WARNING: This post contains spoilers for 1883 Episode 5.
Maybe we could deliver this a bit less harsh, but Ennis the cow herder in 1883 is dead. That’s it. And it’s painful.
We truly care about this week's casualty, unlike everyone else who's kicked it in the Paramount+ series thus far – by getting crushed by a wagon wheel, drowning in the river, or succumbing to a bite in the back from a cunning snake.
Elsa (Isabel May) had assurances from her boyfriend Ennis (Eric Nelsen) that he would marry her not long after, but catastrophe struck their wagon train: the guy who took Elsa's virginity was taken away in a gunfight with some raiding bandits.
1883: A Tragic Ending for Ennis
If 1883 viewers weren't already aware that life on the trail was deadly, Episode 5 demonstrated how harsh it can be. By the end of the episode, Ennis, Elsa's new love, had broken her heart through no fault of his own.
Ennis has become a fan favorite during his brief appearance on the Paramount+ Yellowstone spin-off, and Nelsen admits he's been forced to lie to the show's viewers for weeks.
"I've had people reach out saying, 'there's always twists and turns and I pray you're not a part of them' and 'oh, I just pray you don't die. You're my favorite character.' And every time I read that, part of me kind of falls apart because I know what's coming," Nelsen told Newsweek.
‘It Has to Happen this Way’
Nelsen confessed that he confronted creator Taylor Sheridan when he learned about his character's fate, not knowing that his own time on the program would be so brief.
"Once I read all the scripts, I ran to Taylor and I was like, 'Why? Why? This is who we were rooting for the whole time.' We're rooting for this couple and we finally get them there and then it all falls apart."
"And he's like, 'you'll see. Keep reading. It has to happen this way,’” he added.
While Ennis' stint on the show has come to an end, Nelsen is grateful that Sheridan chose him in this fan-favorite role.
Thanks to the cowboy boot camp the ensemble attended prior to filming, Nelsen can take away many new abilities from his time as Ennis on 1883. Nelsen admits that his cowboy credentials were "about a 5/10" when he arrived, but he departed "about an 11/10" with perfected horse riding skills and the ability to rope cattle.
Because the camp was so immersive, the cast was also fed historical food, which Nelsen believes contributed to the world on screen being so convincing.
1883 will have to go on without Ennis in Episode 6, airing Jan. 23.