Duncan Heyward is a major in the English army whose mission is to guard the daughters of his superior. Duncan is a well-meaning youth who prizes the maidens, especially Alice, but he is completely unprepared to deal with the treachery of the wilderness. He is a white man trying to fight Indian battles. This incompatibility almost always results in failure on his part to complete various duties. He exists in contrast to Hawkeye, a white man who is much more fully adapted to Indian warfare. Duncan is highly chivalrous, ready to lay down his life for the women he has been assigned to protect. More than once he risks great odds to save Alice or Cora or both. A true gentleman, he is in love with Alice but does not express his feelings until he gets permission from her father, Commander Munro. Even though he and Alice are stranded together for such a long time, he never takes advantage of their proximity to act in disgracefully. As a soldier and warrior, his courage and vigor outshine any demerits of youth and skill. He tries to protect Hawkeye by claiming that he is the legendary Indian enemy, La Longue Carbine. When Cora urges them to leave when the gunpowder runs out, he does not and stays back with the women. Duncan is concerned above all for the safety of Alice when Magua takes her away. Duncan gets into a Huron camp disguised as a French doctor. He is called to treat a sick Indian woman and finds Alice in a cave with his patient. He rescues Alice by wrapping her in a blanket and declaring to the Huron that she is his patient, whom he is carrying into the woods for treatment. Throughout their adventure, Duncan risks his life many times to save his love, Alice Munro.