The James Fenimore Cooper historical fiction story [adapted by John Balderston, Paul Perez and Daniel Moore] is transferred to the screen with surprising fidelity, though the two love stories are accentuated, quite naturally. Locale is the wide open spaces of eastern America when England and the French were battling all through New York state to see which one was to be boss of this country. Story moves swiftly to that phase in the campaign when the British were rushing to the defense of Fort William Henry on Lake George (upper N.Y. state).
Hawkeye, the colonial scout, is set up as the typical American frontiersman of that day, willing to aid the British, but first interested in defending courageous colonists. Picture is hardly 15 minutes old before the first brush with the cruel Huron Indian tribe. From then it is a series of carefully conceived and deftly executed climaxes, starting with the siege and surrender of the fort.
Randolph Scott gives a virile interpretation as the scout without going overboard at any time. Henry Wilcoxon, as the snobbish British major, vies for honors on the male side. Binnie Barnes, the English girl in love with Hawkeye, further enhances her reputation as a fascinating actress. Heather Angel has less to do as the sister whose romance with a young Mohican ends tragically.
1936: Nomination: Best Assistant Director (Clem Beauchamp)