This is one of my favorite movies. I think it has some great scenes in it of life in 1757. The settler's home, Fort William Henry and the Huron village are great. The opening scene where Hawkeye and the Mohicans are chasing the deer is another great scene.
What I like about Last of the Mohicans is that, overall, there was a very positive portrayal of Native Americans. The Mohicans were obviously portrayed as good heroic characters but the character who I find most interesting is Magua.
I think that Magua can be looked as a hero, a patriot. Although Wes Studi looks mean in the movie he is actually portrayed in a pretty sympathetic light. His children were killed by the British. He was made a slave by the Mohawk. When he was finally freed he went back to his wife and she had married some one else. Magua is looking for revenge but I think that he has good cause to.
The Native Americans had a dilemma in 1757. If they didn't cooperate with some group of whites they wouldn't have been able to obtain weapons and would have been wiped out by their enemies. Magua decided he was going to use the French to help achieve his goals but in the long run Magua was a patriot. He said,
" No. [to Sachem] Huron serve no one. The French father believes he fooled Magua because he is so proud of his cleverness, he is blind. But it is the Huron path that Magua walks down, not the French one ... Now, Les Francais, also, fear Huron. That is good. When the Huron is strong from their fear, we will make the terms of trade with Les Francais. And we will trade as the white man trades. Take land from the Snakes; fur from the Osage, Sauk & Fox. And make the Huron great. Over other tribes. No less than the whites, as strong as the whites."
When you look at it closely, Last of the Mohicans presents Magua as a warrior who is intent on defending his land and his people from invading forces. Like Scar from The Searchers, Ulzana and Geronimo, a case can be made for the presentation of Magua as a heroic figure even though he ended up on the losing side.