Apple TV+’s ‘High Desert’ follows the story of Peggy Newman, whose life upends after the death of her beloved mother. She struggles to get her life together while her siblings try to force her to get a proper job and become more responsible. When she discovers she has a knack for being a detective, she joins a PI agency and immediately comes across a case that could make her a lot of money.
While Peggy tries to get to the bottom of the mysteries that involve a huge amount of reward money, she also copes with the grief of losing her mother. Her addiction doesn’t make things any easier. If you are wondering what happened to Peggy’s mother and how she died, here’s what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD!
How Did Rosalyn Die?
In the first episode of ‘High Desert,’ Peggy’s siblings tell Peggy that they want to sell their mother’s house because it is too expensive for them to keep up with the mortgage. It’s a problem for Peggy because she still lives there and cherishes the house and the memories it holds of her mother. Her siblings say they let her stay there and didn’t bother her about the money because she was caring for their mother. But now that Rosalyn is gone, Peggy must pull her weight and come through for the mortgage or let them sell.
This conversation reveals that Rosalyn was sick, and her condition worsened by the day. She needed round-the-clock care, and while Peggy stayed by her side, her siblings took care of the finances. The sickness and the fact that Rosalyn was old make it look like no foul play was involved in it. She died of natural causes, and with her deteriorating health, it didn’t surprise anyone.
In the final episode, Peggy confesses a dark truth to Dianne. After solving the mystery of Donatella Scarborough’s death and getting rid of all the bad guys who threatened her life, Peggy ends up in Pioneertown. She tells Dianne to bring the fake painting, which she fake sells to Kachel to get rid of Guru Bob. Meanwhile, Owen is concerned about the human cannonball event he has prepared for and wants Peggy to play her part.
When Peggy refuses to be the human cannonball, he starts talking about what a disappointment she is. Dianne comes to her rescue and talks about everything Peggy has done for her family. While Peggy is happy to see her sister defending her, she also feels guilty for what happened the night of their mother’s death. She tells Dianne everything that happened that night, revealing that she kept it a secret because she worried her siblings would hate her for it.
Rosalyn’s health had been down for a while, and she had a fever that night. She was burning up, and Peggy wanted to take her to a hospital. However, Rosalyn also had dementia and kept talking about going to Germany. When Peggy talked about going to the hospital, Rosalyn refused and asked about her plane ticket and flight.
Peggy loved her mother, which is why it was difficult for her to see Rosalyn like this. In her frustration and sadness, she turned to drugs. That night, failing to convince her mother to go to a hospital, Peggy got high after taking her mother’s medicine, which she continued to receive from the hospital even after Rosalyn had died. She spaced out for the rest of the evening, not knowing what was happening with her mother. Meanwhile, Rosalyn continued burning up with fever. She succumbed to her illness and died when she didn’t get the treatment she needed.
Later, when the drugs wore off, and Peggy came back to her senses, she found her mother dead. Losing the person she loved the most in the world was heartbreaking, but she also felt guilty about leaving Rosalyn alone that night. If only she hadn’t gotten high, she could have taken care of her mother, and she might still be alive. If not that, then at least Peggy could have been with Rosalyn in her final moments and said goodbye. This guilt keeps eating at Peggy and spirals further.