This is the story of two women, Seo Jung Eun and Han Yoo Kyung, who walk very different paths to achieve their desires. Seo Jung Eun is a strong and courageous woman who has suffered a difficult life, having grown up in an orphanage, but continues to embrace people around her despite longing for affection herself. Jung Eun harbours the hope that she will meet her mother if she becomes a star, striving to reach her goal and overcome her suffering with her pure and innocent nature. In contrast, Han Yoo Kyung has a birth secret for which she is willing to throw away everything in order to get revenge. The "thorn birds" of the title refers to Jung Eun's character, who only brings out her best at the cost of great pain. A thorn bird is a mythical bird who searches for a thorn tree from the day it is born. When it finds it, the bird impales itself upon the sharpest thorn, and rises above the agony to sing the most beautiful song ever heard.
Forensic pathologist Kang (Seol Kyeong-gu) is assigned to examine the dismembered corpse of a female murder victim. Detective Min (Han Hye Jin) points to a fanatic environmentalist, Lee Sung Ho (Ryoo Seung-beom), as the primary suspect. But when Kang’s daughter is kidnapped, a manipulative game begins between Kang and Lee, who holds secrets about the homicide case.
A story about the hospital, Jejoongwon. It was the first modern hospital in Korea established in the Joseon era in 1886.
Lee Woo Joo meets Kang Tae Min, a man who was taught in the art of tasting wine. Tae Min inherited the wine production from his family and opens Woo Joo's eyes to the world of wine.
Song Il Gook plays Ju-Mong, the founder of the Goguryeo Dynasty in 37 BC. Han Hye Jin plays the role Soh Suh No (소서노) who is extremely intelligent and is King Ju Mong's second wife.