The Prairie (1827) is the last in Cooper’s trilogy of ‘Leatherstocking Tales’ and as The Last of the Mohicans before it follows the adventures of our hero Natty Bumppo who is now an old man living on the frontier and recounting old tales of the West. As important as Natty is the character of the ludicrous Dr. Bat who spends his time trying to discover new animals and plants in the prairie despite his apparent medical qualifications and he comes across as quite ridiculous - mistaking his own donkey for a new species for instance. His attempts at providing medical advice prove somewhat pathetic and show how little was thought of his kind at this period in American history and in the westward movement. There is plenty of quite improbable action and treks across the land, but critics’ tendency to rubbish the unlikely in Cooper’s fiction mislead us. This is a style that needs to be taken on its own terms and with a degree of submission to the Sioux and buffalo subplots and extraneous characters.