History Buffs: The Last of the Mohicans

History Buffs: The Last of the Mohicans

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[Music] this episode's sponsored by curiosity stream which now comes through with nebula details are in the description box below hello and welcome history buffs my name is nick hodges and we're back again with another classic historical epic after six years of your requests i've decided that the time is now right for me to do an episode on the last of the mohicans based on the book of the same name by classic american author james fenimore cooper this movie takes place on the new
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york frontier in 1757 during the height of the french and indian war where the empires of france and great britain battled for the ultimate prize the north american continent in their titanic struggle both sides used their armies colonists and indigenous peoples to wage war on the other and caught in the middle are our protagonists a british officer duncan hayward safeguarding two sisters alice and cora who are desperately trying to reach their father and safety and the mohican escorts native raised is the colonist trapper hawkeye and his foster father
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chingachook and adopted brother unkus and on their journey surviving the american wilderness a love story develops between hawkeye and korra despite the characters themselves saying that there are breed apart especially in these turbulent times however even though the relationship is a touching romance it is of course fiction my job is to talk about the real history their story is set in in this episode i'll be doing a quick rundown on the french and indian war i'll be covering the siege of force william henry where our characters are trekking to and as always i'll be pointing at the movie's accuracies and
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inaccuracies as we move along you'll find out all this and more in my review for the last of the mohicans for over 200 years the primeval forests of north america had captured the imagination of europeans very few however would ever get to see them for those who couldn't afford the journey would only ever be pictured to them in books or in deep conversations with returning soldiers sailors and settlers they would describe to them a vast wilderness stretching from horizon to horizon of dense ancient woodland accumulated over millennia these forest
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floors were covered with deep slippery leaf mold and entangled brush with rotting deadfall trees barring passage every few yards even the most experienced guides could lose their way the forests were so thick in this time that they could swallow up entire units of soldiers within a short distance of each other without any knowing where the others were and on one morning may the 28th 1754 in western pennsylvania something took place that was very obscure in the grand scheme of things but it would be a catalyst for one of the most seismic events in history out
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of the trees emerged a party a forty virginia militia and their iroquois mingo allies leading them was a 22 year old lieutenant colonel and his name was george washington this part of the frontier was on was contested by the two rival empires of france and great britain his mission was to drive the french out of the region by force of diplomacy and when he got word the 35 french soldiers been spotted nearby washington took his men to establish contact moving into position they surrounded the oblivious french who encamped in a small glen by hidden
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ravine at some point one of the virginians must have made a noise because the startled frenchman immediately scrambled to their guns in a fit of panic washington ordered his men to open fire and for the next 15 minutes both sides exchanged volleys amidst the stench of gunpowder and the crack of muskets the commander of the french party lieutenant joseph de villier was wounded in the skirmish his men returned fire for as long as they could but surrounded on all sides they knew they had to make a run for it but they soon found that their parts of escape were blocked by washington's mingo warriors
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leaving them no choice but to surrender by the time the fighting stopped and smoke cleared nine french soldiers lay dead and 21 taken prisoner a surviving officer then pressed to washington what their true reasons were for being there this is insane joseph coulomb de villiers move he's an envoy he's a letter from his commander i do not speak french now what happened next remains controversial even today under the etiquette of the day or any other including this one it was a grievous crime to attack a foreign envoy
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unprovoked and since joseph villier really was one then that did not bode well for washington as washington tried to make sense of the news his mingo chief ally tanner carrison quietly approached the french commander and then suddenly without warning split his head open with a tomahawk washington later recalled when questioned that he just froze and soon other indians followed the chief's example by looting and scalping the dead and wounded the young virginians first taste of combat would later be condemned by the french as murder and soon the small completely
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avoidable skirmish sparked a chain of events that would lead to a war unlike any other the world had seen its battles and campaigns would take place beyond the forests of north america to the caribbean europe west africa india even the philippines and they would be fought not just by france and great britain but spain portugal saxony austria prussia russia multiple germanic states and sweden winston churchill will later refer to it as truly the first world war today it's known as the seven years war
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but americans still call it by another name the french and indian war and it's in their country where the last of the mohicans takes place but before i go into how accurate the movie is and all the rest of it i want to give you a sense of what was going on at the time before the movie begins by the 1750s the british had long established colonies along north america's eastern seaboard whilst the french laid claim to canada and the american heartland known to posterity as the louisiana territory but the differences between how they ran the colonies would play a decisive role in
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the war to come for example although france's home population was three to four times larger than great britain's she only had about 60 000 settlers in her american colonies when war broke out in 1754 whilst the british accounted for over a million this put france at a significant military and economic disadvantage and the reason for this was based on how the society functioned in the 18th century whereas the british had a constitutional monarchy with unmatched political freedoms the french still had their medieval system largely intact their ever-growing levels of centralized
