Robert owned a farm alongside his wife Ruth, and they had twin sons named David and James, although they had to give James up in order to survive. Robert becomes an alcoholic, until he hears that James has gone missing from the palace. In an attempt to find James and bring him back home, Robert tracks down James to Pleasure Island. However, when Robert refuses to hand James over, King George orders for Robert to be killed. Before his guards can carry out the murder, however, they themselves are killed by Captain Hook, who kills Robert himself in order to claim the reward from the King. Robert's death is made to look like an accident.
In Storybrooke, David - having believed his father's death to be an accident - learns that his father was murdered on George's orders. Haunted by Robert's ghost, David is nearly driven to killing George in retribution but chooses not to. Finding closure, David throws away his father's coin, and Robert's ghost disappears.
- Ruth Nolan (widow)
- David Nolan (son)
- James (son)
- Emma Swan (granddaughter)
- Killian Jones (his killer/grandson-in-law)
- Neal Nolan (grandson)
- Snow White (daughter-in-law)
- Henry Mills (great-grandson)
- Robert is based on the ghost from the story Hamlet.
- S6, E12: "Murder Most Foul" (flashback/ghost)
- S6, E14: "Page Twenty-Three" (flashback)