The Purples is a gangster family epic set in Detroit, Michigan in 1916, just before the First World War. In an era of violence, when gang wars raged and near daily shootings were commonplace, one gang stands out as being especially brutal. The story centers on the Jewish Purple gang and the four brothers that ruled it. It documents their rise through the unforgiving streets of Detroit as they look out for each other and developed their skills. The Bernstein brothers start off as petty thieves and shakedown artists, soon progressing to the more lucrative areas of crime such as armed robbery, extortion, and hijacking while in the Oakland Sugar House Gang. They received notoriety for their operations and savagery.