James Fenimore Cooper was a prolific and popular American writer of the first half of the 19th century. His historical romances of frontier and Indian life in the early American days created a unique form of American literature. The Prairie is the third novel written by him featuring Natty Bumppo, his fictitious frontier hero. Chronologically The Prairie is the fifth and final installment of the "Leatherstocking Tales", though it was published before "The Pathfinder" and "The Deerslayer". Bumppo is never called by his name, but is instead referred to as "the trapper" or "the old man". The novel depicts him in the final year of his life still proving helpful to people in distress on the American frontier.