This colorful saying means to spend a wild night out, usually involving drinking. It probably originated on the frontier. In the nineteenth century the section of town where brothels and saloons were located was known as the ‘red light district.’ A group of lusty drunken cowhands out for a night on the town might saw the whole town as red. The saying is still use around the world to mean the same thing, a bawdy area of town. Many foreign city sections got the same name from visiting GIs during their 'tour of duty'.