Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo is a fictional character and the protagonist of James Fenimore Cooper's pentalogy of novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales.
Natty Bumppo, the child of white parents, grew up among Delaware Indians and was educated by Moravian Christians. 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 and nephew Uncas.
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:
The tales recount significant events in Natty Bumppo's life from 1740 to 1806.
Before his appearance in The Deerslayer, Bumppo went by the aliases "Straight-Tongue", "The Pigeon", and the "Lap-Ear". After obtaining his first rifle, he gained the sobriquet "Deerslayer". He is subsequently known as "Hawkeye" and "La Longue Carabine" in The Last of the Mohicans, as "Pathfinder" in The Pathfinder, or The Inland Sea, as "Leatherstocking" (from which the series' title is drawn) in The Pioneers, and as "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 interpretation of the character. In the 1992 film, however, the character's name is slightly changed from "Natty" Bumppo to Nathaniel Poe. He is also portrayed as the adopted son of Chingachgook and brother of Uncas.
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 Michael O'Shea in the 1947 film Last of the Redskins, George Montgomery in the 1950 film 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
- Bumppo appears as a character in John Myers Myers' novel Silverlock (1949).
- Thomas King's novel Green Grass, Running Water (1993) satirizes Natty Bumppo's character by renaming him Nasty Bumppo and having him shoot himself (while he attempts to shoot his friend, Chingachgook).
- The character Hawkeye Pierce, from M*A*S*H, takes his nickname from the Native American name given to Natty Bumppo. In both the TV series and MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (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 novel series, beginning with Into The Wilderness, meant as a sequel to The Leatherstocking books. 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 Leatherstocking novels is a repeating feature of the Bloody Jack book series.
- The Marvel Comics character Hawkeye takes his name from Natty Bumppo, whom 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.
- 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.
- Natty Bumppo is featured in the Marvel comic Deadpool Killustrated, as part of a group of time travelling heroes (Beowulf, Hua Mulan, and 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 Diana Gabaldon's eighth Outlander series novel, Written In My Own Heart's Blood.
- Natty Bumppo was the name of several pop music bands in the 1970s, including bands from Dayton, Ohio and central Utah.
- Natty Bumppo is the name of the author of The Columbus Book Of Euchre and House Of Evil.
- Postage stamps
1989 Soviet postage stamp series depicting The Leatherstocking Tales
- Sculptures and memorials
- The Lederstrumpfbrunnen (leatherstocking fountain) in Edenkoben (Germany) contains a life-sized statue of Natty Bumppo
- The British sculptor Thomas Nicholls designed a wooden sculpture of Natty Bumppo as part of an ensemble of six figures of American literature. The ensemble belongs to the interior design of Two Temple Place, London.
- Colin A. Clarke, "Like a Mirror Reflecting Itself: Natty Bumppo, The Virginian, and the Fate of the American Frontier," Presented at the 11th Cooper Seminar, James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art at the State University of New York College at Oneonta, July, 1997.
- David Leverenz, "The Last Real Man in America: From Natty Bumppo to Batman," American Literary History 1991 3(4):753-781. (caution: article requires money for full access)
- Warren S. Walker: Plots and characters in the fiction of James Fenimore Cooper. Archon Books, 1978