George and Lennie dream of owning their own farm. The dream is introduced in chapter one while the two men are camped in the clearing between the Gabilan Mountains and the Salinas River. It is apparently a long standing dream because George indicates that Lennie always seems to bring it up. For George it is a goal which will allow him to have the freedom of making his own decisions and quit the constant traveling around from job to job which is what he and Lennie have been doing ever since Lennie's Aunt Clara died. George dreams of the day when he doesn't have to listen to a boss or worry about getting "canned" (fired). He wants to see the profit of his own work and not be responsible to anyone else. George describes the dream farm, but there is obviously a frustration in George's words that the dream will never be realized:
“Well,” said George, “we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof—Nuts!”
For Lennie the dream is linked to his obsession with petting soft things. He looks forward to going to the dream farm because George has promised him that he will get to take care of the rabbits. George hopes he can control Lennie's behavior by warning him that he won't get to "tend" the rabbits if he gets in trouble.
The dream is like a paradise to the two men who are later joined by Candy and Crooks in the hope that one day they can all go off to the dream farm and "live nice" without worries, in the presence of friends and people that care about each other. The dream farm is a stark contrast to the alienation and loneliness which pervades life on the ranch where the men work. Unfortunately, of course, the dream is never realized as the "plans of mice and men often go astray."