The Deerslayer and the Mohican Chief Chingachgook were introduced to the reader as they went to the aid of the Hutter's, the father and their two daughters, Judith and Hetty on Lake Champlain upstate New York. The Iroquois were on the move from the Great Lakes in the Canadas as the Deerslayer and Harry March journeyed together to Lake Champlain for Deerslayer to meet Chingachgook.
Their journey was interrupted as Harry and Thomas Hutter went to gather scalps that the British colony were willing to pay for. Deerslayer did not want to collect scalps. These two stalwarts were captured by the Iroquois. A bargain was agreed to and the two white men were released for the ransom of elephant shaped chess pieces.
The story became convoluted with the archaic style of writing and local speech limiting the pace of the novel. Cooper's descriptive style: The sun had not risen, it is true, but the vaults of heaven was rich with the winning softness that 'brings and shuts the day', while the whole air was filled with the carols of the birds, the hymns of the feathered tribe, certainly sounded better than the dawn broke or other modern shorthand.
Deerslayer became Hawkeye. The Last of the Mohicans was next.