George and Lennie are both migrant workers who travel throughout the western United States looking for manual labor jobs in the middle of an economic depression. As migrant workers, George and Lennie struggle to find good-paying, steady jobs, where they will have an opportunity to save enough money to eventually buy their own homestead. At the beginning of the novella, George and Lennie are preparing to arrive at a ranch that is located a few miles south of Soledad, California. George also mentions that they were forced to flee from a ranch in Weed after Lennie was accused of assaulting a woman, which foreshadows his violent, unintentional interaction with Curley's wife towards the end of the novella. Unlike most migrant workers, George and Lennie enjoy a unique relationship as they travel and work together. George also acts as Lennie's caretaker because Lennie is mentally disabled.