Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Ennis From Yellowstone Prequel 1883 Looks So Familiar

There's a thrilling new series coming to the "Yellowstone" landscape, and it's safe to say fans of Paramount Network's breakout neo-Western melodrama are about to see Big Sky Country in an entirely different light. Set more than 100 years prior to the head-spinning dramatics involving John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his Yellowstone Dutton Ranch crew, the new series titled "1883" explores the chain of events that led Dutton's ancestors to come into possession of their now coveted ranching lands.

Those ancestors are James and Margaret Dutton, played by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. And if the trailers for "1883" are any indication, their path to becoming Montana landowners was indeed paved in blood. Well, actually, it wasn't paved at all. In order to carve out their piece of the American Dream, the Duttons join a wagon train making a perilous trip from Texas to largely uncharted lands further North. They're aided in that journey by lawman Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott), his right-hand man Thomas (Lamonica Garrett), and a dashing young cowboy by the name of Ennis. While the faces of many of his co-stars will no doubt be a bit more familiar, it's a safe bet many of you will recognize Ennis' face too. It belongs to character actor Eric Nelsen. Here's where you might have seen him before.

Eric Nelsen appeared in arguably the best Nightmare Cinema short

Though he's yet to have a true breakout sort of moment, the talented Eric Nelsen has been a working actor for almost two decades now, earning his first screen credit in 2006 for a single appearance on the daytime soap opera "Guiding Light." He's since racked up an additional 56 credits on IMDb, including his current gig on "1883." While viewers could've seen Nelsen in any one of those film and television projects, horror lovers almost certainly recognize the actor for his work in one of the better anthology films to be released of late.

That film was 2018's "Nightmare Cinema," which delivered five short tales of terror that could turn the stomach of even the most hardened genre enthusiast. Nelsen appeared in the first of those shorts, the slasher-ific, cabin in the woods fable "The Thing in the Woods." He played Fred, the man behind the welding mask we presume to be a psycho killer until the film brilliantly subverts that trope by filling in a few key details about the central characters' weekend in the wilds. As far as twists go, the one Neslen drops in "Nightmare Cinema" is a legit doozy.

A Walk Among the Tombstones found Nelsen working alongside Liam Neeson

Eric Nelsen has turned up in quite a few intriguing feature films over the years, including 2015's underrated drama "Coming Through the Rye," which found Oscar-winner Chris Cooper portraying the reclusive author J.D. Salinger. But it's easy enough to argue Nelsen's best big screen venture to date was released a year prior. That film was the star-studded, yet still shamefully overlooked Liam Neeson crime drama "A Walk Among the Tombstones."

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" was written and directed by "Out of Sight" and "Logan" scribe Scott Frank, who pretty much became a household name in 2020 on the success of his smash hit Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit." "A Walk Among the Tombstones" was a very different sort of beast, with Frank pitting Neeson as a former cop, and off-the-books fixer who gets embroiled in a deadly kidnapping case. Along the way, he has dealings with all the sorts of shady figures you might expect, which includes Eric Nelsen's pierced wanna-be baddie Howie.

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" may not have been a major role for Nelsen, but it remains one of the best movies he's ever been in. And yes, he held his own in the film alongside big-screen heavyweights like Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, and Boyd Holbrook.

Eric Nelsen made brief appearances on some of television's best series

While Eric Nelsen has been a big screen regular over the years, he's racked up some impressive small screen credits as well. He's landed one-off supporting roles on shows such as Nickelodeon's original run of "iCarly," the legal drama "The Good Wife," Tom Selleck's long-running crime series "Blue Bloods," HBO's beloved dramedy series "Girls," and NBC's mystery thriller "The Blacklist." Of late, Nelsen made a one-episode appearance on The CW's rebooted "Walker" series, and stole scenes on the Showtime drama "The Affair" playing the down-on-his-luck drifter Bram in a three-episode arc opposite Joshua Jackson.

Like so many actors before him, Nelsen did indeed get his start in the soap opera realm. Unlike some of his fellow soap opera breakouts, Nelsen has never shied away from returning to the soap world, scoring a 43-episode stint on "All My Children" in 2013, before embarking on a 65-episode run as the affable Daniel Garrett on the Blip.TV hit "The Bay." As it happens, that soapy-and-then-some series actually earned Nelsen a Best Supporting Actor Daytime Emmy Award in 2018. And if you'd like to see the work that earned Nelsen an Emmy, "The Bay" is currently ready to binge on Amazon Prime Video.