‘1883’: First Time Western Star Eric Nelsen Says He’s ‘Fully Immersed’ in the Culture

by Jonathan Howard

The premiere of 1883 showed us our first look at Eric Nelsen as Ennis. This is the actor’s very first Western role and he’s loving it.

Nelsen was just seen a little bit in the premiere. However, the character of Ennis is going to play a big role during the season. During an interview with Cowboys & Indians, the actor talked about being in his first Western. He seems like he could get used to the genre.

“It’s my first Western. And I couldn’t have a better first experience than 1883. It’s just been from top to bottom out of this world,” Nelsen said excitedly. “If I did Westerns for the rest of my career I’ll be a happy man. I’m fully immersed, I’m completely in love with the culture and the people, the way of life and the history behind it really. It’s been a dream come true.”

It makes sense that the Ennis actor has taken to the culture so well. The cast of 1883 had to undergo cowboy boot camp. So, they had to work horses, wrangle cattle, and do all the things that cowboys have to do.

For the producers of the show, getting the accuracy of everything in the show was important. That trickled down to members of the cast doing their own research.

Isabel May ‘Read Probably 50 Books’ For Research

Taylor Sheridan wanted his Yellowstone prequel to be as historically accurate as possible. While he worried about the costumes and the wagons, and other things, one member of the cast worried about her own role. So, in order to prepare for her role as Elsa Dutton, Isabel May did her own research.

In an interview, May said, “I read probably 50 books, and in particular, the ones that I have gravitated towards were journals from young women that made the same trek. And it was interesting. I found one in particular, and it was from a young lady who was 17 at the time, very similar in age to the character I play. I took tidbits from that.”

It seems that the culture of 1883 runs deep when it comes to authenticity.

‘1883’ Star Drawn By Complex Character

As far as culture goes, Tim McGraw is also fully invested in the culture of the show. From the start, McGraw loved the fact that his character James Dutton was so complex. With his backstory as a Civil War veteran to his commitment to his family, there’s a lot going on with Dutton.

As a historical figure, James is very interesting. He isn’t the only veteran from the war, either. Both Shea and Thomas played by Sam Elliott and LaMonica Garrett play veterans. However, they were Union soldiers. 1883 has already shown a bit of the complexity for Shea in particular.