The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the red-men has not yet come again. My day has been too long.See Important Quotations Explained
Uncas appears before Tamenund. Uncas is serene, confident in his identity as a Delaware descendant. However, when Uncas insults Magua by calling him a liar, Tamenund reacts angrily, instructing the warriors to torture Uncas by fire. One of the warriors tears off Uncas’s hunting shirt, and the assembled Indians stare with amazement at a small blue tortoise tattooed on Uncas’s chest. The old man Tamenund seems to think the tattoo shows that Uncas is a reincarnation of Tamenund’s grandfather, a legendary Indian also named Uncas, who was famed for his valor during Tamenund’s youth. Tamenund releases Uncas immediately, and Uncas in turn frees Hawkeye. Uncas uses his newfound power to convince the Delawares that Magua has maliciously deceived them. In response, Magua insists that he deserves to retain his prisoners. Tamenund asks Uncas for his opinion, and Uncas reluctantly admits that although Magua should release most of his prisoners, Cora is his rightful prisoner. Magua flees with Cora, refusing Hawkeye’s offer to die in her place even when Hawkeye offers to throw Killdeer, his rifle, into the bargain. The others, now unable to stop the villainous Huron because of Tamenund’s ruling, vow to pursue him as soon as an appropriate time has passed.
Uncas stares longingly after Cora as Magua drags her away. After retreating to his lodge to consider an appropriate plan of action, Uncas emerges to initiate a war ritual dedicated to the god Manitou, or Great Spirit. This dance and war song center around a young pine tree, stripped of its bark and painted with red stripes. Uncas and the Delawares ferociously attack the tree, which represents the enemy. Meanwhile, Hawkeye sends a young boy to find his hidden rifles. Hurons shoot at and wound the boy on his return to the camp, revealing their proximity to the Delawares. Uncas and Hawkeye plan retribution against the Hurons, assuming the command of twenty warriors apiece. As Uncas and Hawkeye hold a whispering council in the forest, Gamut reappears, still dressed in his Indian disguise. The startled Hawkeye mistakes him yet again for a Huron and nearly shoots him. Gamut tells the men that Magua has stashed Cora in a cave near the Huron camp. Hawkeye announces a plan: he will lead his men to rendezvous with Chingachgook and Colonel Munro at the beaver pond, and then they will defeat the Huron warriors and rescue Cora. The men decide how to carry out the plan using signals and specific duties in the forest.
As the group approaches the stream near the peaceful beaver pond, the sound of gunfire erupts, and a mortally wounded Delaware drops to the ground. The Hurons have tracked the forces led by Hawkeye and Uncas. A battle ensues, and Hawkeye and Uncas’s men manage to defeat the Hurons. As the fighting winds down, Magua retreats to the Huron village. He and two Huron companions slip into the cave where Magua has hidden Cora. Hawkeye, Uncas, Gamut, and Heyward pursue them closely.
The Hurons drag Cora along a passage leading up the mountainside. Uncas and Hawkeye drop their heavy rifles in order to move more quickly. The Hurons reach a precipice, and Cora refuses to continue. Magua threatens to kill her with his knife, but he does not know whether he wants to kill her or marry her. Just as Uncas succeeds in leaping from a ledge and landing at Cora’s side, one of the Hurons loses his patience and stabs Cora in the heart. Enraged, Magua leaps at his ally but reaches Uncas first and stabs him in the back. Wounded yet defiant, Uncas kills the Huron who stabbed Cora. Magua slashes Uncas three more times and kills him at last.
Gamut strikes Magua’s other companion with a rock from his sling. Magua attempts to escape by leaping from the precipice across a wide fissure, but he falls short. He just manages to grab a shrub, which keeps him from plunging to his death. As Magua pulls himself back onto the mountainside, Hawkeye shoots him. Magua stares furiously at his enemies before plummeting to his death at the bottom of the ravine.
The next morning, the Delawares mourn their dead. Munro holds Cora’s body, and Chingachgook stares sorrowfully at his dead son. Tamenund gives a wise speech, and a ritualistic chanting honors the dead. The Delaware maidens chant that Uncas and Cora will be together in the Happy Hunting Ground, and Chingachgook offers the song of a father for his fallen son. After the group buries Cora, Munro asks Hawkeye, who speaks the Delaware language, to convey to the Indians two hopes: that God will not forget the Delawares’ kindness and that they will one day be together in a place where race and skin color are irrelevant. Hawkeye, however, proclaims that these sentiments are inappropriate and simply thanks the Delawares for their bravery. The white characters depart without Hawkeye, and Uncas undergoes a proper burial according to Delaware custom. Chingachgook laments that he is now alone, but Hawkeye argues that Uncas has merely left him for a time. Tamenund says he has lived to see the last warrior of the race of the Mohicans.