Johnny Cabot (Johnny Cash) is a bloodthirsty New Jersey gangster who is forced to hide out in a small California suburb after killing a cop during a job gone wrong. He's given a chance to get back in the game by Fred Dorella (Vic Tayback), a crook with a novel plan for a foolproof bank heist. Dorella has been studying the daily habits of the Harper Federal Trust vice president Ken Wilson (Donald Woods). He learns that Wilson and his wife Nancy (Cay Forester) are on a strict schedule every morning and Dorella plans to use their dull routine against them. After Wilson goes to work, Johnny tricks his way into the house with Nancy by pretending to be a door-to-door guitar salesman, and then holds her hostage. At the same time, Dorella visits Wilson at the bank and demands 70,000 dollars in cash. If he doesn't get the loot and contact Johnny by phone at a specified time, Nancy will be killed. What Dorella hasn't counted on is that the Wilson home is not a happy one, and Ken is planning on running away with his mistress that very evening. Meanwhile, the leering, sadistic Johnny taunts Nancy about being "the perfect wife." He does all he can to humiliate her, forcing her to put on makeup and a flimsy negligee, slapping her around and singing menacing songs. When the Wilsons' son Bobby (Ron Howard) comes home from school for lunch, a terrifying showdown with the police leads to tragedy. Guitar legend Merle Travis has a small role as a cowardly bowling alley owner in this crime drama, which was re-released in 1966 under the title Door-to-Door Maniac.
by Fred Beldin synopsis