Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

The Pioneers


Or, The Sources of the Susquehanna

Published in 1823, this is the first novel in Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales". Other titles in the series: The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Deerslayer (1841).


From its remarkable first scene--in which a gunshot finds an unintended target--to its fiery climax in the woods of New York State, The Pioneers is a rich chronicle of early frontier life filled with action, adventure, romance, and history. It is also the work that established James Fenimore Cooper as the first great American novelist. The first installment (though fourth chronologically) of what would later become his famous "Leatherstocking Tales", The Pioneers introduces readers to the colorful and enduring character of frontiersman Natty Bumppo. Forced by a local landowner to obey new hunting laws, Natty Bumppo rebels and finds allies in the landowner's daughter and a mysterious young stranger. Against the backdrop of the changing seasons, a varied cast of unforgettable characters is caught up in a drama that illuminates the essence of the American character and the conflict between a restlessly expanding society and the unspoiled wilderness that was here before us all.

Fan of this book? Help us introduce it to others by writing a better introduction for it. It's quick and easy, click here.

Recent Forum Posts on The Pioneers

The Pioneers

I am currently reading The Pioneers by James Fenimmore Cooper and at the end of chapter XXII Louisa Grant and her father are first introduced and what purpose does the church serve in the community of Templeton? What is the reader supposed to make of Louisa and her father?


The Pioneers can be slow, at first, and Cooper's dialouge is off, but he has a vision that a reader can see only with his minds eye. Cooper is the first enviromentalist of his time, but he uses action and adventure to promote his message.

The Pioneers

The first half of this book (chapters 1-20) is terribly uninteresting. The speed of the progression of the plot increases afterwards. This book is not a good read because it is too long, and the beginning is drawn out. In general, the book is poorly written. Cooper constantly switches between narrative and chapter-long description. If possible, I suggest you avoid choosing this book for research papers, essays, etc.


I Think "The Pioneers" is rather nice. Poetic, naturalistic discriptions really stood out to me. Good book all around. Cooper captures the early American writers fasination with nature - for at the time, that was all we had. Early America never had a "Shakespeare," instead we were given our mountains and wonderful wild-lands.... and Poe, Irving....

The message of Cooper

I wholeheartedly agree that this book proceedes at a snail's pace for the first fivehundred pages or so. However, once the book picks up pace, it is a great read. I found it to be very provocative in its juxtaposition of orderly civilization vs. practical frontiersmanship. The ending also has a bit of a twist, and the books his hard to put down for the last 5 or so chapters. All in all, I enjoyed this book.

No Subject

I thought that the first 200 or so pages in this book were unbelivably slow, and at times a bit confusing, but after that cooper picks up the pase quite a bit and the novel becomes much more fun, and less confusing.

No Subject

I am in 11th grade and I had to read this book for my book report. Other than it dragging on a bit, it was pretty good.

Post a New Comment/Question on The Pioneers

Quizzes on James Fenimore Cooper
Related links for James Fenimore Cooper

Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about James Fenimore Cooper written by other authors featured on this site.