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authority meant that the french kings of this period were far more powerful than their medieval predecessors it was also the same with the aristocrats who had vast numbers of peasants tied to their lands in the states in france this meant that the nobles along with the clergy had a vested interest in keeping them there they didn't really like the idea of too many people going off and seeking their fortune in distant lands when they really should just be focused on making theirs so this political conservatism and limited investment in her colonies allowed the british to forge ahead and push into territories the french
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explored but failed to exploit comparatively britain allowed for much greater levels of autonomy and free movement over people they were also more flexible with what their colonies did than what france could little things like building bridges roads irrigation projects even establishing a colony like pennsylvania were very much a private enterprise affair in contrast countries that relied far more on the centralized state to do this sort of thing like france weren't nearly as successful so basically when fighting did kick off france had significantly fewer resources
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as well as people to match the british in north america and they couldn't rely on getting reinforcements because the royal navy blocked any significant numbers reaching north america throughout the entire war not to mention this whole other conflict going on in europe which was a higher priority france had a deal with the continental european power on the rise namely frederick the great prussia but what france did have an upper hand in were her indian allies and this was precisely because they allowed only very small numbers of subjects to emigrate to their colonies so they didn't compete with the
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natives but cooperated with them well for the most part anyway and as a result france enjoyed a much more productive relationship with them british policy viewed indians as people who'd had to conform or move west whilst french foreign policy was to befriend them treat them as allies and make them partners through trade so through this franco-indian relationship there was a lot of cross-cultural pollination going on for example there's one scene in the movie where a jesuit priest is conducting a sum with singing indian children you also see some fierce looking warriors later on wearing
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christian crosses but there are also instances of the french adopting indian customs like at the battle monongahela where french officer daniel leonardo bonjour wore indian war paint dress and stripped down to the waist to help inspire his native troops to fight the british regulars who in contrast would never even entertain such an idea the french many of whom had been born in north america having no such qualms were almost by nature far more willing to fight indian style both sides also lavishly equipped their allies with the latest modern guns and edged weapons
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from europe that's why you don't see indians in the movie with bows and arrows so to sum up the military situation in the early years of the war is that although the french were outnumbered by more than 20 to one they drastically improved the odds by adopting indian tactics and much more significantly making allies of large numbers of them this simple fact would make the north american theater one of the most challenging irregular campaigns in british military history and even when the war was over and the french surrendered many indians still continue to fight as one conflict ended in 1763
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another immediately began known as pontiac's war a confederation of tribes launched coordinated assaults on forts and settlements all across the great lakes with such efficiency that alarmed the british and it's covered in great detail in this documentary called chiefs the pontiac rebellion dispatched justin sir the may 16th fort sandusky fell to the indians furons and ottawas i believe none of this the indians are not capable of such operations on may 25 potholders from detroit assaulted fort st joseph and killed or captured all of
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its defenders on may 27 a war party from detroit captured fort miami's any post commanded by a british officer can certainly never be in danger from such a wretched enemy as the indians are if the garrisons do their duty it's worth checking out if you're interested and if you are you could find this documentary and thousands like it on curiosity stream it's a subscription streaming service has nothing on it but documentaries including history and you can watch them all for just 2.99 a month
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but the best part is that fans of history buffs have been offered a special 26 discount off their annual plan that's just 14.79 instead of the full price they have for everyone else and what's more is that with curiosity stream you'll also be getting nebula for free another streaming service has content for many creators including history buffs it's a platform without the restrictions of advertise friendly policies you'd find elsewhere so basically any videos of mine that need to be heavily edited or go missing will have no problem being uploaded to nebula the way they were meant to be seen to
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get started all you have to do is enter the promo code curostream.com forward slash history buffs so when the movie begins it is 1757 and we see three men running through the forest of the new york frontier in the opening text we are told that they're the last ever vanishing people called the mohicans now of course one of the first things you want to know watching this review is was there a moo he can try back then and are they extinct today the answer to that is yes there certainly was and no they're not there's still some around just not in great numbers there are only 1500 of them left sadly and most of them live on a
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reservation in wisconsin but a few hundred years ago their nation encompassed the hudson river valley in new york and the housatonic river in massachusetts it was by the late 1700s when they were removed from these lands by the whites and forced to relocate now the reason why cooper described the mohicans as a dying people is because it's likely that their numbers in the 1820s were significantly smaller than the 1500 today and that in 1757 the mohicans had already become a shadow of their former selves the location of the new york colony may also been a factor in fenimore cooper's inspiration to
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taina's book with a vanishing tribe but in the movie there are just two of them left a father by the name of chingachook and his son ankus the third accompanying them is chingachok's adopted white son called hawkeye and he's the main character his backstory is that his parents were killed in a raid by other indians and he was raised to be a mohican which wasn't unheard of in those days for example there's the story of the french aristocrat jean vicente abbadi bahan de sangastine he was adopted by the abenaki tribe married one of their princesses and became a chief anyway the real life inspiration for hawkeye in the book was a man called
