The movie stayed true to the book in its plot line, even using some of the more general chapters as additional story. Some of the events are rearranged in a manner that leaves the movie much more optimistic than the book: the government camp comes up as the last major stop for the Joads, after Tom kills the cop. Their situation seems to improve, with work and a clean community. The police are still looking for Tom, so he leaves the camp and sets out on his own. Afterwards, the Joads ride off to go find work. A place is offering 20 days of work, picking cotton. Ma sits in the front with Pa and Al, and Pa admits that he’s not head of the household anymore. Ma says that women are more adaptable, and that their people will be okay regardless. She says “We’ll go on, ’cause we’re the people.”
The rearrangement of the story’s plot makes the movie much more optimistic than the book. By the end of the book, they’re stuck in the midst of a flood, their only shelter an old boxcar. Rose of Sharon loses her baby and is left sick. Everyone is disheartened and tired from the struggle. Rose of Sharon, feeding a sick old man her own milk, finishes the book smiling mysteriously. Both versions end with women helping and looking to be the more optimistic of the group.