The main conflict of the story is John's journey to the east. That's basically the entire plot too. It's John's journey to the east where he will learn exactly what happened to the place of the gods. It is forbidden to go to the east. The reader is never really told why, other than that the elders say so. The conflict type is man vs self and man vs. nature. It's man vs. self because John must overcome his own fears in order to go east to the place of gods. It's man vs. nature because John must forage for food, cross dangerous rivers, etc. I would say that the rising action consists of all of his continuing struggles to get to the place of the gods. He has to cross the big river, avoid the Forest People, and pass through the Dead Places. The climax of the story is when John sees that the gods were merely people with great knowledge. He has the vision where he sees New York City in all of its bustling glory. The vision completely overwhelms John, but he learns the truth at long last.