In the book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, George and Lennie take a job as ranch hands in order to eventually save up their earnings to buy their own ranch where they will raise rabbits. Unfortunately, the two men are already on the run from another town because Lennie has been accused of inappropriate relations with a woman. They end up at a ranch run by Carlson and his mean-spirited son, Curley. Thanks to Slim, who carries a lot of weight with the owner, the two men secure their positions.
Curley suspects his wife of having an affair with Slim. He confronts Slim to no avail in the barn. Curley is so enraged at his wife's supposed infidelity that he runs off, focusing his anger on Lennie. After all, Lennie is a big man, and Curly figures that fighting him will either raise his stature amongst the men. He attacks Lennie, but Lennie is so strong that he crushes Curley's hand. As a result, Slim warns Curley not to try to get the men fired, or he will be shamed on the ranch for his foolish actions.