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nathaniel shipman a hunter and trapper around the close of the french and indian war he's the reason why daniel day-lewis's hawkeye is addressed to as nathanael by the whites the real nathaniel shipman was a close friend of several indian tribes and fought on the british side in the french and indian war when the american revolutionary war broke out he didn't join the rebellion because he didn't want to fight his indian friends who remains loyal to the british so as a result his neighbours took exception to this by tarring him and feathering him as a traitor after that he fled to cooperstown in the new york colony was a village developed by
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fenimore cooper's father hence the name and it was here that james finnemore cooper heard about this guy and used him as the inspiration for hawkeye the hero in all five of cooper's series of novels called the leather stocking tales and the second book was the last of the mohicans the movie's version of hawkeye is also depicted to be the perfect frontiersman and when i say perfect i mean the guy comes across as almost superhuman with his father and brother hawkeye is able to stalk and chase deer at full speed for what looks like hours through dense forest he's armed with a
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pennsylvania rifled musket which had won the longest rangers in the world at that time but the only drawback is that they needed constant maintenance required the best quality gunpowder and took even longer to reload than the average smoothborn musket luckily hawkeye is such a badass in this movie that is able to do all these things whilst running and i must stress that i find this little detail extremely hard to believe even daniel day lewis the actor who played hawkeye was skeptical they found the fastest loader of a black powder weapon on the run
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because when i saw that detail in the script i thought well that just is not possible to load a black powder rifle on the run you just can't do that but there is of course somebody who can do it really really well no offense but i want to see how accurate that guy was if he really didn't load it properly i'm talking musket ball and all because doing it on the run with a wooden ramrod over uneven ground with all those tight rifled grooves in the barrel is very finicky and in all my researchers reading and mine we've never heard of a single man doing this in the entire horse and
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muskets period anywhere the amount of training for the specific skill would have been seen as a ridiculous waste of time and energy it's also very dangerous as an overloaded breach can easily blow up in your face the truth is frontiersmen were much more practical than that when we look at their history and the skills they developed as incredible as they were it was simply a matter of survival they would be out in the wilderness for months at a time with a weapon that could fire only once before their target headed off into the forest they needed to be able to confidently prime it load it [ __ ] it and be confident that their gunpowder was
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dry and had the correct amount because at the moment of truth their expertise would determine if they lived or died [Music] later in the movie the three mohicans attend an important meeting where the british are attempting to recruit indians to scouts and colonists into a militia so they can reinforce fort william henry which is being threatened by the french by this stage of the war things were going badly for the british and colonists as they suffered more defeats than victories over the past three years whilst they've been unable to mount any campaigns at all the year before the french had sent a new general
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to take command in new france his name was louis joseph de montcarme and as the british faltered in north america he would go on the offensive on the 12th of august 1756 he attacked the british outpost of fort suego by lake ontario with 3 000 french regulars and militia as well as 250 indians in just one day he captured the fort and took 1590 prisoners and was montcom's victory here that persuaded many of the tribes to throw in their support for the french and it also put the british and colonists on the defensive for the rest
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of 1756 in the following year 1757 which is when the last mohicans is set the british were determined to retake the initiative the el of loudon the commander of the british forces planned for an expedition to seize quebec but before they could do that they first needed to capture the french fortress of louisburg which overlooked the saint lawrence river that ran all the way into the great lakes loudoun sent his best troops on this expedition that was set sail in early august he would leave behind brigadier general daniel webb to take command while he was gone and provided him with 2 000 british soldiers
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to defend the new york frontier it was then up to webb to levy 5 000 militia from the colonies to bolster his numbers and as we could see in the movie this was not always so easily done for your homes for king for country that's why you may not have joined this fight you do what you want with your own scalp do not be telling us what we ought to do with ours you call yourself a patriot and loyal subject to the crown do not call myself subject to much at all i agree with some of what nathaniel and
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john say but i believe england's still our sovereign that's a fight we ought to make but first we gotta get terms from general webb ah yes the terms as much as i love this movie this has to be as dumb as plot point so check this out the colonial militias say to general webb that they won't go to fort william henry unless they guarantee that they can leave if their homes are attacked whenever they feel like it does that mean they will be granted leave to defend their homes if the settlements are attacked of course now the movie makes the brits out to be
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liars for this broken promise later on but honestly i don't think this guy knows what basic sarcasm is the reason why i do find this bit incredibly stupid is apart from the fact that the real guy never agreed to such terms no army in the world would have a policy where their soldiers or militia or even the camp padre could just piss off whenever they feel like it atkinson what would you rather be doing atkinson well to be quite honest sarge i'd rather be at home with the wife and kids
