Nick was born in Caslin, Nebraska in 1980. His father, a farmer, died of a heartattack before his birth and his mother lost the farm shortly after in 1985. Nick lived with his mother until the age of nine, when she was killed walking across an intersection. Nick ended up in an orphanage, Children of Jesus Christ orphanage, in Des Moines. Unable to communicate, he was bullied by the other children. Nick retreated within himself, until a fellow deaf-mute named Rudy Sparkman forced him out of his shell and taught him to read and write. When the orphanage went bankrupt a teenaged Nick ran away, struggling to earn GED credits and taking odd manual jobs to get by.

Nick was a twenty-two year old drifter at the time of the superflu outbreak, travelling through Shoyo, Arkansas. There, several of the town's bullies beat him up, stealing his week's wages and leaving him in the road for dead, where he is nearly run over by Dr. Soames. The local Sherriff, John Baker, initially jailed him on suspicion of vagrancy. But Nick quickly won the man over and together they hunted down and imprisoned most of the men who attacked him including the group's ringleader — Baker's own brother-in-law Ray Booth.

Baker deputized Nick in order to look after the prisoners, as both his wife and he were beginning to show signs of the superflu. One by one the towns people died, including the Sheriff and his wife who left Nick in charge of the jail house. Accepting the doctor invitation to travel with him to a cabin till the illness blew over, he mercifully allowed his abusers to go free. However, the doctor as well soon became ill as well. Nick remained at the jail house only to find trouble - Ray, his attacker from the jail, came back in search of revenge and in the struggle, Nick shot Ray, who was already ill with the flu. He stayed at the jail house, recovering from the fight for three days. From there, unable of driving, Nick took a bike and road off in search of other survivors.

After recovering from his injuries on July 5th, Nick moved on to May, Oklahoma, where he met Tom Cullen, and invited him to come along with him to Hemingford Home, Nebraska. The pair travel on towards Nebraska together, survive a tornado, and on the 9th meet Sadie Colston. From there, the party grew in size until they arrived in Hemingford Home, Nebraska on July 16th. On the 17th, another group arrives, led by the immortal Methos.

On the 22nd of July, Nick arrived in Boulder with many others, including Mother Abigail, to find a small party already there. The number of survivors arriving has continued to grow day by day.