Lennie Small, a simple-minded man of great size and strength. His dream is to have a chicken and rabbit farm with his friend George Milton and to be allowed to feed the rabbits. George tells him about the farm over and over and keeps Lennie in line by threatening not to let him feed the rabbits. The two men are hired to buck barley on a ranch. Lennie crushes the hand of the owner’s son, kills a puppy while stroking it, and breaks a woman’s neck, all unintentionally.
George Milton, Lennie’s friend, a small and wiry man. He assumes responsibility for his simple friend and in the new job does the talking for both. At last, after the unintentional killing by Lennie, George knows that he can no longer save his friend; after telling him once again of their plan for the farm, he shoots him.
Candy, a swamper on the barley ranch. He makes George’s and Lennie’s dream seem possible, for he has three hundred and fifty dollars and wants to join them.
Curley, the son of the ranch owner. Vain of his ability as a prizefighter and jealous of his slatternly bride, he provokes Lennie into squeezing his hand. Pleased that Curley’s hand has been broken, his wife comes to make advances to Lennie, who accidentally kills her.
Slim, the jerkline skinner on the ranch. He gives Lennie the puppy and persuades Curley to say his hand was caught in a machine.
Crooks, the black stable hand. Cool to Lennie at first, he is disarmed by Lennie’s innocence.