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what you now yes sarge right off you go also in this scene we're introduced to a new character called major duncan heywood a recent arrival to america the stiff upper lipped officers ordered to report to fort william henry under colonel monroe who's already stationed there and bring to him as two daughters cora and alice acting as their guides is an evil suspicious looking indian scout called magwa now just a quick side note before i continue in the same way that the mohican characters are fictional and purely based on the book so as magwa major duncan hayward as well as alice
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and cora their father the commander for william henry on the other hand is based on a real person but they changed his name from colonel george monroe to colonel edmund munro which i'm not gonna lie it's a bit weird i mean they could have just used the actual guy's name but that was how it's written in the book it appears that the only characters named after the real people is montcarm and captain de bogonville even general webb has a different name they changed from daniel webb to jerome webb instead so why am i mentioning this because there's a whole chunk of this movie dedicated to this romantic drama going on between
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cora hayward and later hawkeye but since they're fictional characters please understand if i don't go into detail about their love triangle and just stick with the historical accuracies now i'm sure fans of the book even the movie will no doubt say yes but nick the romantic stuff is what inspired this historical epic in the first place and yes that is true the thing is the first great american novel that is the last the mohicans had his genesis from a historical figure making an off-the-cuff remark on august 13th 1824 james fennimore cooper took a group of english
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aristocrats for a tour of new york state which even then was still heavily forested they ventured to walk under the leave a waterfall and found a large cave there just like the one we see near the end of the movie this was a place called glenn's falls and this is how it looks today one of the englishmen with cooper was edward smith stanley the future three-time elected prime minister of great britain and he commented that would make a wonderful setting for a scene in a romance fennimore cooper took this cue and resolved to do just that and this is why i understand why some people might think the romance should be
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front and center when discussed in the last mohicans because it certainly was for the author so later in the movie heywood and the company of the 60th escort alison cora through the new york frontier their destinations by lake george where their father colonel monroe is waiting for them at fort william henry the front line between britain and france and i must say the wilderness we see here is absolutely breathtaking and very authentic to the period there are only a few locations left to the american eastern seaboard that looks like how it did in the 1700s one of those places are the blue ridge mountains of north
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carolina where they shot the last mohicans and when you look at the scenery you absolutely feel like you've stepped back in time i especially love that little touch where cora spots a mountain lion the foliage although mountain lions are officially declared extinct in new york state today back in the 18th century they used to be everywhere anyway as the british soldiers approach a glade we see the indian scout magwa turn around and suspiciously head to the back of the company and it's only after he slyly pulls out his tomohawk when we know it's about to hit the fan [Music] although this particular scene is
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fictional the fighting does portray what an ideal indian ambush was like raiding parties would hit hard and fast and snipe at the british and american colonists behind the cover of rocks and trees the redcoats would respond just as they were trained to they would fall into line in the command of an officer and prepare a volley and what comes out in the movie is that you get a good sense of how terrifying it must have been for them waiting for that order to fire against a formidable enemy who moves like lightning and can't be seen [Applause] in the early years of the war the british would learn just how ineffective
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volley firing would be against indians in dense forest in 1755 general edward braddock and 1300 of his men used volley fire in an expected encounter battle but failed to take the heights in their flanks and was subjected to enfold fire just like as shown in this sequence the british army and the many american regulars of the virginia regiment as well as the militia finally collapsed against the onslaught after three whole hours with over a third of this force losing their lives and some even their scalps it was the first and last time this happened to the british army in the
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french and indian war luckily for hayward alice and korra no such fate were before them as our mohican hero step in to save the day although outnumbered their impressive fighting skills are more than enough to scare off the huron war party and knowing how ill-prepared the brits are to survive in the wilderness hawkeye offers to escort them to the fort on their way they come across a cabin that's been burnt to the ground with all its occupants murdered and we're quick to learn that this was home to the same family the mohegans visited at the beginning of the movie people that they knew very well and it becomes clear that this was the work of
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another war party and the tracks even indicated them that frenchmen were present by this point the war north america had grown particularly nasty when small bands of french militia indians roamed up and down the frontier raiding and burning settlements all in an effort to terrorize the local population and distract their enemy a few scenes later our survivors reached lake george but they soon discovered that fort william henry is already under siege by the french unkos debates on whether or not to turn back but when he spots a huron war party not far behind it's clear that they have no choice but
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to push on and try to sneak their way in now the film never explains when the french arrived lake george or how they were able to catch the british off guard there's a few throwaway lines by general webb that explained it as arrogance but that's about it explain to the major he has little to fear from this general marquis de moncalm in the first place because the french haven't the nature for war their latinate voluptuousness combines with their gaelic laziness and the result is
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they'd rather eat and make love with their faces than fight despite the fact that the french have been kicking the crap out of the british until now on the 30th of july 1757 montcar was ordered to attack the new york colony starting with taking fort william henry and then later to force edward he moved south with an army of 4 000 french troops and canadian militia and because he impressed the indians by capturing forts ontario and suego the year before 2 000 of them joined his ranks they sailed down lake champlain and lake george on hundreds of canoe and
