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The film focuses on the war of two gangs in 1930s Harlem for the control of illegal gaming — one headed by black strategic godfather Bumpy Johnson and another by white ruthless hothead Dutch Schultz. Negotiations proposed by white syndicate boss Lucky Luciano never get under way, blood flows and Johnson gets jailed. When Johnson is paroled, he gets the work of enforcer for mighty Stephanie «The Queen» St. Clair. She is also jailed for racketeering and when she leaves she makes him promise «no violence».