Hawkeye saves Virginia merchant William Shields and his wife when they're ambushed by hostile Indians on their way to open a trading post at Fort Bennington, but then Shields is captured by the French through the machinations of his treacherous brother, an officer at the fort.
Elizabeth talks Hawkeye into guiding her to the French fort so she can negotiate for the release of her husband, but they step right into the middle of the war.
After Elizabeth's encounter with a bear, she decides to take lessons from Hawkeye in wilderness-survival skills, in exchange for teaching Hawkeye how to read, but ammunition thieves bent on selling their stolen goods to the French interrupt them.
Hawkeye saves a settler from the French trader who kidnapped her, but killing him prompts revenge from the trader's Huron allies.
The French have laid siege to the British fort, and rumor has it that they are bringing up an enormous cannon.
Hurons kidnap an infant from the fort, and any attempt to get the child back could spark a war.
Chingachgook has a vision that hostile Indians will kill Hawkeye.
Hawkeye's old mentor arrives at the fort -- not for a reunion but for revenge.
Elizabeth's visiting nephew realizes his dream of becoming a soldier, but when his courage fails in battle, Hawkeye and Chingachgook step in to help.
When a stranger offers, for a hefty fee, to lead Elizabeth to where her husband is being held, the suspicious Taylor and Hawkeye insist on going along.
The brother of a man Taylor had executed seeks revenge by luring the captain and Elizabeth on a business expedition that will lead to their capture by the French.
Hawkeye and Chingachgook conspire to help two runaway slaves being returned to their owner by a ""gentleman"" from Virginia.
A provoked attack on Taylor prompts the captain to ban the entire Delaware tribe from the fort, including Chingachgook.
An enigmatic French prisoner intrigues Hawkeye, who begins to believe that the soldier may not be what he seems.
Taylor has Hawkeye tried for treason when the captain is shot soon after a heated argument between the two men, but Hawkeye's sense of honor hinders Elizabeth's efforts to prove his innocence.
Hawkeye fumes when Taylor grants a pardon to a recalcitrant soldier in exchange for crucial information about the French.
Elizabeth resists her father's efforts to bring her back to Virginia, even after Taylor produces new evidence that her missing husband is dead.
The capture of a Huron chief's wife leads Hawkeye to his parents' killer, and even Elizabeth may not be able to stop him from taking revenge.
An Indian chief blames Elizabeth for a smallpox epidemic that ravages his tribe shortly after her inadvertent violation of sacred ground.
A Massachusetts woman reputed to have mysterious healing powers struggles to save the fort from the epidemic, only to be branded a witch.
An old friend appeals to Hawkeye to help free her brother-in-law from his captors, but the French have put a bounty on Hawkeye's head and everyone is trying to kill him.