Nathan Martin is Benjamin Martin's third oldest son. He begins the film in 1776 as a thirteen year old and only a year younger than Thomas and a year older than Samuel. Later in the film, Benjamin orders Nathan and Samuel to join him on a raid to save Gabriel following Thomas' death. The two boys fire upon British soldiers.
The use of the same actors to portray the Martin children over a four year period heightened the controversy over this scene. At that point in the movie, Nathan and Samuel are fifteen and fourteen. In the 18th century boys of that age were already assuming many adult responsibilities and were considered only a year or two away from manhood.
In the movie, Nathan shows that he is nearly a man because he is able to cope with his actions, while Samuel being younger wasn't quite ready and was upset and troubled by what he had done. When Benjamin leaves to join Gabriel, Nathan becomes the 'man of the household' while the children stay with their aunt Charlotte Selton.
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