Deok-kim Man (Lee Mi-Yeon) was born into the noble class, but became an orphan at the age of 12. She was than adopted by a prostitute on Jeju Island and worked as a prostitute. At the age of 22, Deok-kim appealed to government authorities and freed herself from prostitution and also reclaimed her noble status. Deok-kim would then go on to become a wealthy merchant by importing & exporting goods between Jeju Island and the Korean mainland. By the age of 50, Deok-kim would become one of the richest persons living on Jeju Island. A severe famine would then strike the island taking the lives of one-third of the population. This famine would move Deok-kim so much that she would sell her entire assets to help feed the starving people of her island.