"Paint a House with Scarlet" opens with Johnny Yuma seeking shelter for the night in a barn, only to be knocked out by a stranger who tries to set fire to the place. Johnny awakens in time to prevent any serious damage, and meets the ranch owner, Sarah Bodine (Maggie Mahoney), pretty young widow of three months, who informs the rebel about the two men who have been terrorizing her since the accidental death of her husband. Ezra Taber (John Anderson) is a religious zealot who paints the widow as a scarlet woman for her previous life as a dance hall girl, his son Virgil (Clu Gulager) obedient but somewhat taken by Sarah's beauty. Recognizing Johnny's trustworthiness by his eyes, she is quite happy to offer him a meal with her tale of woe, confirmed by gunshots fired high to frighten, and seven letters painted in red on the front of her home, 'Jezebel.' With only three characters present, there's more room for character development, with the young Clu Gulager particularly impressive. Maggie Mahoney was formerly Margaret Field, mother of Sally Field, just as pretty and talented but lesser known. John Anderson did almost every kind of role possible, and was coming off one of his best remembered, that of used car salesman California Charlie in Hitchcock's "Psycho."
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