Set in the bunkhouse of the ranch, chapter three of Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men includes several notable events. In the beginning, George tells Slim some of the backstory about his life with Lennie, confessing that Lennie consistently places the two men in bad situations like the debacle in Weed when Lennie grabbed a girl's dress and a posse came after them. To illustrate George's point about Lennie's simplemindedness, the big man unsuccessfully attempts to smuggle a tiny puppy into the bunkhouse. When Carlson and Candy enter, the subject turns to Candy's old dog, with Carlson complaining the dog is old and smells bad. He tells Candy, "This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself all the time" and, when Candy balks at putting the dog down, offers to shoot the dog in the back of the head with his Luger. With Slim's approval, Carlson eventually leads the dog to his death despite Candy's protestations.
With the other men gone to the barn, George and Lennie begin talking, with the subject inevitably turning to the dream of the ranch where Lennie will "tend rabbits." As he had done in chapter one, George again paints an idyllic picture of the ranch where he and Lennie will one day go to live. Suddenly, Candy, who has been grieving on his bunk, asks George, "You know where's a place like that." Apprehensive at first, George is suspicious of Candy's interest in the men's dream. Ultimately, however, he warms to Candy's questions and the old swamper's offer to join in funding the purchase of the ranch, which would cost $600:
"I ain't much good with on'y one hand. I lost my hand right here on this ranch. That's why they give me a job swampin'. An' they give me two hunderd an' fifty dollars 'cause I los' my hand. An' I got fifty more saved up right in the bank, right now. Tha's three hunderd and I got fifty more comin' at the end a the month. . . . Suppose I went in with you guys?"
George agrees that Candy should join them, and, with Candy's money, they can send a deposit on the ranch. George and Lennie will continue working out the month, and then Candy and Lennie will go off to the ranch with George still working to make up the remaining money. Unfortunately, as Robert Burns's poetic lines (inspiration for the book's title) suggest, the "best laid plans of mice and men often go astray," and with the accidental murder of Curley's wife by Lennie, the dream of the ranch disappears. In chapter five, Candy resigns himself to working out his life swamping out the bunkhouse.