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bateau with fixed pontoons carrying siege cannons one howitzer and mortars montcarm also sent troops over land to circle behind fort william henry to block off the road to fort edward the nearest british outpost on the 3rd of august montcom sent a letter to colonel monroe and demanded his surrender warning him that they were completely surrounded an hour later monroe sent back his refusal and the siege was on for the next few days the french dug a series of trenches under fire slowly inching their way towards the fort and this was mainly done to provide cover for the artillery when they were finally
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be positioned into firing range and it's around the time when they did that the movie catches up to them and i have to say what we see here is one of the best representations of an 18th century siege ever put on screen you get this panoramic shot of lavishly prepared french artillery firing positions on timber platforms cut into reverse slopes to deflect incoming cannon shots and supported by wicker work earthfield gabions which are like the equivalent of sandbags there's such fantastic attention to detail in the scene like when you see the gunners drape the touch holes of their cannon to stop them from
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overheating that's how long you know they've been shooting at each other by this point in the siege the french sappers had almost finished digging their trenches that will protect their most devastating weapon the short-range mortars somehow in the chaos the mohicans and their companions are able to slip by the french and make it onto the fort's lake shore then they're escorted by the scottish highlander grenadiers who weren't actually present at the battle but i'm not really bothered because you have to admit that they look pretty cool anyway they reunite the girls with their father and the garrison's commander colonel munro but far from be excited to see his
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children he asks this told you to stay away why did you disobey me girls when how i my letter there was none i sent three couriers to web one's called magwa arrived he delivered no such message now i will say that this bit is mostly accurate just before being surrounded monroe was able to sneak three couriers past the french blockade in order to find general webb and fetch reinforcements at the time webb was in force edward and that's where the couriers went to find him and in the movie mag was the one who made sure all
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of monroe's couriers were killed before they could get to webb reason for this is because we're dealing with historical fiction and generally you need to have your fictional characters have some small impact with historical events not so much they change things entirely but enough to guide the story towards what actually happened man here can make a run straight through the web so in this case now that munro knows that webb is at fort edward he needs to send another courier and hawkeye is going to be the one who'll help that man make it through alive by providing covering fire meanwhile hayward leads a platoon of grenadiers out of the
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trenches to create a diversion and this is the only time in the movie where you will see just how effective british folly fire was in an open field [Music] now if you've already watched the last mohicans and you've never seen this before that's because it was removed from the theatrical cut you can only find it on the director's cuts which is a shame because without this scene the british army looks incompetent throughout the movie because it should be understood that their tactics worked most of the time overall this diversion between hayward and hawkeye is very well
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done and in my opinion this is how good historical fiction is written because in real life one courier did make it to webb and just enough is tweaked so that characters had a small part to play that is both satisfying and doesn't interfere with history having said that the film now returns to the stupid drama between the americans and brits about webb's promise first thing hawkeye does when he enters the fort is tell the militia about the burnt farmstead he saw coming in and that's huron war parties were probably doing the same to other settlements so now we have all these american militiamen who
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want to leave right in the middle of a battle i need proof more convincing than this man's opinion before i weaken the fort's defenses by releasing the militia your fort will stand or fall dependent on webb's reinforcements not the presence of the colonials i judge military matters here not you your judgment is not more important than their right under agreement with web to defend their farms and families what about the rest of you rather be at the pictures i suppose all right i was gonna
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and it's precisely for that reason why monroe forbids the militia from leaving and orders anyone advocating this or courts doing it to be executed of course there is a brief moment when hawkeye asks duncan to verify he's telling the truth but since duncan knows the militia leaving will only weaken force william henry he chooses to lie and say it was just a raid by common bandits i mean the brits are trying to win a battle after all so as a military man i'm sure he knows where his priorities lie and that there's no other reason whatsoever he would feel compelled to lie unless it was for king and country have you
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stopped to consider that maybe just maybe your jail in any case hayward's lie causes a rift between the brits and colonists and in a later scene the movie even implies that the seats of america's future revolution were sown in this war from disagreements such as this what do we do about being under crown law i believe if they set aside their law as and when they wish their law no longer has rightful authority over us all they have over us then is tyranny and i will not live under that yoke now
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whilst this particular disagreement is made up you can find moments in the french and indian war that arguably did lead to independence a lot of people will point out the usual stuff like british arrogance elitism no taxation without representation that sort of thing but my personal favorite is the idea of american independence being conceived the moment george washington was denied a royal commission he had always been enamored of great britain and its army even modelling the virginia regiment after it as well as the continental army decades later so
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following four years of loyal service but a consistent series of failures under his command he's still expected to be rewarded a high-ranking commissioned officer position in the regular british army i have fought the french and indians for four years i have more knowledge and experience of road building tracking indian lore and wilderness combat than any other man in the colonies experience yes but with watford your lordship you led your handpicked
