‘1883’ actor Eric Nelsen explains why episode 5 had to end like this for Ennis

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for 1883 Section 5 “The Fangs of Freedom.”

That 1883 and Yellowstone the creator said it “had to happen this way,” according to actor Eric Nelsen, though the latest story breaks fans’ hearts.

If 1883 viewers did not already know that life on the trail was dangerous, episode 5 showed how unforgivable it can be. Ennis, the new love in Elsa Dutton’s life, eventually broke her heart without his own fault at the end of the episode.

Nelsen, who plays Ennis in 1883, talked to Newsweek about the bow of his character and his heroic death.

Ennis has become a fan favorite during his short stay at Paramount + Yellowstone spin-off, and Nelsen admits he has been forced to lie to viewers of the show for weeks now.

“I’ve got people reaching out and saying, ‘there are always twists and turns, and I pray you’re not a part of them,’ and ‘oh, I’m just praying that you do not die. You are my favorite character. ‘ And every time I read it, a part of me falls a little apart because I know what’s coming, “said Nelsen Newsweek.

At a time when ‘men were men’, Ennis stood out as a cowboy with a softer side, something that made him happy with Elsa (Isabel May) and the sighted audience.

“I saw Ennis as the outlet to go a little against the core of the show,” he said. “We live in this extremely dark, rough world in 1883, and Ennis is the little lighthouse of light that can leap through and get a smile on the audience’s faces – but at the same time, he’s a bad cowboy, too.”

As sad as it is to say, that beacon has now been turned off when Ennis was shot and killed during episode 5 of 1883. His dying words spoken to James Dutton were “I loved her.”

Eric Nelsen 1883 picture
Eric Nelsen played the young cowboy Ennis in the “Yellowstone” spin-off series “1883” on Paramount +.
Ethan Miller / Paramount + / Getty Images

Unaware that his own stay in the program would be so short, Nelsen admits he confronted creator Taylor Sheridan when he found out about his character’s death.

“After reading all the scripts, I ran to Taylor and I thought, ‘Why? Why? It’s the one we messed with all the time. “We mess with this couple and we finally get them there, and then it all falls apart.”

Nelsen shared Sheridan’s response, saying, “And he says, ‘you want to see. Keep reading. It’s going to happen this way.’

“So for Elsa’s journey, it’s a complete turning point in the story, and it sends her on a path where she otherwise would not be heading, and that’s crucial to the character.”

Nelsen continued: “So it makes a lot of sense, and you will see, as the rest of the episodes unfold, that it should happen to Elsa this way.”

1883 episode 5 still
Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) and Ennis (Eric Nelsen) took their relationship to the next level in episode 5 of “1883” on Paramount +.
Paramount +

Although Ennis’ time in the program may be over, Nelsen is still grateful that he was cast by Sheridan in this fan-pleasing role.

“When Taylor stars, he says he’s really looking for the character’s soul in his actors. We developed something, but I pretty much developed Ennis fully on my own and brought it to Taylor, and he loved everything about it. He let me really ran with it, which was a gift. “

Nelsen can take many new skills away from his time as Ennis 1883, thanks to the cowboy bootcamp that the cast attended before filming. Nelsen admits his cowboy credentials were “about 5/10” on arrival, but he traveled “about 11/10” with honed riding skills and the ability to rope cattle.

The camp was so immersive that the actors were also fed with food from the period, which Nelsen believes helped to make the world on screen so believable.

Eager to work in Sheridan’s expanding television universe again, Nelsen says he would love everything the showrunner asks of him. “I told Taylor that there would never be a part, a role or a character that he would call me that I would ever say ‘no’ to. Working with him has been a dream.”

Nelsen has appeared in some Dodge Ram commercials Yellowstone actor Jefferson White recently, which has caused fans to mumble.

“Some of the fans have come up with these theories that I’m Jimmy’s great-grandfather, and that’s why they’re pairing us in these commercials, and that it will later turn out that we’re actually related in some way. ” added Nelsen. “Maybe it’s going to be seen somewhere? But it’s a completely fan-found idea, but it was cool. I like it.”

1883 continues without Ennis and Eric Nelsen in episode 6, which airs on Paramount + on Sunday, January 23rd.

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