The book is an adventure story set at the time of the Franco-British war in North America in 1757. Two girls, Cora and Alice, daughters of a British Colonel Munro, are being escorted through the woods to see their father by a Huron Indian called Magua, and Duncan Heyward, a British Major. Fortunately, they meet Hawkeye, a white man, who is a friend of the last surviving Mohican Indians, Chingachgook and Uncas. He realizes that Magua is a traitor, and in league with the French, and rescues the girls and Magua runs away. The three men lead Cora, Alice and Major Heyward towards Fort William Henry. They are pursued by Magua. The Hurons capture the Major and the girls and take them to their camp. Magua has planned to take Cora as his wife for revenge on Colonel Munro who had been cruel to him in former times. Hawkeye, Uncas and Chingachgook rescue the girls and Major Heyward and escort them safely to the Fort. There follows a series of fights and daring escapes until the final showdown on top of a cliff. Magua tries to carry Cora off with him. Uncas, who is in love with Cora, tries to stop him and is killed. Cora is also killed and Magua, in making his escape, falls off the cliff and dies.