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force to defeat a fought necessity you were with braddock on that disastrous march you have commanded your own regiment for almost two years and the indian slaughters go on they hit and run sir and you sir with a man who fired the shot but started this war i ask you colonel does that call for rights and preference but your lordship i believe we've said all that needs be said mr washington
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i love this idea i mean really think about it the possibility that america the greatest superpower in history came to be because one man was snubbed a promotion it's like a grander scale when blockbuster sneered at netflix when they offered to sell it and we all know how that one turned out anyway back to the movie hawkeye is arrested after helping some of the militia desert and despite chorus please to her father for mercy monroe is committed to seem hanged for sedition but in the end it turns out it didn't really matter for the militia state or not because the french inevitably get within firing range of
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their mortars and after an intense bombardment the british position is hopeless their wars were breached and their guns were knocked out leaving monroe no choice but to try and seek the best terms possible under a flag of truce both sides opened negotiations on the 8th of august 1757 in the film monroe is professional to montcarm but still feeling a little sore he can't help himself but say that he's even looking forward to seeing mont calm to try to take on webb's army and this is because he's still expecting to see reinforcements any moments now but what he doesn't realize and this is true to
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history was the french had already intercepted one of webb's couriers four days before and they read webb's response back to him to connell monroe sir i require to inform you that i have no men available to send to your rescue it is quite impossible i advise you to seek terms for surrender i remain jerome webb at fort edward now this decision by webb not to send reinforcements would haunt him for the rest of his career and although he was promoted in 1759 and again in 1761 he
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permanently lost his team in the army officers forever scorned him with one man sir william johnson the famous indian agent infamously saying and i quote webb was the only englishman i ever knew to be a coward which was unfair the truth was that webb was simply in an impossible position and had no intelligence in moncom's military strength after lord loudon stripped america away of most of regular soldiers webb knew his few remaining troops were all that was left to defend the entire region he had about 2 000 british soldiers along with 3 000 militia many
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of them untrained the latest intel he was able to get at this time was from a capture canadian officer who lied and said montcarm had 11 000 men remembering what happened to general braddock's army in 1755 he couldn't risk the same thing happening again especially if he was the one outnumbered and the terms we see montcar give monroe in the movie is very close to the ones he gave in real life none of you men will see the inside of a prison barge they are free so long as they return to england and fight no more on this continent
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and the civilian militia return to their farms their arms they may leave the fortress fully armed my colors carry them to england with pride even by the standards of the day this was generous it also marked the first and only time that a parole of honor was offered by the french to british garrison in north america but here are the actual terms accepted by monroe one six pounder cannon could be kept by the british as a mark of respect the british could keep their muskets but they weren't allowed any ammunition none of
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the surrender were to serve for 18 months in the war the french would care for the sick and wounded the officers would keep their personal baggage all french canadian and indian prisoners of war were to be returned all artillery provisions vessels and munitions were to be surrendered but they could keep their flags so as you could see the terms were very close to the ones given in real life the reason why monte carlo was so generous was simply because he was being pragmatic he just didn't have the food or supplies to look after 2000 prisoners of war his first objective was to capture fort william henry and now he had but there was one party the
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surrender terms failed to consider and it was moncom's indian allies in the film there's a scene when moncom listens to magua's objections on behalf of the huron people is the hatchet buried between the english and my french father yes not a warrior has a scalp and the white men become friends my master owned this dance and i have been ordered to drive off the english squatters they have consented to go so now i call them enemies no longer now
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what the movie doesn't mention is that a lot of the indians weren't informed the details of this capitulation because there was only one interpreter it's unsurprising as they came from 33 tribes many of whom would have spoken different languages and wouldn't have understood what was agreed but in the movie the indian's beef is mainly because magua has a personal vendetta against monroe many years before his village was raided by british mohawk allies and magwa's children ended up being murdered and he was sold into slavery which is why we saw magwa attack duncan's company at the beginning of the movie he was trying to
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kill monroe's daughters at revenge when the gray hair is dead magwa will eat his heart before he dies manga will put his children under the knife so the gray hair will know his seed is wiped out forever but at the end of the day maguire is fictional as are the reasons why his fellow braves take up his cause as often is the case in history things are a little bit more complex than that the truth is montcom's indian allies were furious because the surrender of this fort and prowling of
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the garrison meant they weren't gonna get any of the loots they expected for helping win the battle in times of war tribal honour demanded that they return to their villages with plunder captives self ransom slaves fresh additions to the tribe and scalps but after fighting alongside the french for six days they were gonna get nothing apart from what they garnered so far now the reason we don't see any other indians object to the deal is because the character of montgomery is very different to what the real man was like in the movie montcar is diplomatic cordial and even shows respect to his indian allies and their
