Select Page

Last of the Mohicans . . . a dirty little secret

Last of the Mohicans . . . a dirty little secret

There is something that I never told y’all.   There is a special reason why I love the sound track to that beautiful, yet violent movie.  Some of its most dramatic scenes were filmed in the upper areas of my former goat dairy farm near Asheville, NC!  Those scenes include the deer hunt, the pioneer cabin that was massacred, the frontier village and the massive battle where the Indian allies of the French massacred the survivors of Fort William Henry.  Five years earlier, I had been grazing goats and sheep on the grass though which Daniel Day Lewis is running.


Glen Crannoc Farm near Asheville, NC. Location of the first licensed goat cheese dairy outside of California – second in the nation. Goat cheese is udder joy.

The milk was pasteurized in a pasteurizer that had once belonged to poet Carl Sandburg.  We bought most of our goats from Mrs. Sandburg’s goat farm after she died. I took some short courses in cheese making, bacteriology and sanitation from Cornell University.

After some, let’s say,  “some learning experiences,” our cheese was selling well in the Mid-Atlantic states, but shipping and hay costs were eating up our profits.  The soil in Western North Carolina contains extremely high levels of toxic aluminum, which in the old days, when people grew all their own food, caused high levels of mental retardation, birth defects and insanity. We had to import our hay from Tennessee and Virginia.  We eventually moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where I built a state of the art facility on a colonial farm, surveyed by Georgia Washington.  Both my architecture practice and the creamery went major league in Virginia.

However, about five years later, we heard that a super movie, “The Last of the Mohicans” had been filmed around Asheville.  We drove up to Winchester.  At the opening scene of the deer hunt,  I elbowed my wife and whispered, “Lord, that looks like the woods on the top of our old farm.  Nah!  It couldn’t be.”   Soon there were several OMG moments when only a few minutes into the film, we realized that  pioneer village was in the midst of our former upper pasture.  I knew ever tree in the movie, especially the wild apple tree where I picked apples every fall.

This was one of the most surrealistic moments in my life. During the 10 years, we were there, I had become intimately familiar with the land, trees and streams.  For those of you, who have lived on a farm, you know what I am talking about.  Suddenly, the whole world was viewing it as a pioneer village in upstate New York in 1754.

The only thing that exceeded the movie’s surreality was watching the scenes in the premier of “America Unearthed” of me looking into my computer monitor as those scenes were being streamed through my computer monitor. I don’t have a television.

They burned a priceless legacy from the past

The pioneer cabin in the movie, where the early scenes of the movie and then the massacre took place, was a REAL cabin dating from the early 1800s.  The first time that I watched the movie, I assumed that the burned cabin after the massacre was a modern facsimile, but was horrified in 1996, when I visited the Upper Pasture again and found that the film crew had burned the historic cabin and cut down the ancient apple tree.  I think the heirloom apple tree was probably as old as the cabin.  That’s the dirty little secret.

The hundreds of survivors from Fort William Henry were marched through a narrow swale along Wolfpen Creek that connected the Lower Pasture to the Upper Pasture.  It was again surrealistic to see a horrific battle scene, where once the goats, sheep and Scottish Highland cattle had peacefully grazed.


WesStudiI have never understood why Wes Studi did not get an Oscar for his magnificent performance in this movie.  He captured the probable appearance, personality and language of that time.   Was it because a real Native American was finally playing a Native American in a starring role?

Pardon this short departure into a spiritual deja vue.  It’s a Native American thing.  Perhaps it was the memory of leading our herd dogs and goats up a steep mountainside that caused the beautiful music theme of “The “Last of the Mohicans” to reverberate through my head as I climbed the equally steep slopes of the Track Terrace Complex for the first time.  This is why I placed the Peruvian version of the songs on this website.  I didn’t dream that the everyone else would also enjoy this music so much.

And now for those of you, who are now also thinking fondly of a beautiful movie from 25 years ago, here are scenes and music from “The Last of the Mohicans!”



The following two tabs change content below.
Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    One of my all-time favorite movies. How awesome that you lived there!

  2. It still is a strange feeling when I watch the movie. The sensation is hard to explain . . . you know, seeing 18th century characters recreate history on land that I once walked on many a time.


    I would love to know where these locations are, any chance you can email them to me? I go there every year to the film locations and have been too both spots that you are referring too, yet it sounds like your locations maybe different.

    • The pioneer village was in a pasture up Wolf Cove Rd. off of Blackberry Inn Road in the Beech Community – far eastern end of the Reems Creek Valley – Weaverville.


        Perfect, that’s the right locations. The new owner of that land is very nice but moved in a couple years after the movie was filmed so his knowledge on it is slim to nothing. That is sad what your saying and I can see why they would say it was “built” for the movie. The fence is suppose to still exist and I was told is visible on a stable that does not exist anymore.

        • Somewhere in a box in my rental storage bin, I have photos of both the log cabin and the log stable, plus the old apple tree in the center of the pasture where they created the pioneer village. It produced really sweet apples that were great for cider. My dairy goats were grazing where soon there would be blockbuster movie filmed. About 20 years ago, I went up to the pasture with my new girl friend. I was surprised to see the new house and also noticed that the old apple tree had been cut down. The pasture was grown in scrub pines.


            Wolf cove doesn’t seem to be on the map, where I was told and have gone (actually went today) was sawyers cove rd. I would love to know if that’s the wrong road. The person whom lives at the top did state that filming was done there.

          • Sawyer Cove Road is probably the official name given to the road after it was paved and new houses were built on it. My house was known as the Old Sawyer House.


    One last question, when you walk up that way was it far from the road? They have a gate there now at the end. I was there two years ago and stopped at the first clearing. At that sight I felt I was there and even looked at the lay of the land and compared it to the film. I second guessed myself and saw that there was a clearing a little higher up looking at google earth 1993-1994 and was most likely at the wrong spot. We tried today and just couldn’t get to it. If I was by myself I would have gone as far as I needed but couldn’t with my son. Am I right to think I didn’t go up high enough?

    • Hey Jeffrey. I have not been to my former farm there in 20 years, so I imagine it has changed a lot. There was no gate and the meadow, where they filmed the movie was grown up in new pine trees. I imagine now the pine trees are quite large.


    Also sawyers cove road isn’t paved and taking my small rental car up there was a very bad idea.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to POOF via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 845 other subscribers

The Information World is changing!

People of One Fire needs your help to evolve with it.

We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

During the past six years, a privately owned business has generously subsidized my research as I virtually traveled along the coast lines and rivers of the Southeast. That will end in December 2017. I desperately need to find a means to keep our research self-supporting with advertising from a broader range of viewers. Creation of animated architectural history films for POOF and a People of One Fire Youtube Channel appears to be the way. To do this I will need to acquire state-of-art software and video hardware, which I can not afford with my very limited income. Several of you know personally that I live a very modest lifestyle. If you can help with this endeavor, it will be greatly appreciated.

Support Us!

Richard Thornton . . . the truth is out there somewhere!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!