If you thought Elsa Dutton’s piano scene to close Ep. 4 of 1883 was emotional, imagine being there for it. Actor Eric Nelsen — who plays Ennis, Elsa’s suitor — says he was moved to tears through nearly every take of the five-minute-long performance.
Of course, the problem with that is that Ennis and his partner, Wade, are supposed to be tough cowboys. Producers ultimately cut to him with dry eyes, and he delivers a line that showcases his quick wit and comedy background.
Talking to Taste of Country’s Billy Dukes for this new episode of Dutton Rules: A Yellowstone 1883 Podcast, Nelsen shares all sorts of secrets about that scene, the pressure the cast and crew are under, and the show’s future.
Elsa Dutton is the daughter of James and Margaret Dutton on 1883. Isabel May, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill play these characters, respectively, and during this scene, the teenage girl is left behind to help Wade and Ennis move cattle across the Brazos River in Texas. They come across a piano discarded by immigrants, and she reveals that she can play. As she tearfully works through Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” viewers see chaos and death at the river crossing. The dichotomy is startling.
Nelsen — who goes live with 1883 cast members every Sunday on his Instagram page — says it goes deeper than what viewers of the Paramount+ drama saw, however, as that river represents a point of no return. He knows what’s to come, and for this reason, both he and May are moved to tears.
Dukes also presses the actor on whether Season 2 of 1883 is possible, and whether or not May does her own singing and playing during this scene.
Click play to listen, or, if you would rather listen later, find Dutton Rules on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Also, check out some of our recent video recaps and analysis below and join the conversation with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The episode wraps with a fan Q&A where the hosts admit they got something very wrong about the Season 4 finale of Yellowstone.