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customs my friendship and his team is boundless tomorrow i will sing the worst thing with you at the great council of fire but the real monster was not like this instead he viewed indians as little more than bloodthirsty savages and showed disdain for them but as long as france did not have sufficient numbers of regular troops in north america he would have to make do with them one needs the patience of an angel to get on with them ever since i've been here i have had nothing but visits harangues and
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deputations of these gentlemen the iroquois ladies did me the honor to bring me belts of wampum which obliged me to go to their village and sing the war song [Music] they make war with astounding cruelty sparing neither women nor children although mont calm's indian allies were invaluable in battle they proved very difficult to control he would find them getting drunk taking captives
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mistreating prisoners torturing them and other times a lot worse than that mont khan would step in and try to stop this behavior as often as he could but he knew that if he pushed too hard he'd risk alienating the indians and they would just leave in fact when mod khan first asked monroe to surrender he warned him that he had hostile indians in his army and may not be able to stop them if monroe didn't give up soon i owe it to humanity to summon you to surrender at present i can restrain the natives and make them observe the terms of a
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capitulation as i might not have the power to do under other circumstances so why am i mentioning this what difference does it make whether the real montcom reviled indians and moviemont calm doesn't well it's because of this one scene where he gives magwa this kind of wink-wink nudge-nudge order that the real guy would have been horrified by does the chief of the candidates believe the english will keep the terms i fear having let them go which i must i will only fight the same man again
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when i drive towards albany everybody got that on the 10th of august 1757 monroe's army left at dawn and began the long march to fort edward the column was made up of british regulars colonial militia and a baggage train of camp followers with civilian men women and children serving as seamstresses surgeons nurses butchers cooks blacksmiths and even slaves 1400 survivors in total many of them exhausted from the siege having had little to no sleep for the past five days as they retreated down the road south the rear of the column was being
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watched from the tree line hostile eyes observed them with a deathly silence and malicious intent it didn't take long before the natives made their presence known to the stragglers who would soon learn what a real war would sounded like [Applause] [Music] [Applause] so here we have the big climax of the movie for anyone who's a history buff the french and indian war they will know we are watching one of its most infamous
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chapters play out the massacre at fort william henry this was an event that shocked british america to its core newspapers at the time reported up to 2 000 people had been murdered in scouts all thanks to the treacherous french who stood by and watched innocent suffer with each retelling of the story the details became more and more sensational all painting an image of painted and feathered demons jumping out of the forest and unleashing unrestrained savagery on british soldiers and bright red coats the nature of this atrocity was burnt into the american psyche far into the future and trademarked a vision
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of the frontier that become the standard in retelling future indian attacks and this was the information james fenimore cooper had when he wrote the last the mohicans in 1826 which is why what we see on the screen is not 100 accurate the filmmakers are being more faithful to the book than actual history the way the massacre is presented here is really more like a battle where we see redcoats attempt to form into lines and fire their volleys but remember they would have been unable to shoot back because under the terms of surrender they had to give up the ammunition compared to the
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movie the truth paints a completely different picture and a lot more disturbing when the real column left force william henry they were stalked by hundreds of indians but violence didn't break out right away what's happened was the indians walked right up to the british and just started taking their things monroe told everyone to remain calm to not resist or provoke them and he hoped by ordering his men to drop their belongings and keep walking this would be enough to piece the indians but it didn't if anything it encouraged them to grow bolder by not offering any resistance this concession was seen as
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weakness but things really turned ugly when at the back of the column a few abenakis test the waters by clubbing people at random this sent a signal to all the other natives that the whites truly were defenseless and that's when the killing began with tom of hawks and hatchets in hand they split skulls and cut down civilian and soldier alike the front of monroe's column was thrown into confusion when ordered to halt as the rear was being attacked the british and colonials looked to their french escort for protection but they offered no help apart from advising them to run and hide in the woods about 40 to 50 people were
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killed and scout within the next few minutes but eventually the indians fury did burn out they realized the french were willing to pay to recover prisoners so they switched from murder to kidnapping and rape mostly however the violence wasn't only limited to the column those who are too sick or wounded to move were left behind at the fort under the care of the french but once the garrison marched out native warriors fell upon its patients with such brutality that they forever left their mark upon their bones as part of the massacre part of the picture we've been able to reconstruct is there were mutilations on the body and this
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included genital mutilations there are cuts on the front of the pelvis in the area of the genitals in addition we think some of the individuals were disemboweled and there are cuts going all the way through the region of the stomach and abdomen into the backbone behind the abdomen so when montcarm heard of the indian attack he furiously rushed to the scene and with great verbal and physical violence he and his french soldiers were able to rescue 400-500 captives as for the remainder still held by the indians the numbers vary wildly but they were taken
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away to be sold ransomed or occasionally adopted into their captors tribe or murdered elsewhere now today we know the original figure of 2000 was exaggerated by the end of the seven years award 1763 174 british soldiers in this capitulation were still unaccounted for either murdered or still living in indian villages civilians and militiamen's fates are unknown the total number murdered or enslaved also varies but the maximum is 1500 and the minimum's 200 was probably around 700 with 400 killed in the siege but regardless the aftermath of the massacre
