Two men, George and Lennie are getting water at the end of a long journey to a new job. They had to leave their last job because Lennie, a mentally challenged man, grabbed a woman by her dress. They find this nice place to spend the night before they go to a new ranch to find a job. They talk about their own dream of owning a ranch.
Carlson shoots Candy's old dog to put it out of its misery. Candy later comments that he should have done it himself. He shouldn't have let someone else do it, foreshadowing what would happen at the end of the book.
Curly thinks that Lennie is laughing at him and begins hitting Lennie. Lennie does nothing until George tells him to fight back. Lennie grabs Curly's hand and quickly breaks it.
Lennie likes to touch soft things and touches Curly's wife's soft hair. When she gets nervous and tells him to stop, he panics and breaks her neck.
Lennie runs to the place on the river bend where they had spent the night before coming to the ranch. George had told him that if he got into any trouble, he should run and hide there and George would come to him.
George has no choice but to kill Lennie. He wants to do it humanely before the mob finds him because they will torture him first.