Of mice and men is a novel about two men, George Milton and Lennie Small, who go to work on a ranch in California together. Lennie is a massive man with incredible strength but has a child's mind. George is a fairly sized man who is not incredibly brilliant but has good common sense.
The two men travel from town to town and job to job to just get by and survive. But they dream of saving up enough money to someday get a place of their own where they "won't have to answer to no one" and "live off the fatta the land" Lennie dreams of having rabbits of his own that he can take care of all by himself.
The ranch they go to work at is in Soledad, California. When they arrive, they go to their bunk house, where they meet Candy. Candy is an old, weathered man who has been working on the ranch for years. He befriends George and Lennie and they confide to him their dreams of having their own place. Candy tells them that he has saved up a descent sum of money and asks if he can tag along in the adventure if he pays his share. Another man on the ranch, Slim, gives Lennie a puppy to play with but Lennie, feebleminded and sweet attempts to love even the gentlest of creatures, but, as he only has a childlike understanding of his enormous strength, the results are often tragic. Curly is the boss's son, and sensing Lennie's simple mind, he attempts to intimidate and antagonize him not anticipating his strength. He hits Lennie because he thinks Lennie is teasing him. Lennie tries to resist fighting as long as he can but after suffering many blows to the face from Curly, he grabs Curly's hand and squeezes it so hard it breaks every bone in it. Curly's wife is a beautiful woman who is always lonely and attempts to receive "love" through the attention of other men.
In Curly's seductive wife, Lennie sees a beautiful and innocent creature, like the small animals he attempts to love. Though she seeks to take advantage of his innocence, she cannot know that his strength coupled with his naivete is, for her, a dangerous combination. She comes into the barn one day when Lennie has just killed the puppy given to him by Slim because he played too hard with it. She discovers the dead dog and consoles Lennie in his loss. Lennie attempts to pet her hair like the animals he loves. She asks him to stop so he won't mess it up.
Then she cries angrily "Stop it! You'll mess it all up." Then she screamed "You stop it!" Lennie, in his panic, put his other hand over her mouth and nose and begged " Oh, please don't do that ...please stop" She continued to struggle and Lennie became angry and flopped her like a fish until he had broken her neck. Lennie ran.
When Curly found his wife he ordered the other men to find Lennie and kill him. George knew just where Lennie would be . When George found Lennie, he took out his gun and shot Lennie in the back of the head. He knew it would be better for him and for Lennie.