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1883's Eric Nelsen Tells An Emotional Behind-The-Scenes Story About Sam Elliott - Exclusive

When you think of Sam Elliott, the first thing that probably comes to mind is his signature bushy mustache. But that's not the only thing the veteran "1883" actor is known for. Many of his roles portray him as a steady-handed guy with a soothing drawl, but have you ever wondered what he's like in real life?

Enter Eric Nelsen, Elliott's co-star on "1883," the "Yellowstone" prequel which streams exclusively on Paramount+. Nelsen plays a cowboy named Ennis who's been hired by Elliott's character, the gruff but sensible Shea Brennan, to help navigate a group of pioneers — including the first generation of Duttons — across the Wild West during the 19th century. While Ennis made a shocking exit from the show midway through Season 1, working on those handful of episodes allowed Nelsen to get to know the real Sam Elliott.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Nelsen shared one story in particular that he thought defined the man whose been awing audiences for over 50 years.

How Sam Elliott helped calm an anxious extra on the set of 1883

Nelsen calls working with Elliott "a dream come true," saying he's "the most giving, kindhearted, loving human on the planet."

And if that's not enough to make you think that Elliott is probably a great guy in real life, Nelsen went on to tell a revealing behind-the-scenes tale of exactly what to expect if you ever meet the actor.

"This was my introduction to Sam," says Nelsen. "We were filming my very first scene in Episode 1, where we're in the restaurant and he's trying to convince us to come on this journey with them. This extra is supposed to come over and fill up all of our water glasses, and then she's supposed to walk away. Well, she was so nervous to be around us and to be around Sam, she was shaking. She spills the water everywhere. The cup falls over. It's all over the table, and Sam's got so much going on, you think that this might disrupt things, and, well, the girl goes off in the corner. She's crying."

Nelsen continues, "Sam cuts. He says, 'No more takes. We have to stop here.' He walks over and gives her the biggest hug, talks to her for about 15 minutes. From that moment on, she came back and nailed it every single time with the biggest smile on her face. She felt comfortable and welcomed and happy, and that just showed me out of the gate that Sam cares about every single person on that set, and to see his heart and whatever he said to her made her life because I'd never seen somebody come back as a different human being as she did. That's Sam Elliott in a nutshell."

"1883" streams exclusively on Paramount+, where new episodes are available every Sunday.