last of the Mohicans background screen musket
In the center, Chingachgook (Russell Means) carries the "Trade" Musket.
Trade Musket seen wielded by a civilian colonial volunteer (Note that his ram rod is not fully seated underneath the barrel.)
Trade Musket seen wielded by a civilian colonial volunteer
Nathaniel uses the Brown Bess Musket and Uncas (Eric Schweig) uses a trade musket (as evidenced by the straight butt plate not a curved butt plate) to provide cover fire for a runner.
Magua (Wes Studi) raises his trade musket to fire.
LOTM 103.jpg
LOTM 105.jpg

Flintlock Pistol

All of the British officers, most notably Maj. Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington), use Flintlock Pistols as their sidearm. Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe) takes a Flintlock pistol from an officer when they are attacked and later uses it to defend herself against the Huron.

Sparrow Flintlock.
Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe) takes down an enemy with the Flintlock pistol.

Flintlock Grenade Launcher

A British soldier led by Maj. Heyward, is shown firing what appears to be a flintlock Grenade Launcher. These launchers were usually a Brown Bess Muskets with attachments which were cup shaped to fire grenades. He is seen firing the weapon into the air using it like a mortar.

The soldier holds the Flintlock Grenade Launcher standing to the left of Maj. Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington).


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