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was a pivotal moment in the war for example the outrage in british america was so intense that it became a key factor in the mass mobilization of militia on the other hand monte carlo lost the support of his native allies because the terms of the surrender didn't meet their approval and by physically retrieving their prisoners the indians felt insulted and betrayed so the majority of them abandoned montcarm right there and then the canadian militia also had to return home for the harvest and were given leaf by montcarm to do so both of these setbacks effectively finished montcom's military campaign now the movie doesn't end with
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a massacre fort william henry we see magwa have his revenge over monroe by killing him and ripping out his heart which of course never happened the real monroe survived and made it to fort edward with 500 other survivors but he was so traumatized by the events that he died of a heart attack in albany new york a few months later on the 3rd of november 1757. i'm guessing james turnamore cooper figured that monroe might as well get killed in the massacre when he wrote the book and that's why he changed it anyway like i was saying magwa kills monroe and then pursues his surviving daughters cora and alice to
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finish his blood vendetta and the mohican heroes do everything in their power to stop him and this is where i'm gonna wrap things up because from this point on the rest of the film is a cat and mouse chase and there's not much i can really talk about when it comes to historical accuracy but i will say that even in the moments of this review when i'm poking fun the last the mohicans is a brilliant historical movie and there's a reason why so many people still love it today now is it 100 accurate no but that's kind of to be expected when your movie's based more on a book than actual history the filmmakers had their hands
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tied with how much they could change but they still managed to capture the feel of the period and it's all in the little details like one of the things i love is that for a film about the american frontier no one actually has a contemporary american accent which makes sense because they didn't exist yet this is one the few films have seen that tries to show how american colonists might have sounded like compared to modern americans the twang and slur that's evolved today has its origins in those parts of england like the west country and east anglia the only americans who don't speak like this in the movie are the native americans as
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well as hawkeye and hawkeye is the only one with an accent like no one else in the film since his character is half mohican and half english so it kind of makes sense for him to have a hybrid of both accents i also think the depiction of colonial albany is fantastic with the red brick bridge major hayward rides over in his carriage the multiple georgian buildings the blacksmith hammering away and the apples being crushed for cider by that yolked horse walking in a circle there's a strong influence of england in upstate new york shown here because at the time this was british america and it's there even now
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with its quaint villages complete with gated parks horse racing tracks stables and village greens i even love how they got the lighting right most of the best lit scenes in this movie were shot outside with natural lighting while most of the stuff shot indoors were kept dark because it's colonial america the best they could do back then were candles and fire light i admit it's a very small detail but the fact is even there shows how the filmmakers wanted to be as authentic as possible the only movie that is lighting the 18th century the best is barry lyndon and that's only because stanley kubrick got hold of
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special lenses developed by nasa another tiny detail that i thought was brilliant was the artillery sequences the director michael mann didn't want his cannons and mortars to be filled with only gunpowder during filming he wanted them to behave like they were real and fire actual projectiles so the audience could see the smoke plumes they left behind in the air we used black basketballs for the mortar shells because one of the shots michael wanted was he wanted to see the mortar shell going through the air up to the fort so and actually got to work so good we
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could hit the floor with so then we shot a lot of them man and finally there was no way i could finish this review without mentioning the one thing that all us fans of this movie can agree upon and that is how much we love the music [Music] doesn't that just give you goosebumps i mean if you think about it we're just watching a guy running up a mountain but with the right piece of music we're suddenly back in time in colonial america it's the final icing of the cake
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that makes up the many layers of the last the mohicans from the breathtaking scenery the epic drama extraordinary care for detail and a genuine love of history by the filmmakers if the music had just been decent or average at best then the film still would have been fine but i don't think people would have loved it as much as they do because it's the score that ultimately makes it into a classic instantly recognizable soul stirring and extremely evocative in fact so much so at the end of the movie nine minutes go by without almost any dialogue and you don't even realize it
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at the time because you're so emotionally invested but why would you when the music and performances are this powerful [Music] [Music] isn't that amazing there's so much going on without a single line of dialogue and
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i have to say as far as soundtracks go this is definitely up there for me with such films as lawrence of arabia zulu gladiator or ghost in the darkness i know i barely talk about music when it comes to discussing historical films but honestly when i think of my favorite ones the first thing that pops into my head is the music it's the emotional connection i have with these films and when i listen to their scores that's what fires up my imagination what makes me feel like i'm actually there [Music]
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well that about wraps it up my name is nick hodges and thanks for watching history buffs and remember if you like the show help the channel grow if you wish to support history buffs then he can now do so at patreon and as always let me know in the comment section what you thought about the last the mohegans and of course what historical movie should i review next in the meantime check out the history buffs twitter and facebook pages for new updates until then i'll see you next time
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[Music] you

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