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 if what would later become the 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.